Saturday, April 11, 2015

Late Night Snack at Gwangjang Market

Our last, and most memorable, outing in Korea was at Gwangjang Market 광장시장. I wanted to go there to experience an authentic korean night market. To eat some crispy bindaetteok 빈대떡 and what other delicacies the market offers.

Bindaetteok 빈대떡 - ₩5,000
We set off by foot from our hotel late at night with a map in hand, and we still got lost. Fortunately two korean office workers helped us to get there with a bit of pointing and body language.

We started eating as soon as we set foot on the premises. The vendors were all so nice. An ahjumma, who was originally from Harbin 哈尔滨, found out that we can speak a little mandarin and gave us some extra jangtteok 장떡 with our order of gajami jjeon 가자미전. Isn't that awesome? Koreans would call this "service".

Gajami jjeon 가자미전 - ₩12,000
Mayak gimbap 마약 김밥 - ₩2,000

The surprising dish for us was the mayak gimbap 마약 김밥, it really was addictive. I think what made it was the mustard dipping sauce. The heat from the mustard goes really well with the simple flavours of the gimbap.

This visit really made us sad to be leaving Korea so soon.

Gwangjang Market 광장시장
88 Changgyeonggung-ro
Jongno-gu, SEOUL
서울특별시 종로구 창경궁로 88

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Packing Station at Lotte Mart

I wish we have these stations at my local grocery.

The Lotte Mart (Jamsil branch, near Lotte World) I went to has a packing station after the cashier counters where we can pack our stuff in boxes, sticky tape them and strap them up with the provided string so we can carry them more easily. All for the price of ₩0!

I'm not sure if this is the norm for bigger supermarkets or just in this Lotte Mart though. It's so convenient to have the boxes there for us since we were travelling, plus the store is also getting rid of boxes they no longer need. Win win I say.

I'm also darn envious of the variety of fresh asian ingredients they have, like the mushrooms and the fresh seaweed. It's a shame that seaweed is not a big food item here in Australia, knowing that seaweed is one the most nutritious food one can eat.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seoul Street Food

I’ve found that Korea has one of the most exciting and diverse street food scenes in Asia. Not only do they dish old-school favourites like tteokbokki 떡볶이 but they also come up with new ones constantly. Tornado Potato 회오리감자 anyone?

My interaction with street food during the trip was fairly limited. It was a quick bite here and there amidst the shopping and the sightseeing. Like this corndogs we had in Myeongdong 명동, except it’s Korean style (which I’ve dubbed Kor-dog) with the sausage wrapped in fish cake to be deep-fried and slathered with sweet chilli sauce. Still unsatisfied by the sausage, we got another skewer. This time it’s a quintet of mini sausages. One of the mini sausages were actually a quintessential Korean ingredient of rice cake (tteok 떡) that has been wrapped in minced pork, before again given the same deep fried and sweet chilli sauce treatment. All the protein and carbs one needs after hours of shopping. The variety of just this one stall we visited was enormous.

During yet another long drive between cities, we stopped over at a rest area for bathroom breaks and the like. Now, if you’ve watched one or two Korean variety shows in the past, you would know rest stops in Korea are not just mere no-frills re-fuelling stations and they definitely do not serve lousy food. At one particular rest area, I remember having these elongated crackers that tasted faintly of fish. The packaging might have tipped us it was made of fish. I found out only recently from a korean reality show I was watching this elongated cracker is called fried jwipo crackers 튀김 쥐포 made from pressed filefish jerky. They were a delight to eat.

But I've got to say my favourite was the humble hodugwaja 호두과자. Originating from Cheonan, it is made by pouring batter into heated moulds shaped like walnut shells, topped with a filling of sweet bean paste and some chopped walnuts. The mould is then turned a couple of times until the dough puffs up and envelops the sweet and nutty filling. Not having any Korean vocabulary past the basic kamsahamnida 감사합니다, I can only communicate with body language with the ajumma 아줌마 who’s busily turning those moulds. Yet amidst going about her business she graciously invited me to come closer and take more pictures of how these cute snacks are made. Her little stall was in the middle of the business district surrounded by high-rise offices with no other food stalls around to speak off. Seeing how she’s still operating she must be doing some good business.

At the end of my trip, I felt like I didn’t even scratch the surface of Korea’s street food scene. Certainly something I need to correct on our next visit.

location of the stalls on google maps

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Garlic: Health Food in Danyang

Asians love their garlic. Koreans not excepted. Garlic can be found in most Korean dishes. Even their most beloved import, kimchi is made with plenty of minced garlic. In some less luxurious versions of samgyetang 삼계탕 (ginseng chicken soup), a lot more garlic than usual is added to supplement the flavour lacking from the relatively smaller quantities of the expensive ginseng.

So why do we love garlic? Well, first and foremost, garlic is delicious! A quick midweek stir-fry of bokchoy with a dash of soy sauce can be elevated with a few cloves of minced garlic. The addition of the humble Allium sativum can make a relatively mundane side dish more savoury.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bulgogi 불고기 in Pyeongchang

In Indonesia, we have this Dutch influenced Javanese stew called semur, of slowly simmered beef dominated with nutmeg and peppery undertones with a hint of sweetness from kecap manis. Every household has slightly differing version of semur, at our house we make them with potatoes and glass noodles.

It might be odd to be thinking of this dish while in Korea, but the consensus with the Indonesian tour group was that pan-cooked bulgogi is basically Korea’s semur. I am chuckling to myself here as I am writing this. It’s funny because it’s somewhat true. The bulgogi we had that night was not dissimilar to that of semur, peppery and sweet, the colour of its broth was brown from soy sauce, and it was abundant with glassy, chewy potato noodles. It wasn’t a stretch for us to make the comparison.

Related Posts with Thumbnails