Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seoul Food

Lunch at Arirang Folk Restaurant

Any visit to Seoul easily turns into a food trip. 

As soon as we checked into our hotel at the Seoul Plaza, we were prowling the streets checking out the various restaurants in the neighborhood. And as it happened, we chose Arirang Restaurant for our first meal in Seoul. That was a great pick because we had a very good lunch at Arirang. I ordered the Korean style seafood pancake and it looked and tasted like it spent just the right amount of time in the pan. My brother cleaned up his bibimbap hot pot. The japchae was a rich mix of sweet potato noodles, stir fried vegetables and shredded beef. The black cod boiled down in soy sauce was the amazing reveal.  It was both flavorful and moist. It was the very first time in my life that I really appreciated cod. And the service was commendable.

Address: 23, Namdaemun-ro 7-gil, Jung-gu (behind the Westin Chosun Hotel)

Bibimbap
My favorite dish is bibimbap but I couldn't find bibimbap with chicken anywhere we went in Seoul. I wonder if this is just served in the U.S.? Most bibimbap dishes in Seoul are served with beef. I finally ordered one with beef and asked the waiter to tell the kitchen to hold off on the beef. It worked out! 

Directions to restaurant
Unfortunately, I dont have the English name of the restaurant. It's on the second floor of the building next to the Lotte Young Plaza and above a 7-eleven convenience store.

It's standard fare to be served ban chan when eating at a Korean restaurant. Sometimes there are two small dishes or five as we had at Arirang. Kimchi is a staple ban chan dish. There is usually a box of stainless steel chopsticks on the table. I just had to buy my own set of ss chopsticks for home. Such useful souvenirs!

Samgyetang
Samgyetang is ginseng chicken soup. We ordered this on a hot summer's day at a restaurant inside a hanok house in Jongno-gu. The soup was served in a hot pot with a whole boiled chicken. It was a lot to eat for one person but since we had been walking around Gyeongbuk Palace and Bukchon village all afternoon, we did justice to the big serving. I learned later from watching Maangchi on YouTube make samgyetang that ginseng energizes you. And I read somewhere that if you want to cool down, you need to drink hot tea. So eating hot soup must have the same effect. In fact, Koreans believe that you fight fire with fire or yi yeol, chi yeol and consequently, they eat samgyetang on the hottest summer days. 

Make your own samgyetang: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/samgyetang

Shinsegae Food Hall
The Shinsegae Market Hall (in the Shinsegae Department Store) is a very busy place. I couldn't find a free table at any of its many restaurants. So I walked around in circles checking out its various departments. There's a bakery, cheese and deli, candy, tea and wine sections and a gourmet market along with its upscale restaurants. It's really a food destination on its own.


Food Stall in Myeong-dong 

Myeong-dong has an incredible array of street fare. Besides hot dogs, I spied noodle stalls, bulgogi, fried prawns on a stick, fruits, egg buns, gimbak(looks like sushi), mochi, and chocolate covered strawberries. There's something here for every hungry belly. 


Food for thought from Arirang Restaurant: "We cook in traditional ways, keeping the Korean tradition of regarding food as medicine in mind and serve with our whole heart as if we provided our elders with food."

Jal meokkesseumnida! Bon appetit.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie

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