South Korea is a Foodie’s paradise! It was easy to go around and the choices were endless, satisfying our cravings for something savoury or sweet, hot or cold, liquid or dry. Sky is the limit.
We went to these 4 areas in where we can sample as many food as possible:
1. Gwangjang Market
SOONDAE is reminiscent of the Filipino dish called dinuguan (stew of pork meat simmered in a gravy of pig blood). This South Korean dish is a blood sausage with sticky rice, served with sliced pig’s lungs. It was bland for my taste and needed some chili sauce (or vinegar, maybe?) to go with it. Overall, it was not for me.
We also had a plate of JAPCHAE, JOKBAL (pig’s feet) and a bottle of beer. Our total bill was around AED 30.
While walking around we stopped by some store and sampled their KIMCHI for free. Gwangjang Market came highly recommended by bloggers but I was not impressed with the food.
The first thing we tried was the HOTTEOK which is a stuffed pancake that is either be sweet or savoury. We had the AED 17 oyster pancake and it was really good! I like how soft and fluffy and flavourful they were. It was a bit oily and filling though, so you might want to take it easy on this.
We also had the AED 7 SUGAR PANCAKE but i prefer the former.
The LOBSTER TAILS were a bit expensive at around AED 45 per serving, but it was so good. I can’t remember when I last had grilled fresh lobsters with melted cheese. Yummy!
We tried the STEAK. Being the steak person that I am, I loved this a lot. The meat was tender and well-seasoned and the veggies perfectly cooked. This cost us AED 25.
The fluffy fishcakes called EOMUK GUK are served in a glass of warm flavourful broth with a touch of chili and soy sauce as seasoning. “Eomuk” means fishcake and “Guk” means soup. Korean Fishcake Soup is a popular snack on a chilly night. It is very simple yet so comforting.
Of course, who does not love a SAMGYEOPSAL on a cold night out? A barbecue that costs between AED 180-250 can be shared by 4 people. We also had GALBI-TANG which is Korean beef short ribs soup that’s really good to have a chilly night. This bowl cost AED 45.
It was our last evening in Korea and passed by Sul-bing after dinner. Rod is an ice cream addict and, even at 3 degrees Celsius, we just had to try the shaved ice, locally known as PATBINGSU. We ordered the Real Green Tea Sulbing, Mango Cheese Snowflakes Sherbet and Strawberry Cheese Melon Sulbing. Of all three, green tea is my favourite (as I am not a big fan of sweets).
The place looked very nice with the holiday decors and comfy chairs. Each costs more or less AED 30-40 per serving.
Initially I thought, why would I have CHICKEN & BEER (aka chimaek) in Korea when I can have chicken anywhere else in the world? I gave it a try anyway as it is popular, and I found a strip of restaurants in Myeong-dong that serves these.
We tried BHC once, and we were hooked! I loved their Matcho-king (AED 65) paired with Cass Beer and Grapefruit Soju (AED 16/bottle).
Some nights BHC were packed so we tried the one next door called Chicken 678 where we had extremely spicy chicken called Hot Bomb Sauce Chicken which we really loved, costing only AED 65 per serving. It was too spicy we were in tears! A pint of Cass Beer is about AED 14.
3. Noryangjin Market
It was nice to sit there and enjoy a plate of fresh oysters, while being surrounded by live seafood such as King Crabs. The plate of oysters cost us only AED 20!
I like anything grilled. We saw this man selling DAKKOCHI (grilled chicken skewers) which was perfectly seasoned. It was very spicy, which I enjoyed. It was cheap, too, at only AED 7 per stick.
There was an auntie who was selling these sweet buns and we gave it a try too. It was too sweet for my taste, and too heavy! But it was not bad; maybe I was just full and needed a lighter dessert.
These are only a few of the many selections of street food in Korea. I would have tried more if we stayed longer and if I had more money to spend.
I felt I gained A LOT of weight and my brain was begging me to stop eating. It made me really happy though. NO REGRETS!
There are still a lot to try but I was too stuffed so I am saving the craving for another trip. Food is ALWAYS a good reason to return.