Food in Seoul (South Korea)

As one of the last posted about my trip to South Korea, I thought it would be fun to make a master post (compilation) post of all the foods I ate in Seoul. Looking back I wish I tried out more authentic Korean cuisine. Because of the person that went along, I couldn’t eat most of the food I initially wanted to try. But, I still ate a lot of delicious food.

Korean café food
To start the day I would eat at a café. There are plenty to choose from, they even have Western brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Most of the menus have English written under each food item, making it easier to order. There was only one instance where everything was only written in Korean. The price range may vary, depending which café you’ll visit. The foods they sell at Korean cafés are bread types, sweet desserts or even a combination of both. There’s often a great variety of drinks to choose from. Next time, I think I’ll be sticking to warm meals throughout the day. The problem is that Korean desserts and even the bread are way too sweet for my liking. I’m not really a fan of sugary food but it didn’t hurt stepping out of my comfort zone.

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koreancafedrinkcranberrytea2Chiabatta bread stuffed with mushroom & cranberry tea

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_DSC9699Sweet corn bun, mini salad sandwiches & Chai tea latte

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koreanbreadbaggleblueberry1Blueberry bagel

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KoreanwafflewhippedcreamriinaWaffles with syrup, whipped cream & jelly

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_DSC8976Hello Kitty waffle covered in chocolate sauce, with ice cream, fruit and whipped cream.

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koreanbread1riinaFocaccia bread

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mangosixwafflefrozenyoghurt1Waffle with frozen yogurt and berries

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koreanhoneybreadwhippedcreambanana2Korean Honey Bread Brick Toast, with whipped cream, peanut butter and bananas, is a well-known Korean dessert. I didn’t have a chance try it because I’ḿ allergic to some of the containing ingredients.

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koreanmochiricecakeredbeanIchigo Daifuku 大福餅 (strawberry rice cake) originates from Japan and I was a bit surprised to see that they also eat this in Korea. I had this dessert many times before. It contains mochi (rice cake), anko (sweet red bean paste) and one strawberry. This was good but I had better before. The mochi was a little bit too hard and the anko a bit too sweet. But overall, it was still delicious. 

koreanHoneybreadinjeolmiToastInjeolmi Toast is another well-known Korean dessert. It’s quite similar to the honey toast but much smaller in size. It’s a very sweet and sugary white grilled sandwich filled with a soft chewy rice cake, sprinkled with soybean powder, honey and almonds.

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Linefriendsmacarons

linefriendsmacronsallthecharacterscafe1Line Cafe Brown & Friends Macarons are sweet treats you can buy at the Line Friends Café in Garuso-gil, Gangnam. You can buy them in a pack or single. They’re chocolate, lemon, vanilla flavoured and come in the shapes of the three Line Friends Brown, Cony and Sally.  

Korean Snacks
If you want to buy snacks in Korea, you don’t have to look far. At every corner, you can find a convenience store. These stores are filled with all kind of necessities from day to day life but you can mostly find drinks and food items, cold and warm. Most of the shopkeepers don’t understand English, so, if you want to ask something it can be difficult. The prices are relatively cheap.

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koreanriceballfillingconviencestore2Korean rice ball (onigiri) filled with meat 

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tteokbokkiconviencestorecup2Convenience store ready to eat Tteokbokki

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koreanoreoicecreamBubble Tree soft icecream

riinalovelettkoreansofticecreamKorean convenience store soft chocolate icecream

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Bungeoppangkoreanfishicecreaminside12Samanco Bungeoppang icecream, I have been seeing this icecream on a few sites, so, I had to try it. It’s a waffle in a shape of a fish, filled with regular vanilla icecream and sweet red bean paste. 

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BinggraebananamilkriinalovelettBinggrea banana, melon & strawberry flavoured milk are also very famous throughout Korea. These are just flavoured milk, nothing less and nothing more. Strawberry is my favourite out of the three. 

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Korean Street Food
What’s really cool about Seoul is that you don’t really have to go to a restaurant for a satisfying meal. When it’s heading towards supper time, street food vendors emerge from wherever they came from. You have a lot of variety to choose from. You have different meats on a stick, chicken in cups, waffles covered in whipped cream, cups of fruit, vegetables and fresh healthy beverages. The prices are cheap and even some of the vendor owners can speak English very well. I really wanted to try out more street food but unfortunately, I didn’t really have the chance. Hopefully, I can come again to Seoul and try out more food.

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koreansausegesonastick1Korean Sausage on a stick. These are pork sausages, they remind me of mini hotdogs. Some sausages are stuffed with rice cake inside them. Very spicy and delicious. 

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tteokbokkispicyricecake1Tteokbokki is made out of soft rice cakes, fish cakes and gochujang (a fermeneted Korean condiment). This is a very popular and affordable snack throughout Korea. It has a very savory and spicy taste to it. You have different versions of this dish, such as curry, cheese and chicken Tteobokki.

koreanchickeninacupsweetsourspicy2Cup chicken also known as Korean popcorn chicken. I couldn’t get my bloody camera to focus on the chicken. But it’s just chicken in a cup with spicy sauce over it.

koreanstreetfoodDakkochichickenskewersDakkochi chicken skewers

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Authentic Korean restaurant dishes
Ordering food in a Korean restaurant is not that difficult. Like cafés, most restaurants have menus in English and pictures. You can also examine the signs in front of the food places. Mostly if there’s English written on a restaurant sign, it’s a safe place for non-Korean speakers. Although, this isn’t always the case. I walked into a place where I have been turned down but no hard feelings. These are obstacles you have to face when you’re in a foreign country. Prices may very. Smaller hidden restaurants are a tad cheaper but overall the prices are fairly affordable.

