Happy New Year! I hope you had a good one. We sat in front of the telly watching the SBS drama awards with a bottle of wine, eating prawns cooked in wine (I like wine). Then I went to bed at 12:05 am! I think this makes me officially OLD!
One of my New Year Resolutions for 2015 is to research as many kimbap shops as I can in Seoul to find my favourite kimbap! (That resolution shouldn’t be hard to keep. It’s best to keep things simple and achievable, isn’t it? The place to beat so far is Teacher Kim with their fresh vegetable kimbaps.
This week my quest led me to the chain School Food. I’ve wanted to try this place for a while since one of my mature students told me that it was the best kimbap in town. And she recommended the squid ink kimbap (the rice becomes almost black from the squid ink). So with expectations high, and feeling fairly hungry despite having just polished off a bag of real cheese popcorn at the CGV cinema next door, we went to the IFC mall Yeouido branch of School Food. But unfortunately their food is not for me Continue reading “The Best Kimbap Shop in Seoul? School Food” »
I’ve mentioned before how I like the kimbap shop Kim Ga Ne (I recommend the spicy anchovy and chilli kimbap). But recently I tried Teacher Kim’s kimbap (김선생) and oh, this kimbap is so good….
It was 5pm and I wasn’t really hungry as I had had a late lunch. But I was walking past the Kim Seon Saeng shop, and it looked very inviting so I though I might as well get a couple of kimbap and SAVE THEM FOR LATER. But when I got home, I opened the box JUST TO TRY ONE SLICE and ended up eating EVERY BIT OF KIMBAP IN THE BOX. I usually go for something spicy, but this time I tried the basic vegetable kimbap. (2,900 won) It has less rice and more crunchy vegetables than usual, so the texture is light and fresh. The vegetables are finely sliced rather than chunky which I really liked too. Divine. 김선생 Kim seon saeng are here on Facebook.
Continue reading “The best kimbap shop in Seoul? Teacher Kim (Kim Seon Saeng 김선생)” »
This weekend was the 2014 Korea Food Week at the COEX convention centre. But, looking through my photos it appears that my biggest area of interest of the day was the alcohol zone. What a surprise. The drinks festival included the winning entries from the 2014 Korean Liquor competition. And it introduced visitors to the Grand Masters of the traditional craft of rice wine and liquor making.
Alcohol production in Korea is very extreme. On the one hand are the companies producing HUGE amounts of cheap soju that are available EVERYWHERE in the region and which everybody drinks. Then on the other hand are the exclusive boutique style producers who can only make small batches of their product to sell very locally. Continue reading “Korean Liquor Competition Winners at COEX Food Week 2014” »
Well, Kognamul gukbap soybean sprout soup with rice is said to be the best food to cure a hangover. The soybean sprouts (not mung beans which are thinner) contain lots of vitamin C and amino acids which apparently break down the alcohol. I always feel better after a bowl of kongnamul guk so it must work! Continue reading “What is the best breakfast to cure a hangover in Korea?” »
Having seen some rave reviews about the restaurant Congdu, specialising in Korean dishes with a modern twist, I booked a table there last weekend since I’m always on the hunt for restaurants that do great Korean food in a creative way.
Congdu is located behind Deoksugung Palace in a quiet atmospheric part of Seoul. And the restaurant has a calm and sophisticated feel too with candles and a minimalistic style in a natural toned colour scheme. The subtle dim lit restaurant was already half full with customers chatting in hushed voices when we arrived at 6pm and our expectations were high. There was a large a la carte menu to choose from with 3 set courses starting with the green menu at (I think it was) 58,000 won. We chose this menu. HOWEVER, the restaurant just didn’t live up to my expectations. Continue reading “Congdu Korean Restaurant Review” »
What could be better on a hot afternoon than a bowl of green tea pingsu – green tea flavoured shaved ice, sweet aduki bean paste, and rice cakes?
It’s still pretty hot – 27 degrees today – even though we are supposed to be in autumn. So we went to a cafe that specialises in pingsu to enjoy the cold dessert before the weather gets cold. Although it still feels hotter than a British summer, I know that winter will be here soon so this could be my last pingsu of the year!
The plastic display in the window of the cafe (below) presents what seem to be the two signature desserts of the cafe: green tea pingsu and original pingsu (served with condensed milk). The three bowls underneath are filled with raw aduki beans.
There are all kinds of bingsu available these days. Some are served with ice cream and fruit and cream and look like a fruit sundae. Anything can be added really – chocolate chips, marsh mallows … the list is endless.
Pingsu type desserts – shaved ice with fruit – have been available since the Joseon period (1392-1910). (Japanese kakigori is a very similar dessert.) Our pingsu was served in a traditional brass dish which made it feel more authentic.
We also ordered a kind of 떡 deok rice cake dessert which we were warned would take ’8 minutes’ to prepare. (the time given was very specific but I didn’t check if it actually did take exactly 8 minutes) Anyway, we agreed to wait the 8 minutes and were served this warm rice cake called injeolmi 인절미 made from glutinous rice and coated in bean flour topped with pin nuts, walnuts, almonds, jujube, and aduki. As always the dessert for two came on one plate with two forks. The warm and soft chewy rice was comforting and the toasted nuts on top gave a festive touch. Made me think it will soon be time to get the Christmas tree out!
Shin Ramyun or Marmite? Which do you prefer for breakfast?
I was back in England over the summer holiday visiting my family. Over the years we’ve got a lot more adventurous with cooking. In the 70s and 80s we stuck to Scandinavian and British food. But these days the cupboards are filled with an assortment of ingredients from all over the world. And when I’m home we often make a Korean meal for dinner. But whilst exotic or spicy food is perfectly acceptable for dinner, BREAKFAST in our house HAS NOT CHANGED over the years. And I don’t think it ever will. There are some things in life that are so taken for granted, so obvious and natural, that we don’t even think about them. And when I was growing up the idea that cereal, toast with marmalade or Marmite, and bacon and eggs (on special occasions) were the only foods that any sane person should be eating for breakfast were, in my mind, FACTS. You can’t beat a thin (and I mean thin) layer of Marmite spread over a warm, buttery slice of toast.
But something must have changed. Because these days I sometimes wake up yearning for a bigger kick start to the day. I want something spicy. I want a packet of… yes, this is true… Shin Ramyun. Continue reading “Is it OK to eat 라면 Ramyun for Breakfast?” »