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Snapshots from South Korea: The Best Things I Ate in Busan

Amy Sung 7 comments

Busan, being a port town, has a cuisine that's strongly focused around seafood, plus starchy snacks and vegetables; and with a large Korean-born-Chinese population, it also presents Chinese-Korean dishes with distinct flavors. From street eats to restaurant classics, here are some of the best things I ate. More

Snapshots from South Korea: Prepackaged Burger for 1000 Won

A Hamburger Today Robyn Lee 14 comments

This post is from my trip to South Korea back in May 2009. I didn't put it up at the time because it was far from being a significant part of my trip and after I wrote it, I realized it was sort of...totally...pointless. But I'm resurrecting this two-year-old post from the land of forgotten drafts due to this week's topic of memorable food we've smuggled home on a trip. More

Snapshots from South Korea: Electronic Menu Console Helps Tourists Order Food

Robyn Lee 7 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, Here's a look at something I ate from my trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. For a city where most people don't speak English, Seoul does a good job (and seems to be constantly trying to improve) accommodating English-speaking tourists and expats. Metro announcements are made in Korean and English, streets signs have English translations, and every taxi has a sticker with a phone number you can call if you need a translator. But what if you're clueless about Korean food? Tourists without a Korean speaker by their side may end up ordering something they don't like, or forgo a meal altogether since they can't read... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Triple Pork Barbecue at Galmaegi-sal Jeonmun

Robyn Lee 2 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, Here's a look at something I ate from my trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. My last day in Seoul was, unfortunately, the most miserable in terms of weather. Non-stop rain meant awkwardly lugging around bags and an umbrella all day, walking around in damp shoes, and having little desire to whip out my dSLR and take photos of the gloomy city. But it ended in one of the best ways possible: with a mountain of pork. Accompanied by food bloggers Dan Gray and Fat Man Seoul, chef Rachel Yang and Soo Hyang Choi of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food, I got my wish of... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Soondubu and More from Ddukbaegi Jip

Robyn Lee 11 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, Here's a look at something I ate from my trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. "This is it," Rob said while pointing to a window full of bubbling mini-cauldrons of stew on top of a gas range. My eyes grew wide. Some girls are enticed by windows full of jewelry or shoes; I'm all about the seething pots of stew. Or rather, I'm all about the single-dish restaurants. Ddukbaegi Jip, or Hot Pot/Stew House, is the haven of stew that stood before us. This small, homey restaurant only serves four items: boiled snails with doenjang (fermented soybean paste), doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean soup), soondubu (soft tofu... More

Snapshots from South Korea: School Food

Robyn Lee 5 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, Here's a look at something I ate from my trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. "There's a place nearby that serves food like you'd find in a school canteen, but a little more upscale," said Terry Rah, my friend and food guide for the morning. "Do you want to check it out?" Back in the U.S., I don't think the prospect of eating at a restaurant that served food akin to a school cafeteria's would ever appeal to me. I'm still haunted by the Aramark-made pizza, nachos, and sandwiches from my high school cafeteria. But Korean school food is a different matter, certainly not reminiscent of... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Patbingsu, a Popular Shaved Ice Dessert

Robyn Lee 15 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. Patbingsu, a shaved ice-based dessert loaded with sweet toppings such as chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red beans, is so popular in South Korea that you can find it at most fast food restaurants in addition to cafes and bakeries. One of my friends even highly recommended the version from KFC ("My family went there all the time during our trip to Seoul!"). Although I wouldn't have been opposed to breaking my patbingsu virgnity at KFC, it was probably for the best that Dan... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Convenience Stores Galore

Robyn Lee 11 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. If I had planned my trip to Seoul better I would've tried to document as prolific themes in food-related signage as I could—some major ones being chicken and hof restaurants, and anything advertising waffles (a huge trend at the moment). But the only one I planned to capture from the beginning was the many different convenience stores throughout the city. What's fascinating about convenience stores? Probably not much if you grow up around them, but for those of us who haven't (such as my Northern New... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Bbopgi, a Sugar and Baking Soda Candy on a Stick

Robyn Lee 11 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. I saw many street vendors selling browned sugar disks-on-sticks during my week in Seoul, but I didn't feel compelled to actually try one until one night in Jongno when, after a failed attempt to get a deep fried french fry-encrusted hot dog, I just wanted to try...something. Preferably something that wouldn't rattle my stomach at midnight (which the hot dog wouldn't have fit into, so it's probably a good thing that I couldn't find it). As the stall with freshly made sugar disks seemed non-threatening, I... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Vegetarian Temple Food at Sanchon

Robyn Lee 15 comments

Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. It wasn't until I had asked friends for food recommendations in Seoul that I first heard of temple cuisine, traditional vegetarian (or vegan, to be more specific) food served at Buddhist temples. Because I can't just eat fried things and noodles all the time, I was grateful to come across Sanchon ("Mountain Village"), one of the most famous restaurants in Seoul (and worldwide) that specializes in temple-inspired cuisine, while walking around Insadong with Rachel Yang and her mother on my last full day in South Korea. The restaurant was opened in 1981 by Kim Yon Shik, a former... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Hotteok, Two Ways

