Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seoul Food

As a food lover and food traveler, Korea has been on the top of my list to discover.  For years, I've been drooling over food magazines and television shows highlighting the best of Korean grills and the spreads of kimchi and banchan.

In my traveling experience, very few cuisines are as good abroad compared to their homelands.  There's a certain vibrancy to the food in their own respective countries.  It just tastes more right, as it should be.  So now that I was in Seoul, I was so excited to eat from the source.

Because of the comparisons to Japan, I was expecting the prices to be similar.  Despite it reputation, eating in Japan is actually incredibly affordable for the quality.  Surprisingly then, Seoul was really expensive.  Everything was surprisingly expensive, especially compared to the rest of Asia.

We varied our eating with restaurants, take out from the food markets, and also with room service meals at our hotel.  Before you knock it, room service at luxury hotels can be a phenomenal experience.  You have the comfort of your room, the fun of eating in your hotel robe, and the luxury of a fine dining setting all cooked by high quality hotel chefs.  After long, hot days out under the Korean sun and on our feet all day, taking a shower and eating in the atmosphere of our spacious room was just the best.

Aside from meals, I was impressed with the numerous coffee and bread shops and their food packaging.  There is a coffee and bread store almost in every corner of the city.  As for their food packaging in the groceries, it's admirable with the care they take for their products.  They also give so much importance to their fruits and vegetables.  They obviously learned from Japan and have made the produce thrive beautifully in their own country.

The fruits and vegetable were too nice just to look at, and because we flew back to Manila where you can bring back produce and meats, we were able to enjoy at home the apples, grapes, gigantic cabbages and radishes, and some of the sweetest sweet potatoes.   (Travel tip: Always pack a foldable duffel that you can put into your luggage.  That way you have an extra bag for goods on the flight back home.)

After a week of eating in Seoul, I'm really happy to find that some of the Korean food served in the states (the Bay Area and Los Angeles particularly) is actually pretty darn authentic.  The Koreans and Americanized Koreans have done a great job of upholding their cuisine.  I came back home from the trip more educated with how well the Koreans have lived over the recent years, post-Korean War.  They have educated themselves and can take pride in the good their country continues to produce.

Grilled beef and ban chan

The tables


Grocery store packing

Breads and pastries all over the city

Pizza at Gourmet 494

Pizza from Olive Market

Rotisserie chicken from Olive Market

Potstickers

Milk cake from Paris Baguette

Bibimbap

Samgyetang

Stuffed with sticky rice, chestnuts, dates, and ginseng

Tikka masala

Sweet potato

Natural caramelization

Brought some goods home.  Cabbage, radish, and grapes

Three kinds of sweet potatoes

A box of apples

1 comment:

Alvin said...

Awesome post! Funny that you spaced out local food with a pizza or two. The sweet potato looks... "divine".