Part of the reason that I was excited for my Korean adventure was to sample authentic and yummy Korean food. I have always enjoyed eating Korean food here in Manila and couldn’t wait to hit the restaurants in Seoul.
I will not make reviews on each restaurant but instead will focus more on the food itself. In Seoul, we sampled many types of food, from restaurants to street food and was treated to delightful dishes.
Let me start off with the restaurants.
In Korea, there are ample restaurants lining the streets where you can sample dishes and authentic Korean cuisine.
In Korea restaurants, before every meal, plates of appetizers are put down in front of you for free. These can be eaten before the meal or with the meal. The appetizers, we also noticed, vary from dishes ordered.Some appetizers include kimchi (spicy cabbage dish), bean sprouts, tofu, seasoned vegetables, and melon slices.
One of my favorite dishes is the bibimbap, a mixed rice topping dish placed in a stone pot. And I couldn’t get enough of this dish! On top of the rice are ground meat, vegetables and an egg. You mix them together to make it sort of like fried rice. You have the option to put their spicy bean paste to give it a spicy kick.
Soups and Stews
Korean people also love their soups and stews. These hot dishes make perfect companions for the cold weather. We also sampled some of their famous stews.
This dish was a winner 🙂 We ordered this at a restaurant in Bokchon Hanok Village and it was spicy and bursting with flavor from the meat, spices and vegetables. It was also cooked in a portable electric range to keep warm.
This hearty soup kept us warm during our rainy last day. Its different from the Korean beef stew as this was more of a soup. The meat had no bones and it had vermicelli noodles in it.
This hearty dish is already a complete meal on its own. The chicken is boiled in a soup base and packed with rice. The one we ate was flavorful and cooked just right. You may opt to dip in a salt and white pepper mixture for added flavor.
The best food in Korea is always their barbeque. Pieces of sliced meat are cooked in front of you in a portable stove with hot coals. Once the meat is cooked, you wrap them in lettuce leaves and dipped in sauces – their spicy bean sauce and an oil, salt and pepper mixture for flavor.
Aside from restaurants we also tried a variety of street food being sold in stalls around busy areas such as Myeong-dong, Insa-dong, Ehwa Women’s University and in Nami Island.
With its busy lifestyle, Korea is also home to fast food chains specializing in burgers. They have the usual McDonald’s but in Korea, Lotteria takes the lead. Their specialty? Bulgogi burgers – a burger topped with bulgogi sauce, a sweet meat sauce that brings a different twist to your regular burger.
As much as I enjoyed my Korean food trip, there are some tips to be remembered:
- Please take note in Korea, some restaurants require you to order per person. Some of you may not understand why I am bringing this up, but in the Philippines, you are allowed to order family style for sharing. Like if we are three people, we usually order 2 dishes to share. But in the Korean restaurant where we regularly eat, we each have to get one order each. The language barrier also doesn’t help for us to explain why we want only want to order two dishes.
- Tips are not necessary in restaurants.
- Read carefully as you may end up with food good for a family of six when you’re only three. That was one of our mistakes in one restaurants. But then again, their menu is mostly in Korean and just have pictures and a one liner English translation.
- Food is relatively cheap – ranging from 1000 to 3000 won for street food, 5000-7000 for coffee shops and fast food and 10000 to 3000 for restaurants.