Vibrant Flavours of Korea

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog, because I was away for a family holiday in South Korea in the past couple of weeks. We visited Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, and Jeju Island. It was a gastronomic tour, as well as an emersion in the vibrant Korean culture. Our first stop is the street food at the Dongmun Night Market of Jeju Island, unarguably the best traditional market on the island itself. The first thing that caught our attention was the bright colour of Jeju mandarin oranges, fruit of the winter season. The street food in Jeju Island just could not get any fresher. If I were to compare the street food at Jeju Dongmun Night Market with those at MyeongDong, Seoul, I would give a huge thumbs up to the former.

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Giant cheese hotdog

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The octopus was stir-fried to perfect doneness, unlike most octopus meat that are chewy and rubbery after cooking. Topped with bonito flakes,  the umami taste of the dish was brought to the next level as well. 

 

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What’s so special about this little shop? It looked ordinary, but the extraordinary thing was the food. Those aunties cooked the best Tteok-bokki that I’ve ever eaten in South Korea; the sauce was thick, with just the right amount of spiciness. No wonder, it was one of the places visited by the Running Man show.

 

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Who can resist the temptation of giant succulent meatballs? Obviously, I couldn’t.

 

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Grab a cup of mandarin orange ice cream, whenever you visit Jeju Island. It’s a must!
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Roasted pork; again another dish that I couldn’t get enough with. The element that surprised me was not the pork, but the slices of crispy garlic. 

 

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Mandarin orange juice, freshly squeezed. It’s the best drink that you can get to quench your thirst after a scrumptious meal at the night market.

A must-try on Jeju Island:

 

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A pot of seafood stew. I’ve never thought that radish and chilli spices were such a good match.
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Abalone porridge
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Traditional glutinous rice cake with red bean filling. Is there anywhere else that we can find this traditional cake, other than Jeju Island?
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A Korean-style brunch at Jeju Island, comprises some pickled vegetables, rice and a generous bowl of soup or stew.
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Korean style barbecue is something that you must try if you ever had a chance to visit Korea. This is a black pork barbecue set dinner, accompanied by the freshest abalones that I’ve ever seen. I’m not exaggerating, the abalones were actually still alive on the hotplate.
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A massive hot pot of seafood stew is a strong evidence that Jeju island is blessed with multitude of fresh seafood. It is a heaven for seafood lover.

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There are countless varieties of pickles in Korea, not only the internationally-known Kimchi, but also pickled radish, lotus root, shiso leaves, green leafy vegetables, anchovies, and beans.

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Sweet sweet discoveries:

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A dessert cafe at Seoul, featuring purple sweet potato dessert. We ordered the sweet potato soup and sweet potato tiramisu.

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Butterfinger Pancakes is a popular American brunch cafe at the Gangnam area. We waited for more than half-an-hour to get a table, and the queue just didn’t stop. We tried some very creative drinks, such as the apple cinnamon latte, and eggnog. Thumbs up!
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If you can’t decide which flavour of pancake to order, just get a stack of them and try them all! 
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Affogato is an Italian dessert, usually served with vanilla ice cream and a shot of hot espresso. But this affogato is an unusual one, because of the variety of ice creams, as you can see from the picture. 
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Warm and velvety red bean soup with glutinous rice balls are the ideal dessert for a cold winter.
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Red bean is common in Asian food, including China and Japan. I didn’t realise that Korea produces such excellent quality of red bean as well until I visited this cafe in Seoul, featuring red bean desserts.
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Looks like latte is not necessarily just coffee and milk. Have you tried red bean latte before?

One important thing I learned from this trip? Every popular restaurant or cafe features only one specialty with the highest quality possible. For instance, a cafe featuring red bean desserts, a cafe focusing on sweet potato, a restaurant selling the best seafood soup stew in town, etc. You cannot be Jack of all trades. You cannot just sell all kind of desserts.

Focus. Focus on a specialty is key to a successful business.

 

 

 

 

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