Category Archives: Seoul

Seoul, Korea: Hongik Sutbul Galbi (홍익숯불갈비생고기)

Grilled meat is one of my must-eats when I head to Korea. My recent trip there brought me to one of the best and more affordable (as compared to back home) places – Hongik Sutbul Galbi (홍익숫불갈비).

This no-frills barbecue place serves up some really decent cuts of meats, which explains why the place was still packed when we reached at 9pm. Lucky for us, one of the tables was about to leave just as we arrived. We ordered a portion of samgyeopsal 삼겹살 (KRW 12,000), pork galbi 돼지갈비 (KRW 12,000) and bean stew 된장찌개 (KRW 1,000).

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Seoul, Korea: Street Food and Street Snacks

Ahh, street food. Nothing quite like those tempting wafts of aromas from street food stands all over Asia. Seoul included. There were quite a number of street food stalls everywhere we went. Pretty curls of potato on a skewer, sausages, crepes etc. I can’t say we loved everything, but there were definitely a few that were heavenly and well-worth the calories. Here are the top 3 snacks we dream about in our bouts of Seoul wanderlust.

1.       Hotteok

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Who can resist the hot and piping hotteok that is pan-fried (actually half-deep-fried) to perfection? Crispy on the outside, and sticky and chewy on the inside, this is definitely one delicious snack that we would want someone to recreate back home in Singapore. Maybe it tasted especially good because it was freezing and this was piping hot. Be careful though, the molten centre filled with sweet syrup and finely chopped nuts might dribble down your chin and hands as you are consuming this little goody.

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Tourists and locals formed long but fast-moving lines near this particular stall on the main Insadong street. The only hotteok stall with a queue, mind you. After being served their hotteoks served in between two little pieces of cardboard, most huddle around nearby, bent slightly forward, nibbling at the snack while it’s still fresh and hot. Nothing like immediate gratification.

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2.       Caramelised sweet potato

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These bite-sized caramelised ingots of fluffy sweet potato might not look very impressive sitting glossy on metal trays. In fact, we went by the stall once and were not tempted to try until the mother insisted we just give it a go. Lesson learnt: Don’t be fooled by looks, these  are crazy good and addictive. One bite into its crunchy caramelised glazed “shell” will leave you clamouring for another, and another… and another. The insides are pillow soft with a subtle hint of sweetness from the potato. It wont be long before you finish them all. The sister, S, loved this and insisted we bought a second box from the ajumma.

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Potato Avenue can be found along the same street as Myeong Dong Gyoja (located on 24 Myeong Dong 2-ga, Myeong Dong station exit 8) and in fact is very close by.
3.        Korean meat skewers

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We stumbled upon this savoury snack after a spot of shopping at the Ewha Women’s University area. Grilled on the sidewalks some distance away from the main road leading to the university, this snack comes glazed in three different sauces – spicy, non-spicy, and medium spicy (if I understood their menu correctly). The spicy is not for the faint-hearted – it gets extremely spicy (even for me) after a bite, and I think my spice tolerance level is more than average. We ended up ordering another non-spicy skewer. Tasty all the same!

 

– Y

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Seoul, Korea: Bulgogi Brothers, MyeongDong (불고기브라더스)

We dined at the MyeongDong outlet of Bulgogi Brothers when we visited Seoul recently. It took a while for us to find the place as it was the weekend, and the place was sprawling with locals and tourists alike. Fortunately, we managed to seek directions from this burly security guard on duty in the HUGE Uniqlo with my broken Korean and my screencaptures of google map on my phone (he kept trying to scroll around thinking it was the actual map on the Internet. In the end, he whipped his own smartphone out to check out the map). It turned out that Bulgogi Brothers was only one alley down from Uniqlo! We sped down hungrily to the restaurant, after expressing our thanks to the guard.

The restaurant’s layout was quite westernised, by that I mean, it looks like… say, Tony Roma’s at Suntec City in Singapore. They actually do have Chinese and English menus, which we only found out later when we were paying. Just a small note that the prices in the Chinese and English menus were not updated with their newest pricing. I’ve included the updated prices in my post for the items we ordered. Alternatively, you can visit their website here).

The Galbi (갈비 꽃살) we ordered was very juicy and fresh. Most wonderful.

