What really astounds me is how many food places there are in Korea; it is just a mecca for every sort of food imaginable! Everywhere I turn there is food Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, American.
I have realised that I am really a bit of a chicken when it comes to trying new food especially if I am on my own. I just cannot take the chance that I will end up eating red meat or lamb. However, if I can safely eat something knowing that it is chicken, fish or vegetarian then I will give anything a try.
I promised one of the gals from Twitter a blog about food.
To be honest I have not really had that much traditional Korean food.
Monday was Japanese chicken noodle soup for lunch and the BBQ Party in the evening (which had some traditional fare)
Tuesday I got to try Bibimbap which is rice topped with vegetables, Korean chili paste and a raw egg and it’s all served in a very hot stone (?) bowl which keeps cooking your food. In the evening we went to a Burger place serving very beautiful 100% beef American Style Burgers
Wednesday saw the girls and I having Vietnamese and I ended up with Pad Thai and Kimchi (various pickled vegetables) and I left dinner until very late and ended up having fried chicken with potato chips. I also had a potato curly thing on a stick in Myeong-Dong Street; which is the same as the potato we get at the night markets in Auckland (1)
Thursday we had Italian which consisted of a Panini for me and Pasta and a grilled sandwich etc. for the others. On Thursday night I realised that I could have drinks and food on the executive floor; I have never eaten so much smoked salmon in one week
Friday we had pizza and chicken salad and I ate at the hotel as I was completely knackered!
Saturday brought with it a massive food extravaganza and it is really hard to know just where to start! Lunch was at a beautiful Italian restaurant just down the road from my hotel; I think it was Villa Ottimo. I had deep fried mozzarella ravioli in a tomato based sauce (3) and we shared a chicken salad (4). Nayoung had porcini in a cream sauce with flat pasta.
We then caught a taxi to Insa-Dong Street (more about that in another blog) and we saw these amazing things hanging from a shop (5); they are filled with fresh soft serve ice cream – a sweet treat. We then walked up to a rice cupcake shop (6) and I got to try Patbingsu (7) which is a traditional Korean shaved ice dessert. It is shaved frozen milk, sweet red beans, dried bean powder (?) and then a rice cake on top. It was amazing and something beautiful to share. When walking through Insa-Dong there are some lovely, entertaining guys who make a traditional Korean sweet (8); it is honey and nuts. It is like spun thread….best to watch the video. For dinner we had Chinese (9).
What I have realised while being here is that food is something to be shared and it is such a social thing. You share your main meals with one another and also your side dishes.
I still have a few days left here and hopefully I am brave enough to try some more traditional dishes. In my hotel I have a guide to Korean eating and there is a step-by-step guide for beginners, intermediate, advanced and veteran. The ironic thing is, is that the food that I really want to try is temple food (100% vegetarian) and that’s under advanced!
Today while walking around Myeong-Dong and the surrounding areas I saw many food stalls with all sorts of Korean delights. The one that I really did not want to try were some sort of bugs…they did not smell appealing at all!
Also, iced coffee is really popular here. I think that the Korean people prefer the Americano or Expresso with extra water so it is not too strong. The other day I paid $10NZD for a coffee; gutted!
Bring on the next food experience!
P.S. I do make a real effort to try all the sides that come with our meals including green beans and chilli, radish, cabbage etc.