There are many reasons why I think I’ll keep going back to China. One of those is the sheer vastness of the place – you could spend years traveling the length and breadth of the county and still feel like you’d only scratched the surface. Another reason is big bottles of Tsing Tao – this sino-german lager is one of my favorite beers and the perfect thing to slake your thirst on a hot Beijing night. Yet another reason I want China to remain part my life is Roujiamou.
Despite having been in Seoul for almost six months, last Tuesday was my first visit to Noryangjin Fish Market. Situated next to the shimmering 63 building in the South West of the city, Noryangjin is the best place in the city to get your hands on some fresh seafood at really good prices.
As eating experiences go, this is up there with the best of them. Simply wander the market floor, pick out a bunch of stuff you fancy the look of (don’t be afraid to haggle for your supper) then bring it down to one of the adjoining restaurants and let them do the rest. They’ll gut, slice, steam or grill anything you give them, leaving you to get on with the serious business of soju and beer.
We’ve just got back from six days of stuffing ourselves in Beijing.
Although I’m admittedly biased, I found that a lot of the best food I ate there was street food. With the exception of a great Sichuan place, most of the bricks and mortar food we encountered was pretty sub-par. It tended to be either glowing with msg or arrived in such vast, mono-flavored portions that most plates were abandoned in despair not long after they arrived.
One of the most persistent food trends of recent years in the US has been the emergence of the Korean taco truck. Part of a wider street food movement, outfits like Kogi BBQ in LA have arguably begun to redefine America’s culinary landscape and are known for creative and affordable food.
Although very much a bricks and mortar establishment, El Camion (Spanish for “truck”) takes inspiration from this ethos. This hole in the wall taco joint is part of Smokey Saloon’s Apgujeong branch, and features a simple menu with a Korean-Mexican flavour.
Editors note: It’s a little known fact that when the idea for Friends was first floated to TV execs, the show was originally intended to be set in Seoul. However, due to budgetary constraints and the threat of nuclear annihilation, the setting was eventually changed to New York – although not before a considerable amount of promotional material had been produced! In this never-before-seen tourism pamphlet financed by the Korean Government, the gang share their thoughts on the Korean street food scene. Enjoy!
There’s something about the area between Jongno and Dongdaemun that sets it apart from the rest of central Seoul. Heading west along the Cheongye stream from City Hall, it feels like you are stepping into an older, less polished part of the city. The chain stores and restaurants gradually thin out, to be replaced by smaller, more specialised outfits, and the suits and high heels morph into work clothes and more practical forms of footwear.
I’ve recently noticed a lot of street kebabs around Seoul, and although I love the idea, I’ve yet to find one I really like. Most seem quite light on meat, and the other day I got one with chopped pickle inside.
In a perfect world (or at least back home) kebabs involve riotous mountains of meat, stuffed into pita bread with a bit of token salad, then drenched with savory chilli sauce. Usually eaten when drunk, a good portion should fall on your clothes, and the kebab should account for at least half your hangover the next day.
If anyone has had one like that in Seoul please let me know! I eagerly await your advice.
Operating between the hours of 10am – 5pm every Sunday, the Filipino market in Hyewha-dong is an essential part of Seoul’s Filipino community, many of whom attend services at the nearby Catholic Church.
The market sells a range of imported goods including super-strength San Miguel, tinned fish and even fresh papaya – the sort of small comforts that provide a connection to home for immigrant communities all over the world (kind of like costco without the massive trolleys)