Winters in Korea can be brutal. As someone who grew up near Chicago, snow and cold temperatures are nothing new to me. However, winters in Korea just seem extra difficult, extra long, and extra depressing.(more…)
If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love Christmas time! I might be guilty of listening to Christmas music in every season, and crave that first sip of egg nog that comes with the magical holiday.(more…)
When you think of South Korea, you almost certainly think of the country’s largest city: Seoul. However, just an hour away from central Seoul lies a bustling city called Incheon. Odds are, if you fly into Korea, you’ll find yourself arriving at Incheon International Airport. Incheon is home to roughly 3 million people, and is easily found on the Seoul subway system.(more…)
Korea takes trends and crazes to a whole new level. Over the years, I’ve watched the ‘Honey Butter Chip’ craze come and go. Recently, ‘long padding’ (long padded jackets) were all the rage. And we of course have to mention how BTS has swept the nation.(more…)
Living in Korea, I have access to some of the most amazing cuisine in the world. While Korean food is starting to gain popularity around the world, there are still so many dishes that the average person might not be aware of.
Today we’ll look at a few Korean foods that I couldn’t live without.
Ask anyone what is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Korean food, and there’s a good chance they’ll say Korean BBQ. BBQ comes in countless varieties. From pork to beef to chicken, the options are endless. You also get to customize your meal with a variety of sauces, vegetables, and toppings.
Perhaps the most popular variety of BBQ is grilled pork belly, called samgyepsal. This cut of pork isn’t necessarily the healthiest, as it’s basically a big slap of uncured bacon. However, grilling it at the table and wrapping it in a lettuce leaf is one of the delights of living in Korea.
Korean BBQ goes ridiculously well with alcohol. A nice cold beer, or a shot of soju is the perfect pairing. Another joy of Korean BBQ is the communal feeling as everyone in the group helps cook the meal at the table, and can enjoy the meal as a family of sorts.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous of all Korean foods. This pickled cabbage dish is a staple at any Korean meal. While Kimchi has a long history, it is now known as a spicy side dish with plenty of pro-biotics and other things that are healthy for your body. Michelle Obama even promoted this health food!
While the smell and taste of kimchi can be a bit intimidating to the first timer, it is well worth trying. It is as versatile as it is healthy. It can be eaten cold, fried, stewed, or more. It can be added to a ton of different dishes as an ingredient. Basically, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t eat kimchi in some way or form.
If you’re unable to find kimchi at a local grocer, you’re in luck! It’s an easy (and forgiving) recipe that you can customize to your liking. Check out this video to see an easy way to make kimchi at home.
When you think of ramen, do you think of cheap, tasteless instant noodles packed full of sodium and MSG? Do you consider this a food you ate in college, and wouldn’t touch as an adult?
Well, Korea has taken what we think of ramen and turned it into a true treat. Ramen(라면) can be found in dozens of flavors. New flavors are continually released. The most common, shin ramyeon, is spicy, and enjoyed by Koreans in a cup, or by cooking on the stove.
What sets Korean ramen apart is how they cook it. Packs can include 3 or 4 different sets of flavorings and toppings. It’s normal to add other toppings as well, such as egg, cheese, green onion, or fish cake. The sky is the limit when it comes to customizing your bowl of ramen.
I have eaten Korean ramen in convenience stores, unstaffed restaurants, and even in Business class of Korea’s major airline Asiana Airlines. While the dish might sound simple, it is something that I always keep in my cupboard.
Check out this unstaffed Korean ramen shop in Seoul! Everything is self-serve AND unlimited! Eat all the ramen you want!
Want the perfect recipe for Korean ramen? Check out this video! Chef Roy Choi has perfected the recipe, and luckily, it’s easy to re-create! What’s the secret ingredient? Watch to find out!
Jokbal (Korean pig feet)
Right off the bat, you might be thinking “Pig’s feet? That’s nasty! Ain’t nobody got time for that!” And you’d be…wrong. Jokbal (족발) is an amazing pork dish. It’s less of the actual feet, and more of the leg.
Pork trotters are boiled in a variety of herbs and spices. They are sliced, and served with various toppings. I like to make a lettuce wrap with some spicy sauce and raw garlic. The meat is unbelievably soft and moist. It is also full of collagen (which is reportedly good for your skin).
This is another dish that pairs well with beer and/or soju. Don’t be put off by the name. If you’re visiting Korea, you’ll definitely want to check this dish out. Put away any preconceptions you might have, as any pork-loving person (such as myself) will surely enjoy this meal.
However, if you simply can’t get past the idea of eating pig’s feet, then try bossam. This is a similar dish, but made with boiled pork belly. At many restaurants, you can get a combination of both of these dishes. Bossam is a little fattier (it’s the cut of meat that’s used for grilled samgaepsal) but equally delicious.
