Korea.Seoul.Alssam 알쌈 신 쭈꾸미

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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

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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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Japan.Kyoto.Sou

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Happy Birthday Singapore!!! and to celebrate this awesome occasion I decided to post on one of my favourite restaurants in Kyoto!

Before going to Kansai, we did our food research and read about this Must Try Teppanyaki place in Kyoto from Kyoto Foodie, Teppan Kappo Sou (鉄板割烹 爽). It is one of the best meals we had in Japan.

Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き) is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron solid griddle to cook food. The word teppanyaki is derived from teppan (鉄板), which means iron plate, and yaki (焼き), which means grilled, broiled or pan-fried. In Japan, teppanyaki refers to dishes cooked using an iron plate and are widely used to cook food in front of guests at restaurants. This is not to be confused with barbecue grill, which has a charcoal or gas flame and is made with an open grate design.

The best part about Teppanyaki is to watch the chef cook in front of you and thus, I taken dozens of photos of Chef Tsukada (included them below for your viewing pleasure). The foie gras (フォアグラ) they served is simply mind blasting and heart clogging. The fragrant is unrivaled and leaves a superb aftertaste which makes you crave for more.

Cooking foie gras

foie gras

The prawns (海老, えび, ebi) are super fresh and sweet and it is amazing to see how the chef nimbly peeled off the shell using his cooking utensils. I love the prawn head as it is so crispy and tasty.

Cooking Prawn

Prawn

Next we had the abalone (鮑, あわび, awabi) with kelp. It is only lightly pan fried on the iron plate and being cut so fast to preserve its taste and texture!

cooking abaloneSlicing abalone

abalone with kelp

And how can we not eat their Wagyu beef! Carefully selected and prepared by Chef Tsukada, the beef is so juicy and mouthwatering (especially when you watch him cook). Chef Tsukada also taught us an unique way to eat by putting some wasabi (freshky grated) and a piece of deep fried garlic on top of the beef cube (a lethal combination!).

Cooking wagyu beefCooking wagyu beef

wagyu beef with wasabi

After the beef, the duck (鴨, かも, kamo) tastes just normal. It is not that it isn’t nice but the “wow” factor is no way near the Wagyu beef (and I am not really a duck person).

Cooking duckSlicing duck

And we decided to finish off the meal with pork (豚肉, ぶたにく, butaniku) as we want to try all the meat (or almost) they served here (we are gluttons hahaha). The pork belly with onion is savory and chewy.

Cooking pork

Pork with onion

I would highly recommend this restaurant for all who wants a good tenppanyaki experience and You must eat their wagyu beef. Chef Tsukada has years of experience and is truly amazing to watch him cook. They have English menu and the manager is able to converse in English too.

chef Tsukadachef Tsukada

Website: www.teppankappou-sou.com

Location: Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Nawate-dori Shinbashi-agaru, Nishino-cho 216-2 Onishi Bldg II 1F (京都市東山区縄手取り新橋上る西之町216-2 大西ビルII 1階)

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Japan.Kyoto.Yamayoshi

It is hard to miss the crab (かに, 蟹) restaurants in Japan as they usually have a gigantic crab just in front of their store and this is how we chanced upon Yamayoshi (山よし) in Kyoto. They served crab cuisine and we had their set meal which includes so so many ways of eating crab.

The appetizer is the dish with the least crab in it (less the dessert of course) and accompany by a sake to “open” your appetite.

Appetizer

Next we had vinegar-ed crab, which is meant to be a simple dish. The egg of the crab really enhances the sweetness of the crab meat.

Vinegar Crab

Crab sashimi. I reckon it is the best way to taste the sweetness and juiciness of the crab.

Crab Sashimi

Grilled kani (crab) … the charcoal smell on the crab is mouth watering and I love the “crab brain” the most.

Grilled CrabGrilled Crab Brain

Crab paper pot with lots of vegetables and tofu

Crab paper pot

Chawanmushi with crab meat.

Crab Chawamushi

Crab baked with cheese, a really strong tasting dish and the cheese “overpower” the crab which I dun really enjoy

Crab with Cheese

Crab Saute, nothing special …

Crab Saute

crab tempura and the shell is soft (deep fried) enough to be eaten.

Crab Tempura

Crab shabu shabu. You swish the crab leg for a few seconds (I think about 8 times) and you are ready to fill your mouth with the sweetness of the crab!

Crab Shabu Shabu

crab sushi and soup to finish off the meal

Crab soup

and lastly, for the dessert we had the “so Japan” green tea ice cream which I must say is officially my favourite ice cream as it is not really sweet.

Green tea icecream

This is a restaurant which I would recommend to come at least once in your lifetime to try out the different ways of eating crab (Japanese style of course). They served mainly king crabs, which are huge and have rough, spiky legs, and snow crabs, which have very long, smooth legs and red in color (even before cooking), here.

Crab

Website: http://yamayoshi-group.com/english/index.htm

Location: 272, Temma-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 600-8024

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