Generally, I don’t pay much attention to local food. I could survive on bread & cheese or opt for fast food. And I would prefer vegetables over meat. I can visualise food lovers shaking their head in disappointment. I guess, I’m that not into food. And it works for us – as Basil is the foodie.
Korean food made me change my mind. Or maybe, we stayed for a longer period and it’s essential to change your palate – to survive. Or our brief stint in Shanghai helped us appreciate the subtle balance in spice and flavour. That said, most of the traditional as well as modern Korean dishes were rich in flavour. Korean cuisine is quite different from China and Japan, but does have an underlying simplicity – common in all three countries.
The meal above is as traditional as it can get. On client meets or team dinners; Basil had an opportunity to try this interesting assortment of dishes. There’s kimchi, fried veggies, sauces, meat soup, and mince. The leaf is wrapped around sauce, kimchi, and your choice of your meat.
Traditional Chicken Dishes
Koreans love their chicken. There are numerous fast food outlets serving fried or grilled chicken. Traditional lunch houses serve piping hot chicken cooked in a spicy gravy with boiled potatoes, onions, and carrots. A bowl of rice serves as an accompaniment. I can’t remember the names of either one of the dishes above and I blame my traveller memory for that. I was too hungry and struggled to eat with chopsticks (flat and longer), eventually succumbing to the spoon.
If you love your coffee, then Seoul won’t disappoint. From Starbucks to quaint coffee shops, there’s a coffee shop in every nook or corner. It’s rare to find anything more than a sandwich or desert to eat in a coffee shop. But, the coffee and hot chocolate is simply perfect.
Global cuisine can be easily found in Seoul. Turkish, Japanese, French, and Italian outlets help you discover the amalgamation of flavour and culture. Dr. Robbin prides itself on serving healthy food without compromising on taste. I’d have to agree. The crème pasta, thick soup, and snowflake ice-cream were spot on.
Not very far from our apartment, in Gongdeok, we found these street stalls selling an assortment of fried delicacies. Shrimp, sausage, veggies, sweet potato, and rice cakes; it was hard to choose. These stalls have also been featured on KBS, as you will see it being proudly displayed on the poster.
Steam buns are one of our favourite street snacks. Either with red bean paste or shrimp – both are fantastic.
I’ve saved the best for last. Bibimbap is not something to be missed. Towards the end of our trip, as we waited patiently for the KTX train to Seoul (from Busan) we stumbled across a restaurant serving Bibimbap. Basil opted for Tuna while I settled for shrimp. Seaweed soup, rice, an assortment of veggies, and seafood was an absolute treat and a fitting end to our journey of traditional Korean food.