Seoul Journals

Seoul Food (& Drink)

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A December 1998 trip to Seoul by globetrots

Korean spread Photo, Seoul, South Korea More Photos
Quote: I lived in Korea for 15 months. Here is some info on Korean food and drink, from a foreigner's perspective. I've also included some info on where to eat and where to stay--in case you happen to make it there.

Seoul Food (& Drink)

Overview

Quote:
Korea is a fascinating country, and has one of the most interesting (and yes baffling) cultures of the developed world. Their eating and drinking habits have felt some influence from the west, but they have retained most of their unique local characteristics. Korean dining is an adventure in itself, as is a visit to a local makkoli bar or soju tent. Read on and you'll be prepared!Quick Tips: Best Way To Get Around: Getting around Seoul is a cinch: the subway is efficient and excellent, and it has plenty of signs and announcements in English. The bus and train systems are both good for long distances, though incredibly overbooked on holidays. Of course you'll sometimes n...Read More

The Shilla Seoul

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Hotel | "Shilla Hotel"

Quote:
This is the best hotel in Korea, the only true 5-star property in the country. (The Hyatt is good but the rooms are small. The Ritz-Carlton is nice, but the staff is not up to the level of their surroundings.) Except for the ho-hum lobby, this is a fantastic property, from the surrounding gardens to the spectacular rooms. Restaurants are pricey, but the selection is great and quality is high. Since this hotel is owned by Samsung, it's filled with the newest and best gadgets. The TV volume decreases when you pick up the phone. The lights raise and dim gradually--a big plus when you get up in the middle of the night. If you can afford it or are going to Korea on someone else's tab,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

The Shilla Seoul
202 JANGCHUNG DONG 2-GA
Seoul, South Korea
822 2233 3131

Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo

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Hotel | "Various"

Quote:
Budget hotels in Korea are generally expensive by Asian standards. It's pretty difficult to find a decent room for under $25 per night, especially since freelance English teachers often have the cheapest ones booked up on a long-term basis. The good news is that the room you do get will generally be comfortable and cozy. Most small Korean hotels have 'ondol' rooms, where the source of heat is a warm floor. It's wonderful to sit or sleep on the floor and feel the warmth underneath you. Most hotels have a hot shower of some kind in your room, usually a western toilet, and clean sheets and towels. You can sometimes bargain a little if things are slow, but don't look for dramatic savings. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo
3575 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 697-2900

Sanchon

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Restaurant | "Sanchon Vegetarian Restaurant"

Sanchon Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
Sanchon is one of the few vegetarian restaurants around, especially when it comes to Korean food. It was opened by a former Buddhist monk and means "Mountain Village." It's a rustic old Korean house, complete with whole tree beams, wooden floors, and traditional decorations. You'll end up with about 20 bowls of various vegetarian items on your table after a soup course and you pick and choose from the lot. You can order traditional drinks, including some alchoholic versions that must have gotten the monks pretty toasted. After the meal is complete, you'll be treated to some traditional dance performances. It's a small place, so these are small group ensembles in an intimate setting. The...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 6, 2002

Sanchon
Kwanhun-dong 14
Seoul, South Korea 110-300
+82 02 735 0312

Eating Korean Food

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Story/Tip

Korean food Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
Korea could have easily become a nation with no identity when it comes to food. The country was heavily influenced by China, invaded by the Mongols, and occupied several times by Japanese rulers not known for their cultural sensitivity. Despite all this, their cuisine has come through it all unscathed, remaining distinct from those of its neighbors and historic trading partners. Korean food is somewhat of a mystery to most foreigners. While Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and and even Thai restaurants abound in the US, eateries from this Asian nation primarily serve immigrants or expatiriates from the homeland. While these restaurants sometimes succeed with the general public in Manhattan or on t...Read More

Vegetarian restaurant hunting

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Vegetarian Fare Strict vegetarians will have a tough time in Korea unless they're willing to stick to side dishes. About the only Korean vegetarians around are the most pious Buddhist monks. The whole concept is generally a mystery to everyone else. There are a few dishes that can be ordered without meat, but a vegetarian wanting to really sample a variety of Korean food would have to try one of the few Buddhist vegetarian restaurants in Seoul. Those who eat seafood will have no problem, however, since being on a peninsula has made fish a common element in the diet. You can find seafood on any street or back alley, especially where people are drinking. After the Japanese were final...Read More

What the heck is THAT?!!

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Story/Tip

Quote:
As with many of its geographical neighbors, Korea is not a good place to order dinner by closing your eyes and pointing to something on the menu. What's considered edible here will often churn the stomachs of all but the most hearty foreigners. The locals gobble down bumpy sea urchins, insect larvae, and unidentifiable roots and fungi without a flinch, while smelly dried squid and rubbery octopus are considered drinking snacks here--the Korean equivalent of peanuts or nachos at the bar. One fear that is unfounded, however, is that Rover will end up on your plate. Yes, some people do eat dog here (as they do in China, Vietnam, and parts of other Asian countries), but only at specialized restaurants--at...Read More

Drinking, Korean style

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Story/Tip

Korean drinking Photo, Seoul, South Korea
Quote:
Water is served with all meals in Korea, but alcohol usually flows abundantly at dinner. Bottles get passed around, with everyone serving each other: except with familiar friends, it is customary that you don't pour for yourself. The (lousy) local beer is very popular, but the firewater of choice is soju, a sort of sweet vodka that you drink straight. It's only one small step up from rubbing alcohol and is drunk in shots. Considering that a 12-ounce bottle costs around $3.50 in a restaurant or less than a buck in stores, few people sip slowly. This is probably the reason that Jinro Soju outsells all other liquor brands in the world. Considering that it's a very local commodity (unlike Bacardi rum or J...Read More

About the Writer

globetrots

globetrots
Nashville, Tennessee