My not so recent trip to Seoul update

My not so recent trip to Seoul update

I wonder how the year has passed by right in front of my eyes so quickly. 2013 has been filled with mostly happy memories. My husband and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary, 10 years since we first met and our first complete year in Bangkok. I am still traveling back to Singapore whenever I can to conduct group classes and private events. Hopefully, there are  lots of interesting adventures in store for us 2014.

 

A late update of my not so recent trip to Seoul….

If you are planning a trip to Korea, I think Autumn is the best time to travel. I was almost shocked  at how clear the sky was and how refreshing the air was.  You could mistake this picture with a postcard. No photoshop, a quick snap of Seoul with my iphone from the subway.

 

view from the train

 

I like trying new dishes whenever I visit Seoul. Italian cuisine is the latest trend in Korea. It’s not quite my scene as I always look forward to authentic Korean food whenever I am there. Oh well, I can’t try Italian food in Korea, can I, so I resisted and stuck to me beloved Korean food!!

First stop, Gwangjang market for some authentic street food! This time I thought I will be a little more adventurous…

I have tried Chicken feet before and the sight of it has never convinced me to try it again but these ones at the market were rather delicious – especially washed down with a nice cold rice wine.

chicken feet

 

rice wine

 

Pork three ways – Pork belly, blood sausage and pigs ear. We used to feed  dried pig’s ear to our pet dog, but now it is a delicacy! How can I describe it… chewy??  At least I can proudly say I have tried them for the first time.

 

Pork three ways

 

Next, freshly made mung bean pancake.  There were so many stalls cooking mung bean pancakes but they all seemed to be deep frying. We finally found one that used a fry pan. Between three people, we could barely finish half of the pancake. Doggy bag!  The chilli rice cake thought was a little disappointing and quite tasteless… I think I can make this better!!

 

mung bean pancake

 

chilli rice cake

 

On the second last day of my trip to Seoul, one of my relatives invited me to a neighbourhood restaurant that specialises in oysters. I have always considered oysters as potentially dangerous if you don’t eat them fresh. I have had friends get very ill eating oysters in Asia, so I normally only eat them when I go back to Australia.

Apparently oysters are in season from October in Korea. This particular restaurant specialises in Octopus most of the year but from October they only sell oysters.

To start with we had oysters steamed…  After it was steamed for 15 minute or so, we were given gloves and knives to shuck our own oysters. Each oyster was as big as my hand and so sweet!

oysters steamed 1

 

In addition to the steamed oysters, we had a big plate of fresh oysters to wrap with pork belly. I was speechless. It was just amazing. The saltiness of oysters married with boiled pork belly wrapped with chilli radish in Chinese cabbage leaves was just heavenly.

 

oysters2

 

To finish off, we had oyster pancake. I was so full already but I was on a mission to stuff down as much as I can. I wasn’t sure when I was going to have this much oysters in one go again!! What was most surprising was the total bill  was only S$100 including alcohol. What a bargain!!

 

For my last night in Seoul, my parents decided to pamper me with my favourite food which is also in season.  Crabs!! My parents bought live crabs from the seafood market and steamed them straight away for dinner!  Can you tell which ones are male and female crabs? Females have lots of eggs but less meat and male crabs are very meaty.

crab steamed

 

The two top ones are females and the bottom one is male. Can you see the difference in shape of their tummy? Female ones have inverted U shape and males ones are shaped like a tip of a rocket.

 

Dinner time!!

dinner

 

 

When you open the female crab, you get the orange eggs and it’s juice. I prefer female crabs so I can mix the eggs with steamed rice! I wouldn’t indulge too often, they are high in cholesterol.

 

female crab

 

We just demolished them….

empty shells

 

I have so many photos and stories to share about this trip but it will have to wait until 2014. We are back in Sydney visiting family and friends and enjoying beautiful Sydney. It’s been a while since we had our Christmas back home, I am ready for Christmas ham and Christmas cake cooked by someone else!

Have a fantastic Christmas and see you all back in New Year!

IMG_6340

 

 

 

 

 

Eating my way through Seoul II

Eating my way through Seoul II

If I have to pick one restaurant from my childhood memory in Korea, there is only one that pops up in my mind. Every time I visit Korea I always go.  The restaurant has been around since 1966 and it’s renowned for their handmade noodle soup (kal guk su-칼국수).  Why do I like this restaurant so much?  Firstly, there aren’t many non-chain restaurants that make their own noodles and their authentic stock like this one. Any guesses??  Drum roll please….. Myundong Gyoja (명동 교자) restaurant!

My last visit to Korea was going to be a slightly different to my usual trip. Instead of going to all my usual favourite places, I decided I was only  going to try new places,  but Myundong Gyoja had to be an exception. I just couldn’t go back home without having my fix from Myungdong Gyoja restaurant.

My girlfriend and I arrived at the restaurant exactly at noon and luckily there were only a few people waiting for a table. Usually, there is a long queue with a mix of locals and tourists.  By the time we finished our lunch, there were at least 50 people waiting outside for tables.  The staff  were very efficient and friendly despite the high turn over of the customers and all the food was served really fast. Don’t expect to sit and chit chat however. It’s one of those restaurants where you eat and run…

 

 

kal guk su(칼국수), aka handmade noodle soup is the star dish here. The free flow Kimchi is also very famous and has an incredible amount of  garlic.  It’s so strong they give you chewing gum when you ask for the bill to ease the smell of garlic. Besides the kimchi, a bowl of rice mixed with millets is served free of charge with  the noodle soup. It’s a lot of food for only S$10.

 

 

I was reading through a few reviews on the restaurant in Korean and one of the reviews suggested to order only one bowl of kal guk su and one serving of dumplings so you can have best of the both.  We were silly enough to order a bowl of noodle soup each and ended up staring at other customers with dumplings!!

 

 

 

Other dishes served in this restaurant include cold soy bean noodle (kong guk su) and chilli noodles (bibim guksu). I have never tried these dishes simply because the kal gul su is the best and leave no room for anything else. According to the restaurant website, you can  buy their home made kimchi and take it away.

 

How to get to Myung dong Gyoja:

 

Address:

Seoul-si Jung-gu Myeongdong 10-gil 29
(Myeongdong 2-ga)

There are two Myungdong Gyoja restaurants in Myungdong, They are not too far from each other.  If you are heading to Seoul next time, don’t forget to check this out!