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koreanfriedchickenonionsandKorean fried chicken is my kind of chicken. There have all kind of different flavors and ways to prepare it. You have plenty to choose from. I even saw fried chicken with whipped cream! I took a more simple approach and ordered the natural crispy with onions and garlic. I also ordered spicy fried chicken with potatoes (양념치킨). It was so so good! When I stayed in Seoul I ate about five times Korean fried chicken because it was just too delicious.

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koreanbibimbap13Bibimbap is another famous Korean dish. You have many variations but here’s the vegetarian option. It’s basically served with a bowl of warm rice, meat, vegetables, egg and Gochujang. You only have to mix those ingredients together and your dish is ready to eat.

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_DSC9099All you can eat Korean BBQ Gogigui. You can eat relatively cheap in Hongdae and there are a lot of restaurants/cafés to choose from. Thinking about all the Bulgogi, Galbi and Samgyeopsal make me drool. What I love about Korean culinary are the many side dishes that goes along with the food (banchan). The Korean side dishes that are served the most are kimchi, guk, gochujang and jjiggae. There’s also a Korean way to eat grilled meat. Korean BBQ always comes with sangchu. You’re meant to wrap the grilled meat like a decorative present. The savory juicy taste of the Galbi goes well with the green leaves.

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koreanmixspicerice1Korean BBQ Gogigui. This is different from the all you can eat places, where you have a set price and can eat as much as you can. At the regular Gogigui place, you have to pay for each separate serving. So you can choose pork, beef and chicken. The side dishes are included in the price.

Korean Take Out
If you don’t like eating out every day, then take-out is an option to be used. Almost every eating place in Korea has an option to order food and take it home. After a long day of sightseeing, this is really perfect.

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_DSC0935I noticed that all American-like food are more expensive compared to Korean food. “Korean” pizza was no exception and relatively expensive compared to all the other food that I ate. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course very delicious. Korean pizza is very different compared to the regular pizza I’m used to. With flavors like caramel, whipped cream and chocolate, can you blame me?

_DSC0068Take out Korean Fried Chicken

Travel: The Island Crete

Travel: The Island Crete

A short while ago I traveled to Greece. Crete to be precise. Crete is the largest among the Greek Islands and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea.

Honestly, I didn’t want to go because the trip would clash with my other obligations. Also, I have this huge fear of flying and try to fly as little as possible throughout the year. After some contemplation I decided that I should just go. I never been to Greece, never been to a tropical island before and I’m sure I would regret not going in the end. And you know what? I had such a wonderful time.

The first day we went to the sea and we decided to hike along the coastline. The sea is breathtaking. I remember being mesmerized by the  greenish, blueish, clear water. The photos I have seen online didn’t do it justice at all. There were locals fishing too, which was nice to see as well. All I wanted to do was throw myself in the sea because of the heat. The heat was unbearable. The sun sits high in the sky and was shining really bright on my face. Even with SPF 50+ I got sunburned like a roasted chicken that’s been in the oven far too long. One of the locals explained that in the past “the pale faces” cut all the trees and planted olive trees instead. That kind of explains why there is hardly any shadows and only dry land. But it wasn’t all that bad, the heat did wonders for my skin, hair and nails.

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We walked from Hersonissos to Stalida, Malia & Sisi. All very touristic but still breathtaking towns. The towns were surrounded by sea and by the mountains. At the west coast of Hersonissos, there’s a haven and an Orthodox church. We went inside the church for a bit and lighted a candle inside to make a wish. Also there were this two geese, one of them was so fat that it couldn’t swim properly. We laughed forever but it was actually quite sad. I guess gluttony is in all living beings.

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Although the water is really salty, swimming in the sea of Crete is ideal. The quietness, small waves, no weird sea creatures to be sighted and it wasn’t that deep near the coast. If you have enough, you can just lie down and read a book under the parasol. Have a refreshing summer drink while you are at it. This is truly heaven.

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We lodged at this cozy village Koutouloufari. Away from the touristy Hersonissos and its crazy party animals. There are a lot of cute shops and restaurants to be explored. The village Piskopiano is also nearby. Located in the center, a beautiful church with a stunning view of the city below. A few meters further there’s also this park with benches and trees. It took me a while to leave that breezy place and go back into the hot oven that’s the sun.

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After a few days of relaxing, swimming and exploring the villages nearby, we took the bus to the capitol Heraklion. About 30-40 minutes from Hersonissos. When we arrived they handed us a map of the city. That was really thoughtful. We first visited The Venetian Harbour and its fortress. In 1204 Crete fell in the hands of the Venetians, hence the name. Apparently at this harbour you can take ferries to other Greek islands like Santorini. It would be a really nice experience but regrettably, we were too far away and only a one-day trip would be a waste of money. As we walked through the harbour, waves from the other side of the shore hit the pavement. The sea nearby the port was the wildest I have seen so far.

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After visiting the harbour we went to explore the city. We looked through some shops, a church and we ate sunflower seeds at the square. The city was dazzling. Although full with tourists, it still had a calming effect on me. But what left me really in awe was the church Saint Minas. Beautiful architect, one of the most fascinating churches I’ve ever seen and I have seen many…far too many in my still short-lived life. I was truly perplexed that there were hardly any tourists visiting this area. But this gave me a chance to sit on a bench under the trees to admire it peacefully.

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Overall I had a fantastic time and I’m glad that I decided to go along. The Cretans were really friendly and helpful. They speak English rather well. At one of the restaurants the owner could even speak my native language. He told me he learned it from the tourists visiting his establishment. Pretty impressive! The only downside was that we were running out of time, so I couldn’t visit Agios Nikolaos and other alluring cities. Maybe next time?

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