"Where to go?" and "What to eat?" must be hard questions that people wonder the most while travelling. To continue the previous parts of 'Seoul Attractions', I will give you my list of recommendations for Korean food you should have in Seoul. These are dishes that I had when I was in Seoul. Trust that all of it is authentic and quality ones, since I didn't follow any travel blogger, but natives.
If need to describe Korean cuisine with some words, it will be "rich" and "plentiful". There are so many courses and many more flavors.
1.Grilled pork belly - Samgyeopsal
I can say that this dish is the most popular and typical dish in Korea when hang out and gathering with friends. It was also a dish that I had the most, about 4 times in just 2 weeks in Korea. Samgyeopsal restaurants are always crowded with diners, especially in the winter or rainny days. I love it and really get addicted.
As I know, there are two styles of Samgyeopsal: thick meat, less vegi and slight meat but tons of vegetable. I tried both.
The first one is mainly for young people, who hate to eat vegi. the thick and big piece of meat will be grilled on the broiler until it turns to honey brown color, then they will use a scissor to cut it into bite-size and continue grilling until it done. The Korean high quality pork belly doesn't need to be seasoned with any thing but still great. To have more flavor, you can eat with Korean pastes such as samjang or gochujang. Simple and original Korean taste.
The second one is preferred by older people. The fact that I tried it with my friend's parent. The pork belly is cut into very thin slices and it doesn't take long time to grill. put it in hot broiler, turn it over, then you can eat right away. The special thing is there are so many kinds of vegi and panchan (side dishes) to serve with samgyeopsal. It is around 10 kinds of vegi. And the thing that is even more surprised is Korean people they can add all kind of vegi including meat for just one bite. lol. Big big mouth. I was really shocked and also tried the same way but totally fail. My mouth isn't designed for such big bite.
It's better to eat samgyeopsal while drinking some cups of soju or rice liquor with your friends. If you travel Korea, this dish cant be missed.
2. Stewed chicken - Dakdoritang or Dakbokkeumtang
When I was touring around a shopping mall in Seoul with my friend's mom, she took me in a food court with so many restaurants. And we decided to eat Dakbokkeumtang. In the day of late spring, it was really good to have something hot. sweet and spicy like that.
This dish is a combination of chicken (mainly using chicken leg and wing part), carrot, potato, onion, noodles,... It feels a bit familiar with Western ingredients but it is cooked with different seasonings and different way. Everything is marinated well and stewed for hours until everything become really soft and savory, have a good balance between spicy and sweet. Normally it is served with hot rice soup and kimchi. I love to eat the noodles deep in that sauce, pick a chicken wing and feel the Korean taste.
Don't remember the price since I didn't pay ^^
3.Black noodles - Jajangmyeon
Actually this one is originally from China but adopted and becomes well-known when appearing frequently in Korean dramas and TV shows, so a lot of people absolutely think that it is a Korean dish.
The noodles is cooked with onion, chopped pork, "chunjang"- Korean black bean paste which is main ingredient of black noodles, added some toppings such as sesame, cucumber, ... Mix it up and taste the flavor of "chunjang" sauce. It especially gets more delicious when eating with yellow radish kimchi. The sour taste of radish kimchi washes out your mouth and avoided the feeling of oily stuff.
Normally, black noodles is better to be served with the tangsuyuk - sweet and sour beef of pork. It is covered by flour or sometimes rice powder (special version) and fried deeply. The cover made from rice powder is really chewy and a bit sticky while the one from flour is quite crunchy and crispy.
It is a kind of an unwritten rule that black noodles and tangsuyuk need to be served together. If not, your experience of having black noodles can't be perfect.
Black noodles: ~$12 KRW
Tangsuyuk (big dish for 3 people): ~25KRW
To be continued...