Robyn Lee 20 comments

The popular street food hotteok (hoddeok, hodduk, or if I were to say it out loud, ho-duck) is a brown sugar, cinnamon, and nut-filled pancake-like dessert found on the streets of South Korea. The first time I came across it with Dan Gray, I didn't know what I was looking at. Me: [while passing a truck with a big sign in Korean] "Do I wanna eat whatever's in that truck?" Dan: "Yeah, it's hotteok!" Me: "OH GOD, YES." (This is how I speak in real life. I try to tone it down in my writing.) This truck in I-don't-know-where Seoul made the healthier baked version of hotteok, as opposed to the deep fried version I would come across the... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Kalguksu from Myeongdong Gyoja

Robyn Lee 11 comments

Earlier this month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. Myeongdong Gyoja is the only sit-down restaurant I've every been to that requires payment right after you order at your table and provides you with gum—Lotte xylitol gum to be exact—before any food appears. Paying up-front wasn't that strange, but what was the gum for? I'd find out very soon. Myeongdong Gyoja is famous for their kalguksu, knife-cut noodle soup. My fooding partner Dan Gray of Seoul Eats told me that lines frequently form out the door for this 40-year-old restaurant, which he described as making "the Model T of kalguksu." (We happened to arrive at a... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup from Koong

Robyn Lee 5 comments

Earlier this month I visited Seoul, South Korea, for the first time. Here's a look at something I ate from my one-week trip. One of my favorite foods in the world are Asian dumplings in all shapes and forms. After hearing my plea to eat mandu, Korean dumplings, my friend Rob brought me and a friend to Koong in Insadong. That the front window looked onto a dumpling-making station seemed like a good sign. Another potentially good sign was the prominent photograph of a old woman and her granddaughter outside of the restaurant, if I am to equate "grandmother" with "tasty home-style cuisine." The story behind the restaurant is that this woman fled from North Korea to South Korea during... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Fried Things on Sticks

Robyn Lee 19 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. A food stand in Myeongdong, Seoul. Judging from the popularity of street food (and restaurants in general) in Seoul, I'm under the impression that Seoulites are hungry all the time, or they really like eating. Which means, aside from not knowing how to speak Korean, I fit right in. The variety of food was overwhelming, making it impossible to tackle in its entirety. If you want grilled meats, sweet potato french fries, dried fish, rice cakes, taco-like concoctions, boiled silkworm pupae*, waffles, or cream puffs while roaming around the... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Burgers from Lotteria

A Hamburger Today Robyn Lee 8 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. There are loads of non-fast food burger joints in... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Seafood Noodle Soup from Samcheong-dong Sujebi

Robyn Lee 9 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. When Dan of food blog Seoul Eats told me he was going to take me to a restaurant that specialized in dumpling soup, I envisioned mandu. But this dish featured the dough-only sort of dumplings, like dumpling skins without the filling, which turned out to be even better than my initial idea. For my introduction to sujebi, a noodle soup dish where the noodles are chunks of roughly torn dough, Dan brought me to Samcheong-dong Sujebi, a popular old-school sujebi joint sporting a light teal color scheme that, I... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Pizza Doughnut from Mister Donut

Slice Robyn Lee 8 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. I know I just wrote a post about Mister Donut, but that was about the doughnut I liked. Here's one that was less successful and strange enough to deserve its own post. As the story* goes, one day the chefs at Mister Donut headquarters thought, "Hey, why don't we make a doughnut that's pizza-flavored?" And enough people responded with, "I don't know; let's try it," that the Pizza Roll... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Pon de Ring Doughnuts from Mister Donut

Robyn Lee 19 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. I've never been a doughnut lover, which seems odd considering that I have a penchant for fried things, sweet things, and doughy things. Why does the combination of the three fail to fill me with explosive joy? Did I have a traumatic doughnut experience as a child? (Actually, I sort of did; my early doughnut memories involve unappealingly dense, dry cake doughnuts from a local gourmet food shop.) Or maybe it's because I live in New York City, which to me isn't a particularly good doughnut town. But when... More

Gallery of Rice Cakes from Seoul's 7th International Tteok Fair

Robyn Lee 12 comments

If you think of rice cakes as only being round or block-shaped, you're...right about most of them. But at the 7th International Tteok Fair in Seoul, South Korea, there were more! So many more! For the rice cake competition, contestants made elaborate dishes that, unfortunately, only the judges could eat, but they provided plenty of eye-candy for the rest of us. Since there were too many for me to include in my overview of the fair, I separated my favorites into this gallery. Many of the tteok dishes were make to look like other things. This South Korean flag, for one.... More

Snapshots from South Korea: Grand Prix from Mr. Pizza, Korean Pizza 'Made for Women'

Slice Robyn Lee 7 comments

From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about. "You have to try Mr. Pizza," said Dan, my primary Seoul eating guide for the week. "It's for women! ...And they use lots of crazy toppings." Hey, I'm female and I like crazy toppings! Apparently, Mr. Pizza was made just for me. (Why is it for women? Mary Eats provides some insight.) Actually, I lied; I don't like excessive crazy toppings. I like the idea of excessive crazy toppings... More

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