The Gam Wine Tunnel was an unexpected adventure my friend Phil and I took. You can find my review of the main attraction, the wine, here. One of the best parts of the wine tunnel was actually the dark recess past the food and drinks where they have set up a gallery for Korean and Chinese artists. But, first, let me get this out of the way.
After a weekend trip to Decadentville via Ryunique, I decided I better eat cheap last week and had one of these little scrumptious babies nearly every day. They are so good, you all, and it has been a long journey to tofu meals for me. I used to vehemently hate tofu, even after coming to Korea. I didn’t appreciate the texture, I would compare it to the fatty part of a chicken, and hated when people told me it could, “taste like whatever you cook it with.” Umm…gross.
First of all, don’t I feel an ass titling this A Review considering this restaurant was chosen as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world by Diner’s Club Academy. But, I’m only giving it that title for continuity to all the other restaurants I’ve tried in Korea and on this blog. I won’t pretend to know more about food than the experts of Diner’s Club so I’m really just going to share my experience with you! It was a haute cuisine themed blast and I couldn’t wait for each new course. That’s the sign of something special in a restaurant. It was like being on a food playground!
After walking around Insadong galleries and building up a monstrous appetite (doesn’t take much), I convinced Phil we needed to try a back alley, old school, touristy Korean restaurant. I’ve wanted to try one for so long and I did have to push a bit because Phil has Korean food everyday. But, I really don’t so I was desperate for some. Aaaand….I’m pretty pushy. Back alley restaurant it was!
I know, I know. For every beautiful piece of art in a gallery in Insadong, there is also a thousand tourists all hankering for deals on cheap, traditional looking Korean goods to fight through on your way to the art. I feel your pain, really…but if it is any consolation, and I hope that it is, the galleries have almost no people to fight through compared to the little shops along the way. It’s a complete and total shame for the tourists that they miss out on all the artwork …but …their loss is most certainly my gain. So for those of us who live, work and breathe in Seoul far longer than the tourists, I do highly suggest going to Insadong because the art scene is still alive and gorgeous. Last weekend I had a fantastic time in two galleries.
Kimchi nachos are a thing and they are really dynamite. KA-BOOM. The totally cook a rific thing about these is that you can dress them up just like any other nachos: to your preference. Mine were vegetarian but you can add meat or your own cheese. One thing you do want to do, however, when heating the ingredients up all together, is do use an oven, not a microwave. I’m not quite sure how good kimchi would be in the microwave and what on earth it would smell like afterwards. (Your microwave, I mean.) Plus, it gives the chips a bit more crisp, rather than sogginess.
Another weekend, another reason to go all out. That’s a saying, right? Phil decided that we must try Jungsik again for two reasons. 1. It has moved locations from a cozy little place to a three level mega-restaurant. 2. It’s a different season than our last time there so there would be an entirely new menu. Jungsik Dang is owned and operated by Chef Yim Jungsik and its often rated as one of the best restaurants in Korea. I admit it is the finest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in and I feel infinitely fortunate that I’ve had the pleasure twice.
I have sung the high praises of dakgalbi before here. I absolutely love this meal, as do many of my co-expats here in Korea. I upped the game on this one, as you do, with a bit of cooling avocado and crunchy pumpkin seeds to pair with the spicy love of the dakgalbi sauce. The only change I would make is this: In the restaurant you start eating the meal (its cooked in front of you on the table) as soon as the chicken is ready. That way, the chicken is perfect and it allows the veggies to continue to cook to softness. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of that and should have adjusted for the time it takes to cook the veggies. I’m going to change the directions just a bit from how I cooked it so that your chicken and vegetables will be cooked well. Ingredients for two: 3 chicken breasts, cut to bite sized pieces 2 tbsp soju (or refined rice wine) 1/4 tsp ginger powder pepper to taste 1/2 onion 1 small …
Last week we celebrated Hangeul Day in Korea. Hangeul is the written Korean language, the alphabet. It was created by a Joseon era king, King Sejong. He is rightly admired to this day as a king for the people, a renaissance man, and an all around decent guy. So, to celebrate the upcoming day off of work, I visited the museum dedicated to telling his story. To foreigners, creating Hangeul is probably what King Sejong is best known for. Before that time, Koreans used Chinese characters to write the Korean language. It didn’t always work and, of course, only the rich folks knew how to read it. Sejong realized that everyday people needed the opportunity to read and write so he created a phonetic language that made sense and was easy to teach. Thus, the creation of Hangeul. Sejong, however, did many things to help his country. As much as royalty is a disgusting concept, you have to admire him, this was one guy who tried to do right by his countrymen and women. You can …
I brought home some Jeju mandarin orange Makgeolli from my vacation and knew I wanted to share it with my fellow foodie friend Phil. (Woah, so many “f” sounds…) Makgeolli is not something I normally drink and I have rarely found one I liked. It’s a Korean rice wine, originally considered a farmer’s drink, made from mixing the rice with a fermentation starter. It has a milky color and sometimes has the taste of licking an Asian grocery store floor. Seriously. Sometimes its really bad. But, I went ahead and bought this one after the clerk in Jeju said it was very delicious. Traditionally with makgeolli you eat a Korean pancake called pajeon. Jeon means pancake. I wanted to make it, not buy it, but I cheated a bit. I used a premade mix from the store and only had to add water and the vegetables. I feel like I looked off my friend’s math test and only got a C grade…the mix wasn’t that great and it was so puffy for some reason. Next time …