Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Street Food Tour - Seoul, South Korea

We booked a walking food tour on our third day in Seoul as we had visited a food market ourselves and been a little apprehensive to try many things as we found it difficult to know what was what.  (The trotters and pig's heads were obvious!)

We started the day with breakfast in a bakery just next to our hotel, Paris Baguette.  They have this chain all over Seoul and as much as we loved trying the Korean food, it was nice to have a change once in a while.  We really liked this bakery and I fell in love with the coffee cups!!  They're SO cute, I wish packaging was that good here, I'm a total sucker for it.


There is a huge range of delicious looking breads, cakes and pastries.  I would have loved to try more things but we only ate here twice.  Their breakfast items were rather interesting. The first time I tried this eggy concoction wrapped in eggy bread and a slice of bacon which they heated up for me.  Nik was boring and had a croissant ;)






The tour started at the O'ngo Culinary School with a demonstration in how to make a Korean seafood pancake (which I will detail in another blog post as this one's gotten a bit long!).  Had we been in Seoul for longer we would have definitely been interested in some of their Korean cooking classes!  The place seemed very organised and their kitchen classroom set up was great!

Bibimbap being made by a class

After our demonstration and taster of the pancake, we headed out to our first stop at a market.  We NEVER would have found this market used by locals.  It was down a ramp and underground...



It sells pretty much everything, food - groceries and ready to eat, shoes, crockery, all sorts of things you'd usually find in a department store.


Bowls galore!  They need them all for all the sides they serve!
Soy bean paste, chilli paste, various other things which I have no idea what they are!

Raw cabbages used to make Kimchi

Various types of Kimchi

Making Kimchi

More pig heads

Korean man eating breakfast/lunch

Grinding dried chillies to make chilli powder, you could smell the spiciness!

Various pulses and seeds
We stopped for some Gimbap (or Kimbap - Gs and Ks seems to be interchangeable in Korea, Gangnam is actually pronounced Kangnam) while we were down in the market and the woman who made it was so quick!  Gimbap is very similar to sushi and has various fillings.  This one had a bit of everything, pickled radish, crab stick, burdock root, fishcake (the thing that looks like a pancake), spinach and omelette.







Gimbap

Served with Kimchi of course!

video

Our lovely tour guide, Soung Jin


When we left the underground market we went to a rice cake shop which had SO many kinds of rice cakes (kyong dong) in different flavours and stuffed with various fillings.

Pumpkin rice cake

Our tasters

My favourite, stuffed with sweet red bean paste


We then went along to see some street vendors making Kkultarae which is made from a solid block of honey and cornflour, stretched into 16,000 strands which is then used to wrap a mix of nuts and cocoa which sadly meant we couldn't taste it as we're both allergic to nuts :(  It's very entertaining to watch though - check out a video!




And here's our video...



We then took a wander along Insadong gil where we discovered loads of places we wanted to return to after the tour.  We saw spice shops, more street food and lots and lots of souvenir and crafty shops.


Our next stop on the tour was to try dumplings.  The place we were taken to was down a side street and had a massive queue of locals which was a good sign!  The seating area was also full but we just got one each to take away.  Places to eat are difficult to find in Korea even if you have a recommendation as most of them only have Korean signs.  We found tripadvisor very helpful as there were pictures of the restaurants so we knew when we'd found the right one!



I honestly have no idea what was in my fried dumpling, I could identify the glass noodles and some vegetables and what I think was pork...


Turns out I preferred Nik's so we swapped :)



These were obviously prawn!
Continuing round the alley we ended up in Ssamzigil which is a fabulous sort of artist's mall with food stalls and lots of little shops run by designers and crafters.  We went back there in the afternoon and did a lot of shopping there!


While there on our tour everyone sampled the rather off-putting looking treats below but they also contained nuts so our guide offered to buy us a drink of rice punch instead (as the tasters were included in the tour price).




We then went to see a traditional Hanok and found a little art exhibition which we had a quick look round before our tour ended at lunchtime.  I would highly recommend O'ngo food tours!  They were well organised, knowledgeable and friendly.  It was easy to book online and we're so glad we did.

Little Korean musicians

Gorgeous paper butterflies
The rest of our day in Insadong gil will be in another post as this one's already over-Bexed with photos!  :-/

1 comment:

Siobhan said...

Wow - the food all looks amazing but I'm still slightly in love with that coffee cup - it is adorable!

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