What do you do when you've worked so hard to eat healthy and try to get into shape only to be lured into eating so much that you can barely fit into your pants afterwards? Exactly what happened to me during my recent trip to Seoul where we ate and shop and ate all day long. I kept a list of restaurants in my phone that we can try just in case we find ourselves in the neighborhood but without a definite itinerary, we just dined anywhere we felt like it or when hunger kicks in.
Grilled Pork Galbi
After dropping by Lemona House, we searched for a place where we can eat Korean food. By experience, a restaurant with no English name usually means authentic so we went ahead and got a table inside. The staff were friendly and tried their best to communicate to us in English.
There was a parade of Banchan included in the set menu that we ordered. We had more than 2 servings of fish cake, asparagus stalk, spicy tofu and pajeon (Korean pancake), all others were so-so. The staff offered to grill the pork galbi in the kitchen to limit the smoke circulating in the dining area. The pork was succulent and contrary to its red color, it wasn't spicy at all!
Fire Chicken with Cheese
Walking around Ehwa for a day was exhausting and what better way to make up to your companion who despise shopping but still supports your addiction and even carry your bags? Delicious food!
Fire Chicken with Cheese is a popular Korean dish with huge chunks of chicken and glutinous rice cakes covered with thick spicy sauce and loads of mozzarella cheese. It's usually very spicy but you can ask the server for a milder version if you wanted to be on the safe side.
I tried to avoid eating too much carbs but there are some meals that's better with rice and this dish is the perfect example. It was cheap and savory, a splendid way to end the night!
Grilled Beef Galbi
Our hostel's convenient location in Chungmuro means that food is everywhere! No need to take a train/bus whenever you're hungry because you can just walk next door and order your favorite Korean food. While there are restaurants that's visible at first glance, we are more excited in hole-in-the-wall places especially those located in the basement that only locals know about.
The extremely tender marinated beef galbi was flavorful and smells divine. You can wrap it on fresh lettuce with kimchi or eat it as ulam with rice, either way works for me but forget about the galbi because it was the king oyster mushroom I was really drooling on!
Korean Fried Chicken
Another restaurant we tried near Rainbow Hostel was a place serving chicken + beer, which also took Manila by storm in the recent years with franchises like Bonchon and Kyochon. Open until late at night, this chicken place became our favorite go-to place for midnight snacking.
There's nothing quite like a perfectly cooked fried chicken with its crunchy skin and juicy meat. Because we ordered 2 whole chicken (1 plain and 1 spicy) just for the 3 of us, we passed on the rice and ate the chicken with Kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi) on the side to balance the flavor.
Korean food is largely based on rice, veggies and meat so if you're traveling to Seoul anytime soon, prepare yourself to have a feast on your palate, a hole in your pocket and a bulge on your stomach!