Korea.Chuncheon.Dakgalbi

Dakgalbi StreetBeing close to Seoul (about 1 hour 30 mins by bus) makes Chuncheon a popular day trip destination. Other than their lakes, Chuncheon is also famous for their Dakgalbi (닭갈비), which is spicy stir-fried chicken with vegetables.

Dakgalbi Geori (Gakgalbi street) in Chuncheon is a famous food street where more than 20 restaurants serve up delicious dakgalbi. As with most korean food, you need at least two people to share this fabulous dish. All the ingredients (spicy marinated chicken with tons of vegetables and herbs, sweet potato and rice cake) will be stirred fried in front of you in a hot plate, which is pretty cool (though the smell will stay with you for a while). You can even order Dakgalbi with cheese, mushroom, pork ribs or chicken innards but we ordered the recommended boneless one.

Stir fried on hot plate

Dakgalbi

Best eaten wrapped in lettuce and together with Beer and Soju hahahaEat with lettuce and kim chi

Best with Beer and SojuLastly, you finished off with rice or noodles to mop up the leftover sauce after they scrapped off the burned food and residue.

Scrapping away the burned food and residue Stir fried rice into the Dakgalbi Stir fried rice into the Dakgalbi

Location: Joyang-dong, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do 200-070, South Korea 강원 춘천시 조양동

Website: http://tour.chuncheon.go.kr/

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Korea.Seoul.서울본가

Heard about the raw crab dish (Ganjang Gejang, 간장게장) from korea and ask my korean friend about it. He introduced this place and only gave me the korean name of the restaurant. His direction to the place was pretty simple as well, take the subway, exit at Janghanpyeong station and get out of exit 2. Then walk straight all the way and you will find the place. It took us almost 2 hours to find it ;( and I must say it is plain determination that we manage to find the place. I have included a Google map screenshot below to help you find the place.

Map

Gejang originally referred only to fresh raw crabs marinated in soy sauce (ganjang), it has begun to be called “ganjang gejang” (간장게장) these days to differentiate it from yangnyeom gejang (양념게장), crab marinated in chili pepper powder.

The restaurant is actually a korean bbq place which also serves ganjang gejang. They have take away for the crabs too. It was packed when we reached around 2pm. People don’t seem to be working on this weekday as most of them are already drinking soju.

BBQ beef over Charcoal

The beef was nice and tender barbecued over the charcoal. The “ajumma” serving us make sure the beef is slightly charred to give that extra aroma. I love it. Wrapping it with their pickled cabbage (white version) and pickled carrot makes it less meaty.

Beef with Kimchi

Next comes the Ganjang Gejang. It is heavenly sweet with the lots of roe. You can taste a slight tinge of saltness from the soy sauce and spicyness from the green chili. I must say it is totally a new experience for me :). But it is quite expensive. One small crab (as in the picture) costs about SGD50 but I must say it is worth every dollar spent hahaha

Ganjang Gejang Ganjang Gejang with rice

If you find the place abit too far off, you can try the Sinsa-dong’s Ganjang Gejang Alley. See visitseoul.net for more information.

Warning: It is reported that you can get parasitic infection from eating raw or undercooked crabs and crayfish. For the adventurous…

Shop front

Location: 94-41 Jangan-dong Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul (+82 2-2215-8585)

Website: www.서울본가.com

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Korea.Seoul.Alssam 알쌈 신 쭈꾸미

It’s official… I love korean food and it all started with the korean dramas. When we were assaulted by the flood of korean dramas, its food culture also slowly creeps up on us just like what the japanese drama/ shows did years back.

In my humble opinion, korean cuisine is robust; communal (in very big portions and meant for sharing); and accompany by the many side dishes (반찬, banchan) which we now find familiar in Singapore. The world famous Kimchi (김치) is served often, sometimes at every meal. Commonly used ingredients in korean cuisine include sesame oil, doenjang (된장, fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and gochujang (고추장, fermented red chili paste).

My third time to Seoul, I brought along 2 friends to show them the korean cuisine I love. First stop after checking in into our hostel will have to be their beer place (before our dinner). In Korea, their bar or pub are shops with the “Hof” signs and there are tons of them around. One thing to note is that Korean like to drink with some food, snacks or fruits. This place we chose is an octopus place (알쌈 신 쭈꾸미) which has quite a few outlets in Seoul.

