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4 Best Korean Food To Add To Your Travel List

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My first encounter with Korean food happened during university time. When I bumped into Jin while walking to our afternoon class. Jin was a schoolmate, whom I had only exchanged several “Hello” with, excluding that one time when he witnessed me getting totally sloshed during a class night out. He told me he was hungry and sort of invited me to stop in between to have lunch together. He suggested Korean food, I remembered asking him whether it’s nice, he convinced me with a nod and a wide smile. Retrospectively, Jin was never much of a talker and might be a Korean. Vin, was Jin a Korean?
Anyway, the food, well, I need not to tell you how delicious Korean dishes are, I have ever since added it to my palette, but wouldn’t consider it one of my favorites. Until I went to KoreaIn Korea the dishes tasted so much better! As it should when we eat a globally loved food in its’ own country.
Browsing through iPhoto to feature some in Korea itinerary post (Itinerary Part 1 and Part 2), I noticed that I have eaten way too much there, no regrets only happy tummy. I am urging you to bring food checklist when you visit Korea for the first, second, or even third time. Beside the black pig BBQ we had on Jeju island, which is my ultimate choice, these the best Korean food we had in Korea:

1. Dakgalbi or stir fried marinated chicken

IMG_9299

I am glad the hostel recommended Yoogane restaurant on our first night in Seoul It’s a cold day and we reach the hotel quite late, because I printed the wrong hostel confirmation and had to search for it for some time (sorry girls!), by the time we reached the hostel, it was too late and we were tired. We decided to skip lunch, unpacked and freshen up instead. In short, we were hungry and cold that evening.

Nothing could have been a better choice than to sit facing a huge cooking pan placed in front of you, filled with all the meat you order and smelling the mouth-watering aroma, minutes before eating it. Dakgaldi is stir-frying marinated diced chicken and other meat, in the chili pepper paste based sauce, together with assorted vegetables and rice cake. You are supposed to finish or half finish it before someone comes and top a bowl of rice on it and turn it into a fried rice. It’s safe to say, we went back and slept with a huge smile on our faces. I remembered Jin that night, yes, he was right, Korean food is delicious.

Yoogane address: 66-6 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Myeongdeong district, Seoul. I think they have a few branches. You can also find one in Singapore at Bugis Junction.

2. Samgyetang aka ginseng chicken soup

Korean Ginseng Chicken

Chicken soup seemed like a perfect choice to have on a snowfall day. We went to Tosokchon, the famous ginseng chicken soup place in Seoul, located inside a hanok, it’s known to be frequented by one of Korea’s late president.

Since Vi had been there before, she suggested to go there before the dinner time. She was right, even before 6PM the place was almost full. We let her order the dishes and eagerly waited for it to come.

You guys, that ginseng chicken soup was to die for!! The soup broth was thick and savory, the chicken meat so tender and the glutinous rice stuffed inside the chicken was just damn delicious. Everything about this chicken soup made me want to dance right there and then. We couldn’t stop ‘ahh’ and ‘hmm’-ing all the way until we finished it. Btw, the soup was quite filling, don’t order extra dishes, chances are you wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Tosokchon address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

3. Okdom Gui aka fried salted fish and Jeonbokjuk aka the green porridge.

Korean Food

Like almost all my food stories, we stumbled upon this restaurant to tame down the sound of our empty stomach. In our defense, we just came back from climbing the Sunrise Peak, Jeju Island. There were many restaurants at the entrance (great product placement) and we chose one randomly. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. We tried different dishes this time, after asking owner’s suggestion on what was the local delicacy around here. She recommended salted fish. Yin chose Jeonbokjuk. The fried fish was really nice and salty, perfect combo to be eaten with a bowl of rice. Also, knowing that it might be caught only hours ago fresh from the sea that could be seen from outside, added the flavor to it.  Meanwhile the green rice porridge looked unappetizing, but I’ll be damn if the way a particular dish looks going to stop me from trying, especially in a foreign place. It turned out to be really nice, especially the abalone parts. Maybe that’s why it’s so expensive, almost everywhere else.

4. Jogaetang aka clam soup with assorted vegetables

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This was a clear seafood soup with noodles, which we had in the Jagalchi fish market in Busan. There were more side dishes, but our seating position made it difficult to move around and take more pictures. Also, hunger made me do a bare minimum, sorry for the blurry pic 😛

The seafood was fresh and the soup was flavorful enough. I could use a little more spicy, fortunately, they always put chili as one of the side dishes. Overall, it’s a heartwarming dish, perfect to be eaten during cold season. #YUM.

Check out the clear plastic covering the table in the picture. You will encounter this in a few places, usually if you have a meal at the markets. The purpose of it is to make the cleaning job much faster and easier for the seller. This is also good for you, because it means you will be seated faster if there is a queue.

One of the traditions (attractions) of eating in Korea is to order a main dish which usually comes in a huge portion and shared with everyone at the table. Though I have encountered this tradition before in a few other countries, in Korea we did it more frequently. This way everyone had to consider each other flavor palate and “craving” for the day. Reading this you might think it’s inconvenient, but on the contrary we loved it. Serving the food around and enjoying it together with your family and friends heighten the eating experience.

There are more delicious Korean food you have to try; such as BBQ chicken, best eaten in the evening while winding down, with a bottle of soju or a glass of beer, Sannakji, the live octopus and as I mentioned before the black pig dish, the specialty of Jeju island. Lastly, don’t forget to munch on the street food and stop at unique coffee shops (coffeeshop Part 1 and Part 2), the option are endless, you guys!

What’s your favorite Korean dish? And what’s your favorite Korean restaurant in the city you live in? In conclusion, when you visit Korea, don’t stop eating. Don’t worry about getting fat, you can always diet later. Speaking of diet, I will share my recent disaster diet story soon with you. Stay subscribed and as always, thanks for reading.

Ps. Dear Korean friends, my apology if I got the name of the dishes wrong. Please help to point it out to me and I will change it. Gomabseubnida!

Read more: Eating in India, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Singapore and up in the air // Korean breakfast.

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  • Dakgaldi! Gimme gimme gimme!

    • Foreign Geek

      OMG you like it too? How about Dakgaldi date at Bugis Junction? I am coming to Singapore this month 😀

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