Monday, December 20, 2010

Korea: Seoul

I must admit that on my first trip to Korea, I hated the food. But I think at 10, my taste buds were probably not well-trained enough and I probably could not appreciate anything beyond fries.

Having come back some 10+ years later, all I can say is, I really love Korean food!

The quintessential Korean street stall

Koreans love street food. And whats not to love?
Deep fried sausages covered in fries and lathered with chilli sauce, fish cakes in hot sauce and other snacks on a stick. 

Street food in a tent.
The rice cakes, pan cakes and other stir-fried delights. 
There are no price tags though so unfortunately we were totally over-charged (as tourists). The 3 dishes above costs us 30,000 won.

Seoul is dotted with cafes of all kinds selling the most wonderful pastries.
Our favorite would be Paris Baguette chain (think Singapore's breadtalk but with much nicer bread)

Another breakfast favorite was the porridge

I fell in love with pumpkin porridge after the first mouthful. Silky sweet smooth yum!

There are several PRCs living in Seoul and hence it is no surprise that some of the food here are Chinese- inspired. These dumplings were great, and some were stuffed with kimchi which worked surprisingly well.

This one tasted like our Xiao Long Baos, but without the soup bursting out.

Of course, one can never come to Korea without tasting the famous bbq.
The best thing about eating in Korea is all the side dishes, one meal can consist of as many as 20 different types of dishes. From the common kimchi, potato salad, pickled veg and seaweed soup to more unusual such as steamed egg and tempura.
Eating BBQ is a requires several steps. 1: bbq the meat to perfection 2: wrap the meat in lettuce/any other big leafy vegtable 3: add onion/kimchi/garlic/whatever floats your boat 4: dip into sauce 5:eat
Such a fun way to eat eh?
Unless you are willing to pay, I would suggest ordering pork and not beef. The beef in Seoul tends to be frozen and not ideal for bbq (perhaps because we didnt order the top-grade ones). Stick to the pork.

bimbimbap, I love the tiny roe! 
I love the different colors of bimbimbaps

The hot soup with random ingredients is probably the staple diet of koreans.
They basically eat this with rice ALL the time. This had oysters in it :)

Korean cold noodles. Looks quite gross but its awesome.

Ginseng Chicken soup,
Still not a fan but I guess I never liked ginseng in the first place

Kimchi noodles with cheese.
I was skeptical but it really works. The cheese breaks the spiciness and you are left with a bowl of gooey goodness. Shall try this at home.

One pot meals. Everything is dumped into a pot and left to simmer.

After 3 minutes. 
We had this pretty popular one at Ehwa Women's university (its in the alley next to aritum and theres always a queue). It was pretty darn good.

Fried Chicken! TwoTwo fried chicken is awesome, esp with beer. 
Go for the original and the bbq sauce. The rest are forgettable.

Other posts on Korea:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Forty hands

Forty hands is one of those delightfully indie and well-hidden gem of a cafe that you stumble upon and try to keep it a secret from everyone. Just so that you can call this place all yours.
However, Singapore is a small city and word travels fast. So we werent surprised when we turned up on a sleepy Sunday afternoon to discover that this cafe was well, quite full.

Such a quaint little place, delightfully old-school, right down to the plates and sugar holder.
Forty hands gets its name from the fact that an average of 40 hands are required in the production of coffee. From bean to cup. Yes this place takes coffee seriously. And it shows.

I had the cappuccino and it was mindblowingly awesome. Deep strong fragrance, full-bodied. Ahh the perfect start to a Sunday. Hands down one of the best coffee I ever had. (Even better than the so-called $11 cup of coffee at the blue mountain cafe) And best thing was very reasonably priced! 

Whats a Sunday without brunch eh?
Eggs benedict with spinach and a side of salad leaves.

The eggs benedict was unfortunately not very good.
Eggs were a tad overcooked and the sauce was too weak. Too much acidity and not enough cream to balance this dish. I guess for a better eggs benedict, I would head over to Rider's Cafe

We also had the salmon hash with crusty bread and fries.
Oh this was intense. Very bold flavors and very generous hunks of salmon.
The sauce (while a tad too salty) was absolutely delicious when eaten with the bread. And of course, we couldnt resist dipping the fries into that thick rich sauce.

I would come back in a heartbeat. Just for another divine cup of coffee

78 Yong Siak Street
#01-12 Tiong Bahru