Shop Front

Once seated, the side dishes (반찬, banchan) are served (are self help) which I must say they are quite good. It is marinated eggplant and mushrooms which we took countless servings (until we are quite embarrassed about it)

Side dish

We ordered their specialty stir-fried Octopus (낙지볶음) to go with our jug of beer (my apologies as I was busy drinking the beer, I forgot about taking a photo of it). The octopus is chewy and spicy and comes with cold noodle (for the extra carbo). As you can see, most of their food is mixed with a generous amount of red chili paste (gochujang) to give it a nice colour and spicy taste.

Octopus

I actually preferred their spicy freshwater snails (달팽이). It is more like a salad as it is cold and mixed with lots of vegetables like cucumber, carrot, onion and sesame seeds. Spicy, crunchy and chewy that goes extremely well with the ice cold beer.

 

Snail Salad

A nice place to have a beer (the beer is cheap when compare to Singapore, but then most places in the world serves cheaper beer) and catch up with friends (the place is packed!). They have english menu so it is a breeze to order.

Location: Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, 34 (서울특별시 중구 회현동 34)

Website: http://ptss.easyi.co.kr

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Japan.Kyoto.Chiran

I love Korean Barbecue and after days of Japanese food, we went to eat korean food in Japan (alot of people will “huh?”…) but it turns out to be one of the best korean bbq I have in my life, totally enjoy it :)

Chiran (芝蘭) is a small, Korean-Japanese family operated restaurant (it is super packed when we went) that serves fine Japanese beef-Korean style, as well as a variety of Korean homestyle dishes.

We started with Mizu kimchi (literally, ‘water kimichi’ 水キムチ), which is daikon radish seasoned with vinegar and chili (at the back with a red chili). It is intended to be eaten/drunk at the beginning of the meal. The namul (general term for a Korean seasoned vegetable dish) here (in the front) is daikon and mizuna (a popular kyoyasai green) flavored with vinegar and (on the right behind) bean sprouts flavored with sesame oil. And of course, on the left is the Makgeolli (マッコリ), a Korean unfiltered rice wine, which is so much lower in calories than Soju.

Appetizer with Makgeolli

Raw beef w egg york (ユッケ, Yukke) is a Korean dish that is now very popular with Japanese as it requires the freshest and high quality ingredients to prepare. The egg york really brings out the taste of the raw beef. Yummy

Raw Beef with Egg

Raw Beef with Egg

After the raw food, we proceeded with the “main course” – the bbq (or yakiniku in Japan). We had a delightful time trying to tell the waiter which type and part of the meat we want as we can’t read or speak Japanese. Eventually with alot of drawing and gestures, we started off with beef tongue (タン), which has a chewy texture and we manage to bbq it until it is crispy on the outside. It is meant to be eaten with a dash of lemon.

Beef tongue

BBQ Tongue

And of course some wagyu karubi (和牛カルビ, Japanese beef short rib), tender and juicy.

Prime Wagyu Karubi

BBQ Karubi

My favourite part of the pig is actually its jowl (豚の顎). Look at the marbling fats. It has a slight “crunchy” texture and accompany with the fragrance from the fats … heavenly.

Pork Jowl

BBQ Jowl

The next dish is not something all will enjoy but I love it. Introducing (drum roll) bbq pig intestine (腸). The chewy texture is simply superb and the seasoning is just nice.

Pig Intestine

BBQ Intestine

After the meats, we had Reimen (冷麺, korean style cold buckwheat noodle), which is a popular summer noodle dish in both Korea and Japan. The noodles are very firm and chewy, pleasantly rubbery. Warning: this dish is very spicy!

Cold Noodle

Lastly we had the oxtail soup (テールスープ, teru supu), which is very light on taste and is a very good closure for this fantastic meal.

Ox tail soup

Chiran is a homely restaurant which is a Must Try in Kyoto as it marries Japanese beef with Korean style cooking (even though it is not easy to find, at least for me). This post also motivated me to start blogging on all the fantastic food I found in Korea :) Stay tune for them.

Website: http://www.chi-ran.co.jp/

Location: 54-3 Murasakino Shimotsukiyamacho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu (京都府京都市北区紫野下築山町54-3)

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