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10 unique souvenirs you should get in Seoul

One of the most stressful parts of traveling is getting souvenirs for friends, family, and office mates. I've lived in the Seoul area since 2004, and I've been a tour guide for a few years. In my own experience and through talking with tourists over the years, I've...

Another Copycat, This Time in L.A.

Soon after Vatos Urban Tacos opened and became a hit, people from rival restaurants showed up, vigorously taking pictures of each detail for "research" and "benchmarking," business Konglish for "straight up ripping off and copying." A few months later, dishes that...

Groovy Find: Spicy Lamb Bulgogi at Home Plus

Yes! I found this at Home Plus.  Even though I found proof somewhere that Koreans used to eat lamb, it's not common today. Lamb can be found only in foreign supermarkets. Until recently. I saw this at Home Plus. Mr. Beaks Premium Chili Paste Lamb Bulgogi. Out of the...

Three kinds of bulgogi

Over at Sorae Bulgogi in Soraemaul we tried three types of VERY traditional bulgogi. The Eonyang Bulgogi comes from the southeast near Ulsan. It's thin slices of been mixed with garlic and sesame oil and pounded like hell. It's squeezed and massaged and eventually...

Another Hilarious Bibimbap Ad

CORRECTIONS AND UPDATES: The Bibimbap Backpackers contacted us and informed us that they have been working separately from Seo Kyung Duk since 2012. Even though it wasn't mentioned in the post, they also want to verify that they get no government support. They regret...

WTF: Domino’s Korea’s New World Cup Monstrosity

I ain't gonna be gentle about it. Korea has some fucked up pizzas. The American-based chains are the worst offenders, trying to outdo each other in how outrageously disgusting their next pizza will be. I think they're doing some high stakes trolling competition with...

Critic Burns Trendy Itaewon Restaurant via Epic Email

Background on this. An Itaewon restaurant wanted a local magazine to review it. After eating there, the reviewer sent this email in reply. I was given permission to re-post this. Names have been redacted.  Hi XXXX, how are you?I'm writing concerning the status of the...

Woomi Dakgalbi, Chuncheon, Korea

Woomi is an old-school 닭갈비 dakgalbi restaurant that has been in the mountain lakeside city of 춘천 Chuncheon, South Korea, since 1970. This was the Chuncheon dakgalbi I remember from my teaching English in the city in 1997. That was before the 2002 Korean TV drama 겨울연가...

Confessions of a Kimchi Craver

There was a brief stretch in my first month in Korea when I stopped eating kimchi. I blame culture shock. I had not yet grown my Asian palate and had made the expat's error of expecting certain colours and shapes to correspond to familiar tastes. I spent far too much...

How is Hite’s New Queen’s Ale?

It's already been a year since Daniel Tudor's column in The Economist about the sad state of South Korean beer, even when compared to North Korean beer. It wasn't the beer itself he bemoaned but the lack of choice. Only three major brands with little variation. They...

Recipe: Kale Kimchi

Recently, I joined a CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm affiliated with our local community college. Our CSA promises, "a share of whatever is ripe and ready to eat." That share recently included a small bunch of kale. Hubby is not a fan of kale, and I have...

Visiting Jackey's Seafood at Jagalchi Market, Busan

If you visit Busan 부산 and skip Jagalchi Shijang (Market) 자갈치시장, you haven't really visited Busan at all. The market opened in 1924 and gets its name from the nearby pebble beach—jagal 자갈 means pebble or gravel. In other words, Pebble Beach, Calif., is not the only...

Review: Kokoro Bento, Bukchon Village, Seoul

On our first full day in Seoul on a 10-day trip to Korea in mid-May, hubby and I spent a good part of the afternoon wandering the streets and alleys of Bukchon Hanok village. My goal was to find the 한옥 hanok (traditional Korean house) featured in the Korean TV drama...

Jeonju – Cheonnyeon Nuri Bom

Jeonju, the capital of North Jeolla Province is 3 hours away from Seoul. Having done my research, Jeonju was chosen as part of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. I was hoping to taste really good Korean food in this city. With an empty stomach, I began to explore the...

