Artisanal ice cream seems like it would be a sure-fire hit in Seoul, especially during the hot and humid summer days when temperatures can easily reach into the 90s. I recently found myself in the young and hip Hongdae district, full of indie spirit and whimsical shops, clubs, and restaurants. Wandering in the heat amidst the cat cafes and street vendors, I was focused on finding some frozen refreshment.
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A late spring stroll through the hip Hondae district of Seoul yielded a strange and surprising sight: a window full of colorful, giant "snowballs." Upon closer inspection, I was delighted to see that these were actually powdered sugar-covered pastries called Schneeballen at a bakery/café that's appropriately named Schneeballen. The best part? When you smash them with a mallet.
This is just a slice of the diversity of Korean cuisine. You'll notice themes across the dishes: the simple pleasures of local and seasonal ingredients, blushes of heat from spice and fire, and above all, pride in food and of country. Take a look at some of the best bites: the bulgogi, the street food, and much more.
During the filming of PBS's The Kimchi Chronicles, renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his wife, Marja, visited one of the several O-Il Jang (5 Day Market) on Jeju-do, the provincial island off of the southern coast of the Korean peninsula. According to the producer of The Kimchi Chronicles Eric Rhee, Vongerichten was so inspired by the market that he halted the shooting schedule, bought everything in sight, commandeered the kitchen of a local hotel, and cooked an impromptu multi-course meal for the film crew and hotel staff.