Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Seoul, South Korea: the Food

I bet you, my wonderful readers have been worried about what happened to me and concerned that maybe South Korea is not safe. Good News!! We are fine!

I am sitting right now in the lobby of our hotel, writing this blog while waiting for a taxi to the airport and then a flight to Japan. I figured it would be a good use of my waiting time to try to remember and write down what has happened since I last wrote (July 5).  Today is the 12th of July, so a lot has happened and most of it was pretty interesting.

I think that the best way to organize what I have done and seen is by topic rather than chronological. I will start with food. I was surprised that there were many types of Korean food that I enjoyed.

This first picture is of Steve and I with our friend Dan eating Korean BBQ. First you choose which meat you would like to eat and then they bring you lots of sides. In the middle of the table is a large grill and the meat is brought over and the waiter comes by and puts the meat on it, turns it over and cuts it into pieces. You can eat it sort of like a burrito, but with lettuce instead of a tortilla. So, you might have a piece of meat, a piece of garlic, some rice and some kimchi (fermented cabbage) rolled up in a lettuce leaf. You are supposed to pop it all in your mouth and eat it in one bite.

Korean BBQ is tasty. One of the main things that people eat is Pork Belly, which sounds bad, but it really means bacon. So, you are given thick strips of bacon to grill at the table.

Another popular type of food here is Chicken and Beer. There are restaurants that sell just Chicken and Beer. You get a whole pile of fried chicken and order beer to drink. It usually also comes with some radishes. The chicken comes in different flavors. We chose Original and Honey, but there was also Soy sauce and Spicy. It was delicious, but mainly because of the fried coating!  We had this twice.

Then there are many other traditional Korean restaurants. Steve enjoyed eating Bibimbap which is a collection of vegetables, rice, seaweed, tuna, egg that you mix together and eat. I liked Bulgogi which is very thin slices of beef that is usually eaten with rice. When you go to a restaurant like this the first thing that they do is bring you a large number of side dishes to share. I don’t know that I could tell you what they all are. There is always Kimchi. 

Usually there was also some other pickled radish. Sometimes there was onion or sliced garlic. Often there were unidentified greens (probably seaweed). Once there was a green onion pancake. It tasted like maybe it had rice flour cooked into it. Almost every time there was some sort of soup. In this picture you see sprouts in a soy broth, but we often had miso soup.

There were also many places to get more recognizable food. This was lunch for me one day. A chicken basil sandwich, half cob of corn, French fries, salad, sauce, pickles and mango aid.

Meals in Korea are served with chopsticks and a spoon. Forks and Knives are unusual.

Oh, yes, and there is the time that we went out to have ice cream for dessert. We used the pictures on the menu to help us decide what to order. Steve ordered a nice looking ice cream sundae which turned out to be an affogado (a scoop of vanilla ice cream with caramel topping served with a separate shot of espresso which you pour over the ice cream.  It was delicious. I ordered the sundae pictured next to it which looked to me like ice cream with chocolate sauce. It turned out that it was shaved ice piled on with a red sweet bean-adzuki bean, sprinkled with nuts, topped with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with cream to pour over the ice. It was huge. The picture shows the two things we ordered. The menu did not show the size difference. The shave ice with beans and ice cream is a favorite summer dessert here and after that I often saw it pictured at different restaurants. I don't know about you, but I don't usually consider beans as dessert.


  1. Glad you are okay! Wow! The food alone is a great adventure. Thanks for sharing��

  2. Chinese people often use beans (especially red beans) in desserts and even in sweet drinks. I only like them wrapped in sesame seed balls. Sometimes it is bean paste and sometimes lotus paste inside. But I think they are delicious.
    https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQofaaQ-iLdZdk2Ujb3q3lUHVFfBBAPXxoxmleSAuma7xjiwx3c -SS