Food has become a consistent topic on my blog. I have discussed the foods I have eaten in reacounts of my daily life and outings, as well as occasional taste experiences abroad plus numerous recipes. However until now I haven’t given the names of many of the restaurants and fast food joints I have enjoyed nor actually reviewed them with personal ratings. If you ever visit South Korea I want to ensure that you spend your money wisely on cuisine you can truely indulge in. You may want to grab a snack for nibbling whilst you read this as I’m sure you will get peckish.
Jaws Tteokbokki – An affordable tteokbokki franchise most well known for their variety of rice cake fillings. Tteokbokki is considered as a cheap ‘junk food’ fix. Tubes of rice cake (tteok) that can be filled with cheese is submerged in a spicy sauce made for Gochujang (korean chilli paste). Other popular ingredients added to tteokbokki include fish cake, boiled eggs, and mixed seafood. Best of all is the cutlets – crispy fried fish, meat and vegetables, stuffed chilli peppers and Mandu/Gyoza (dumplings) that can be dunked into the tteokbokki sauce. If you are quite fussy with food and aren’t ready for eating alot of seafood I recommend that you order their cheese melted tteokbokki which just contains the rice cake, cheese and sauce.
Helpful tip – Traditional Korean restaurants often give free refills of kimchi, miso soup and water upon request or via self-service.
GS25 – A convenience store chain that is not only useful for picking up snacks, a drink or toilet tissue. Among all the convenience store chains I think they have the best Bento. Fresh bento gets delivered to stores around midnight, so you can get some as a late night meal as store are open 24/7. You will most likely be unsuccessful in purchasing bento around typical lunch time hours through to the afternoon. Bento options range from pork cullets, fried chicken with mayonaise, omurice, and various marinated meats. All are accompanied by kimchi, steamed or spicy rice, mini hotdogs and vegetables. Some are served with either a little bit of creamy pasta, coleslaw, potato salad, potatoes wedges or pickled radish. Here is also the best place to try Kimbap (rice rolls or triangles filled with vegetables, meats or fish). My favourite is the half Spam mayonaise, half Stir-fried kimchi triangle kimbap and the cheese chicken katsu regular kimbap.
Lotteria – Preferably after trying traditional Korean dishes you should explore their fast food choices. Lotteria which is owned by Lotte, one of the biggest companies in Korea after Samsung and LG, have some of the best burgers you will ever try among fast food restaurants. I’m a lover of ShakeShack and a good old McDonald’s Big Mac but Lotteria deserve a round of applause for their creations. Out of all you need to try their two most favourable choices: shrimp burger and mozzerella burger.
Don Don Jung: Mokdong, Seoul – If for whichever reason you aren’t able to visit Japan after or before coming to Korea, Seoul offer some authentic Japanese cuisine. Don Don Jung has a wide selection of meal sets: curries, hotpots, raw fish dishes, teriyaki, tempura, sushi, soups, stews and cutlets. Considering the price you get a generous amount of great quality food all with the comfort of a wooden structured seating booth.
Sulbing: Myeongdong, Seoul – This Bingsu (shaved ice) dessert Cafe is a franchise with several locations, although the one in Myeongdong (a large shopping destination for tourists and locals) is lovely to attend after a long day of walking around. They’re constantly adding new Bingsu to their menu based on seasonal fruits. Most of the desserts are designed for couples and friends to eat together.
Paris Baguette – A patisserie franchise that will leave you craving their breads, cakes and sandwiches once you leave Korea. Just invision what they have to offer and drool: melon cream bun, mocha bread, pizza croquettes, hotdog bread, and croquette mouche are just as few to mention. Their stores are wonderfully set up; some with corners reserved for eating. Each item has a card near where they are situated with English and Korean names and descriptions.
Ho Chicken, Incheon – If you are looking to try Korean delivery food, apps including Yogiyo are trustworthy plus you will be spoilt for choice. If the area in which you stay has a Ho chicken within close proximity to be able time order from, you will be more that satisfied with your choice. Of course it seems strange to be eating fried chicken in Korea when it originates for the US, but Korea has many more fried chicken options that just spicy, bbq sauce covered and southern fried. I recommend soy sauce chicken, spring onion chicken and Yangnyeom chicken and snow chicken. Yangnyeom is the most preferred variation: A rich, sticky spicy red sauce with sesame seeds. Snow chicken or fries refers to the arlic chess powder which is sprinkled over them.
Dore Dore – It should just be called ‘cream sponge cakes galore’. I just want to know how they get their cakes so fluffy. They are most well know for their rainbow cakes, also serving coffee and iced juices.
Ops – Koreans love of West European foods is more or less represented in this pattiserie. Some of the desserts on their menu can be a little pricy, but all a very skillfully and intricately prepared. To be able to sit inside one of their cafés gives a wonderful elegant vibe and usually quite peaceful. I went their on Christmas eve of last year and the staff upheld their politeness considering we took our time to decide what to buy.
Helpful tip: Unique and specialist dessert cafés are very busy during evening hours in Seoul even if it’s a weekday. As long as you arrive to one around 5pm or beforehand you will be able to sit where you desire.
Angel-in-Us – If you haven’t heard by now coffee culture is on a much larger scale than that of the UK. There are at least 3 or 4 independent or franchise coffee shops on every street. I haven’t explored many of them yet, though I really like the menu of Angel-in-Us. Aside from the poor choice in music, it has comfortable simplistic seating arrangemnts. Their cakes are more favoured than their beverages; especially their salted caramel cheesecake and cream cookie cake slices.