Cronut Copy found in Seoul

So, the news came out that Dunkin' Donuts in Korea and The Philippines is the first corporation to try to mimic Dominiq Ansel's famous cronut that's the hit of the summer in New York, calling it a "New York Pie Donut." (A Korean company wary of intellectual property...

Summer Treat: Brownie Cup-Bingsu

Couldn't resist this one at Cafe Goodovening. They're primarily a cupcake cafe. We have two interesting things going on here. Patbingsu in a cup Brownies! I ordered one today. Rainy season's about to hit us hard tomorrow, so I'm getting this one in now while I still...

Korea’s Collective Belly

The best food and travel writers have taught us that regional cuisine is one of the ways in which culture is made manifest. Food is never simply fuel; it’s ritualistic by default. The way that it is prepared, served and eaten can reveal much about a nation’s histories...

Gary Glen may know BBQ but…

He don't know Korean BBQ. I don't mean he was inaccurate. He wrote a piece that was culinarily and culturally ignorant from the history to the recipe. Gary (@GaryGlen) starts by explaining that Korean cuisine is highly influenced by China and Japan. There are some...

Jian at the Cat Cafe

This is one of those unique finds in Korea. Pet ownership is a relatively new concept, so some cafes have opened up that have cats for people to pet and play with. I took the family up into Seoul to Myeong-dong this past weekend to see an expat production of "The...

Can Jian Eat a Patbingsu Bigger than Her Head?

It's summer! Patbingsu season has arrived. It looks like we're again seeing more fruity variations on the shaved ice treat. Still, the English translations are not using the obvious "shaved ice" moniker and are going for the awkward misleading names of "ice flakes"...

TRENDWATCH: Sugar Cane Juice

You can tell when a vendor has had some success at one of the many food expos during the year. It looks like sugar cane juicers hit it big. There are three major areas where I check for street food trends, Insa-dong, Myeong-dong, and Hongdae. I first saw this in...

TRENDWATCH: Schneeballen

These have been popping up in various places around Seoul. They originate from Rothenberg, Germany, one of my favorite places in Europe, but I had not seen them when I lived in Germany. It does look like they do have some copycats jumping on the trend, though. They...

Nosh of the Day: Poop Bread

Was giving an all-day private tour yesterday. One of the things we had was Insa-dong's Ddong Bbang ("Poop Bread"). It's a lot like IngeoBbang/BungeoBbang (the fish-shaped pastries). It's a pancake batter cooked in a mold and filled with red beans. Just shaped like a...

Ramyeon for One

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first post by guest contributor Jenna Collett 라면 for One  I have never seen Ms. Ahn eat alone. I’ve never seen her eat without sharing with the closest available mouth. On any given day I’d be handed a near constant stream of easy-to-share...

Recipe: Cilantro Kimchi

If you read most Korean food blogs, they will tell you that Koreans don’t eat coriander, aka cilantro. They’ll tell you straight to your face that cilantro and Korean cuisine have never crossed paths before.

As the Ask the Korean blog reported a couple of years ago:

“Korea has never grown cilantro, and cilantro is not a part of Korean cuisine. …

But Korean people’s cilantro-hate is nonetheless interesting, because it is a nice reflection of Korea’s insularity.”

Food Crime: VIPS’ British Promotion

VIPS (pronounced, um, vips) is Korea's version of Sizzler. It's a chain steakhouse run by CJ Foodville that has been around since 1997. When I first came to Korea in 2004, it and Outback were the only places to get steak, really. Back then Outback was even better. But...

A Day in King Crab Vegas

There are no casinos in Yeongdeok, but few other places rival the gaudy, hyperreal simulacra of the infamous city in the Nevada desert. Clinging to the buildings on Yeongdeok’s waterfront are giant crustaceans in bright orange armour. The town seems to exist only as a...

Noryangjin Food Stalls Threatened

Curtis File has written a story for Yonhap about the popular Noryangjin food stalls and the movement by restaurants and convenience stores to kick them out. This may sound familiar to you, as it's where we posted about the unique Poktanbap "Bomb Rice" (and recipe)....

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