Korea.Seoul.Noryangjin

Bridge to MarketI think Noryangjin is really too touristy for me. There are tons and tons of “China” tourists visiting this market everyday and you can feel it when most of the shopkeepers tried to speak to you in Mandarin.

To be fair, there are lots of Korean coming here to get fresh seafood too. From the subway (Noryangjin station) you just crossed an overhead bridge to get to the seafood market. Interestingly, there are people selling vegetables on the bridge.

If this is your first time in a seafood market, you will be wow-ed as it is one of Korea’s biggest seafood market selling more than 800 types of seafood.

Noryangjin MarketThe variety of seafood here is insane and there are so many types of seafood you never get to see in Singapore. I think it is really an eye-opener to walk around just to see what type of seafood they have here.

Lots of seafoodSashimi tooHere you can buy the live seafood you want in the market stores and bring them to the restaurants (in the market as well) to ask them to cook for you. They charge a nominal fee  (around SGD20 – 30) for the cooking (steamed, fried, etc) and using their place. They do not charge for those seafood served raw. You can get sashimi straight from the stores too. You choose the fish and they will slice it up for you. Or you can buy ready-prepared ones. Comparing with Japanese sashimi, I think due to the way they cut the fish, Korean sashimi are usually tougher and more chewy. Korean tend to eat them with chill paste even though most places provide wasabi.

We bought some sea cucumber, baby octopus (free from the kind lady boss), abalone and king crab and proceeded down to a restaurant at the basement (cannot recall the name). We were pretty disappointed that we can’t find any no sea urchin (which is best eaten raw) as live raw urchin is so creamy and sweet.

Raw Baby Octopus and Sea CucumberWe did not dare to eat the baby octopus whole as shown in so many Youtube videos (we are worried that we will be choked to death) and here is one interesting video. So we ask the restaurant to chop the octopus into small pieces and ate with wasabi. The sensation of eating the octopus is pretty interesting as the tentacles will stick to your mouth and tongue. It is very chewy and takes quite a while to properly chew it.

King CrabKing CrabKing Crab with RiceWe are pretty disappointed with the king crab though :(. The restaurant steamed it for too long and the meat becomes too hard. Even though the meat is very sweet and the juice in the body goes so well with the rice.

Will i go back again? I do not think so as I rather go to Sokcho for king crab (will post this some time soon) even though it is out of Seoul.

Location: 688, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 동작구 노들로 688 (노량진동)

Website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SH/SH_EN_7_2.jsp?cid=1025329 or http://www.susansijang.co.kr/index/index.do (Korean only)

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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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