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Galbi (갈비 꽃살) ₩ 41,800

We also ordered a portion of the Bulgogi Bibimbap (송이 불고기 비빔밥) as M is a fan of any kind of Bibimbap and “had to try it“. This turned out quite nicely, but I must say we didn’t have any bad Bibimbap in Korea.

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Bulgogi Bibimbap (송이 불고기 비빔밥) ₩11,900

Last but not least was the Bulgogi Brothers Special (BB 스폐셜) for 2 pax. It was funny how the patties came heart-shaped. Perhaps they assumed that anything for 2 were for couples? It also came with a portion of meat (didn’t manage to get a picture of them tgt as the waiter had already started cooking them) This was slightly pricey in my opinion, and honestly, I would have rather paid for another portion of Galbi instead.

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(BB 스폐셜) ₩48,900

Service was prompt and friendly, and the waiters we came into contact with all spoke English, though minimally. Overall a good experience with good company, but not in a hurry to go back unless you’re craving heaps of meat.

Address:

Bulgogi Brothers
2F Taeheung B/D, 7-1 Myeong-dong 1ga, Jung-gu
서울시 중구 명동 1가 7-1 번지

-by Y

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Seoul, Korea: O’Sulloc Tea House, Insadong

We just came back from Seoul in late Feb (yes it was freezing cold but hey we managed!) and I must say I’m already looking forward to my next trip back to Korea! We were at the very busy Insadong on a Saturday afternoon after touring GyeongBok Palace and were looking to huddle somewhere out of the cold. As luck would have it, I spotted O’Sulloc which had been on the itinerary as a place we could drop by for post-dinner desserts in MyeongDong but since we found it at Insadong, we decided to head in. A really good decision on hindsight because we found out later from their sales staff at O’Sulloc’s Lotte supermarket space that the one in MyeongDong was undergoing major renovation.

First floor of the O’Sulloc branch on Insadong-gil sells their wide range of teas (grown on Jeju island) and crockery. It was particularly packed on the first floor since they were giving away mini tasting cups of hot green tea to everyone who walked in. You can imagine how many people wouldn’t mind something hot given it was about zero degrees celsius (or colder) outside.

On the second floor is their full-fledged tea house serving drinks and desserts. if you get the seats right by the window, you could do some people-watching. The lady who attended to us very kindly explained how the current promotional set worked in her halting English for a good 5 minutes. The promo meant we could pick two drinks and a cake. You could pick from green tea latte and/or honey apple milk tea for drinks, and for dessert, either the green tea tiramisu or the green tea cheesecake. We also ordered the SeJac (slighty more intense than the original green tea) and an earl grey cheesecake to go along.

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Everything took a long time to be served but we attributed it to the fact that they were running on full house. On our second visit which was on a weekday night, service was much faster with less customers. Yes, we went back again ’cause we were in the area and we really enjoyed our first visit 🙂

I would recommend you go for the promotional set if it still is available. It’s not only value for money but the honey apple milk tea and cheesecakes were extremely yummy. The former had little soft bits of apple in the tea and the earl grey cheesecake (not on the promo set) had little specks of earl grey tea leaves in it, nothing like what we’ve had in Singapore. Everything else we had from the menu were also great but Seoul’s not the cheapest of cities, so expect to pay about 9-15USD per drink and 6-9USD for dessert. You can get a sense of the place and brand via their website here.

Interior of O’Sulloc @ Insadong

Green Tea Latte

Honey Apple Milk Tea

Se Jac Tea

Green Tea Tiramisu

On our second visit, we had the green tea ice-cream which I highly recommend you try too. A big swirl of green tea ice-cream came with a mini cup of concentrated green tea which you pour all over the ice-cream. The green tea actually froze when it came into contact with the ice-cream. We also had the roll which seemed really popular and we could see why with its soft sponge (the Japanese also seem to have an obsession with soft sponge rolls). Every drink and dessert we had was very well balanced and not-too-sweet which is right up my alley. I have to admit the presentation (read: crockery) was delicate and beautiful which definitely upped the experience.

Green Tea Roll

Green tea to pour onto the green tea ice cream

Green Tea Ice Cream

Address: 170 Gwanhun-dong Jongro-gu, Seoul

Directions: It’s on the main Insadong-gil on the end that’s closer to the GyeongBok Palace so it would be a nice tea-stop post tour. If you’re entering the street coming from GyeongBok Palace, the store would be on your right.

Open daily from 9am – 10pm (Except on Sat when they close later at 11pm)

– S

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