I was in Seoul for Christmas. It’s was beautiful, cold and busy. The city is home to 10 million, 25 million if you count the greater Seoul area.
I was amazed by this city. The people are so friendly, friendly even despite my not being able to speak a lick of Korean (ok I can say thank you and sorry but that’s about it). And there is so much food. Food in restaurant after restaurant lining the streets and side streets. Food in tiny tent restaurants and food from street vendors. I liked everything I tried, which truthfully surprised me. I’d previously had so little Korean food I just did not know what to expect but the food here is just delicious.
So far my favorite Korean foods are:
– Korean BBQ: Getting to communally sit around a flaming BBQ in the winter, grilling your own meat and drinking soju. Why the hell is this not a bigger thing in Canada. It was warm and delicious. Each piece of freshly grilled pork you wrap in sesame leaf with an assortment of kimchi and sauces and salts and then stuff in your mouth like a little porky packet. You eat it all in one mouthful. This was amazing. Korean BBQ, especially outdoor Korean BBQ is all the best things about a BBQ with none of the clean up.
– Fire chicken: Aka. Buldak. Aka. Flaming butthole. This chicken is flaming goodness. But if your body is anything Iike mine be sure to be near a washroom. Ok to be fair it isn’t that hot. I’ve had hot wings in Canada much hotter. But eating fire chicken twice in one day might have been the cause. I blame my husband who claims we should only be eating fire chicken on this trip.
-Makgeolli: Not a food but quite a tasty alcoholic beverage. This drink is made from rice and dates back to roughly 37BCE. It is similar in taste to sake but much much lighter and has a lower alcohol content. The taste is slightly sweet but not overly and can have some carbonation. There are apparently flavored versions as well but I’ve only tried the original. One of the things I love about this drink is how it is served, in small aluminum bowls.
– Yakwa: Korean cookies that are made of flour honey and sesame oil and eaten with tea. These are dense and shaped like a flower. We bought ours from a lovely little shop in Insadong where the lady was so friendly and happy, she was just lovely.
I would highly recommend a trip to Seoul. The food was lovely, and the people were very friendly. If you’re looking for a food tour, we took this one by O’ngo food communications. We took both the night dining tour and the lunch street food tour both were great but if you’re pressed for time I’d go with the night food tour.