Korea Trip 2011 – First taste of local Food

Ok, so here’s the recap of previous posts.

1. Seoul Highlights (photos)
2. Itinerary and Hotel Astoria
3. How to get from Airport to Seoul downtown

Kimbap, Korean version of sushi rolls. The shop owner gave us 2 rolls on the house. ><

Now it’s time for some FOOD! First thought about Korean food are the abundant side dishes / banchan, Kimchi, Bibimbap, Shin Ramyun, Bulgogi and the Barbeque. So on the first night upon arrival, it was very late when we checked into the hotel. About 12 midnight, or close to 1am local time. Luckily there was a 24 hours restaurant diagonal to our hotel (which is accessible via exit 7 or 8 (can’t remember sorry) on Chungmuro Station, line 3 & 4. I have no idea what the restaurant is called so let’s just call it the 24hr food store.

Kimchi and pickled radish. I don’t know if I was too excited to devour Korean food, but this was the best pickled radish I’ve eaten, everrr!!! Crunchy, sour and something along sweet vinaigrette. It doesn’t have the plastic after-taste like those you eat here. How can I make this ??

Kimbap is the Korean version of Japanese Norimaki. When I was in Sydney, one of my Korean classmate told me that they add a little sesame oil to mix with the rice. But I didn’t taste much of sesame though. The best part of the kimbap was that you don’t need to dip in any soy sauce. The nori / seaweed was crunchy and salty enough to eliminate the use of soy sauce.

The other side dishes and Omurice. Tomato rice wrapped in an omelette served with brown ketchup sauce, with a little hint of Worcestershire. I do realize that the rice servings are quite big in most places, especially fried rice.


If there was anything I learnt from this trip, it was this! Shin Ramyun with a slice of cheese. First thought you’d go, eewww but cheese = salty makes (almost) everything nicer. Such clever people to come up with this dish. After this, I googled abit and apparently you can also add potato chips ontop! Yums. I’m not sure if it works with Maggi Curry or not haha but I’m definitely going to use the Korean instant noodles to make this next time.


Ohai iz us.

OK during the first day we went to this place, on average our meal was 2,650 won (RM7.60) per person (not including the dumplings as we went back another day to eat those). It was okay and inexpensive. All their menu were in Korean and non of us could read any. But numbers, yes. The cheapest thing there was 1,000 won (RM2.87) and the most expensive was about 5,000 won (RM14.35) Not too shabby but we didn’t know what that would be.

Many people have asked, if there were any problems in communicating. If you have an iphone, you most likely won’t encounter any problems. Translator at your fingertips, oh seriously. But I do realise there are a fair bit of Koreans that know how to speak Mandarin as well. So if the menu comes and it’s all in Korean, find pictures in the restaurant and start pointing!

iPhone apps for you to consider; Lonely Planet Seoul, Seoul City Metro and Lingopal/Multilingual picture dictionary (EG/Korean/Chinese/Jap)

One of the many ways to order food. The easier way if the food images are appealing enough. IF you want something not in pictures and no one can understand what you want, it will be, a bit of a problem. A funny one indeed. We went back to the restaurant on one of the days to have some dumpling but there wasn’t any photos of it on the wall. So I had to show the picture in my camera cause we just ate the day before. The situation was a little like duck and chicken talking, but in the end we got the mandu that we wanted. As for how we did it.. Hehe let’s just say, it’s a little secret between both my friends and I. Hehehe..

Steamed mandu with soy sauce. It was a dumpling with lots of vege (probably Chinese or some sort of chives) in it. Nicely wrapped and must be eaten hot! We actually wanted fried mandu but they gave us this, so we didn’t have a choice but to eat it. Yummy too.


We weren’t satisfied with just that, so after some duck and chicken talking again, we managed to get our fried mandu. It was very good, like little wantons but with a thinner skin. Do try out the mandu in Korea if you are there.

And most restaurants have this water dispenser thingy. All you have to do is take the cup and fill it with water. Refillable anytime, for free. Well, plain drinking water is free and most food prices are nett already, so there’re no hidden tax costs to send you to surprise-land. Bravo on that. If you don’t see these dispenser, they most likely will give you a big jug/tumbler with water.

Coming up next! Breakfasts in Seoul!



10 thoughts on “Korea Trip 2011 – First taste of local Food

  1. Hi!

    Just curious what iphone translation app did you use to communicate when in korea. I am planning to go to Korea in a couple of weeks. Any help would be great! thanks!

    1. Hi Jane,

      You can try these iphone aps.
      1. Lonely Planet Seoul (for some maps)
      2. Seoul City Metro (for the subway directions and map)
      3. Lingopal/Multilingual picture dictionary (EG/Korean/Chinese/Jap)

  2. Hi Swee San….amazing post….love korean food so I might go there one day to eat the authentic ones :))

    Hey I ordered 3 books from book depository but only one arrived. It has been 14 days already…so do I write to them or what? Have you experienced this ? I ordered Dorie’s Around My French Table, Peter Reinhart 2nd book and Bon Appetit. Only Dorie’s arrived but the two still have not arrived yet 🙁

    Now I am a bit worried hahaha

    1. Hi Elin,

      Well lately I find that the books from BD come abit slower. Not sure if it’s because of the post office here or what. Now it takes about 14 working days, which means your book could only arrive on the 3rd week. There’s no use writting to them cause they’ve already shipped the books and there’s nothing they can do about it. But if it’s 1 month down and you still haven’t get them, maybe write to them. But because the books are not registered mails with code numbers, we can’t check with Pos Malaysia too. So…… just gotta …. wait … 😛 and hope that Pos Malaysia sends them to you.

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