This is definitely a foreigner-friendly dish. Thin slices of pork are battered and deep-fried, served with a sauce (ketchup and Worcestershire sauce usually). It can be stuffed with cheese or sweet potato. You can even get deathly spicy versions of this dish!
This dish has Japanese origins, but Koreans are putting their own spin on the dish. This can be found in various restaurants, including the ubiquitous Kimbap Chunguk. This is a dish that many new expats become very-well acquainted with as it is an easy way to introduce yourself to Korean food.
While one serving of donkassu (the romanization is up for debate) is often enough, I enjoy checking out some of the places offering free refills. You can sit and enjoy all the deep fried pork you heart desires.
No trip to Korea would be complete without trying ddeokbokki. This is a food that is loved by every generation in Korea. Rice cakes are stir-fried in a spicy sauce, bubbling away with fish cakes and boiled eggs.
This food can often be found being sold on the street, and is especially delicious on a chilly evening. For those of you who might not enjoy spicy foods, don’t worry! You can often find this in different varities, including a soy sauce base, or even a cream base!
There’s nothing like standing outside a busy street food vendor enjoying a plate of spicy, chewy rice cakes. The sauce is especially delicious, and you can dip various fried foods in it.
Ddeokbokki Town in Sindang Dong is a great place to try this dish. A street is lined with sellers selling the dish. Best of all, you can cook it right at the table! Feel free to customize the taste by adding various ingredients including cheese or fried dumplings!
In general, food in Korea is an interesting journey. Depending on your taste, you’ll find things you love, and things you despise. There are certain foods I can’t live without, and others I hope to never try again. But the only way to find out is to try them! Let your taste buds lead you on a culinary adventure the next time you’re in Korea!
What Korean foods can you not live without? Comment below! Watch my video on this by clicking here!
Korea does Korean food well. That’s a given. However, when it comes to Western food, they often miss the mark. While I spend most of my days enjoying various traditional Korean foods, I occasionally need a little taste of home.
Living in Seoul, it seems like I don’t need to go far to find a fast food restaurant. Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway and Pizza Hut can all be easily found here (though I’d most definitely welcome a Wendy’s). Korea’s own burger restaurant, Lotteria, can be hit or miss. My first impression of the restaurant, years ago, was that it was bordering on being inedible. However, they have continually been upgrading their menu, and I find myself enjoying it much more.
But sometimes I crave a nice juicy, hand-pressed burger. I have been disappointed so many times by places that slather on way too much sauce, use odd condiments, or cook the burger until it resembles a dry hockey puck.
Today, we are checking out ‘Yankee’s Burger’ (양키스 버거). The restaurant has various locations throughout Seoul. For this video, we visited the Apgujeong Rodeo Street location.
The restaurant is quite small, with limited seating. There is a nice large window with stools, which is perfect for getting a little sunshine on a nice summer’s day. The interior is very hipsterish, and the staff is young. Rap music plays in the background, which seems to fit the vibe of the restaurant well.
I observed a couple utilize valet parking before entering the restaurant. However, since I took public transportation, I don’t know much about this. But it might be an option for anyone looking to drive there.
The menu is pretty simple. It has burgers, pizza, drinks, and a few other appetizers. The beer menu looked nice with domestic beer on tap, and various foreign beers being sold in bottles. I absolutely had to have a Sam Adam’s to start my meal.
In all, we tested three different hamburgers, the chili cheese fries, a Meatholic pizza, and two beers.
See my full review and find out more about the menu by watching this video!:
We started our meal with three different burgers. Each burger had a unique flavor profile. Each burger came on a toasted bun served with various toppings, and side of jalapeno peppers.
The Rodeo Burger came topped with fresh vegetables, as well as mac and cheese. This was the ultimate comfort food. The mac and cheese combined with the hamburger was a true treat. This is hangover food at its finest.
The Mullae burger came topped with mushrooms, truffle oil, and a slice of salami. While the Rodeo Burger might appeal the my inner child, the Mullae Burger appeals to my desire to be fancy.
The chili cheese burger comes topped with…well, chili and cheese! While this burger was nice, I would recommend just getting the chili cheese french fries, and pairing it with one of the other burgers.
Finally, we ordered up one of their 13 inch pizzas. We went with the Meatholic which came topped with pulled pork, taco meat, and arugula. Getting a pizza at a burger place might lead you to think it would be subpar, but I was pleasantly surprised. Dipping it in the tomato sauce adds a whole other level of flavor. As someone who loves dipping sauces, I was a happy camper with this sauce. I would be sure to order up an extra portion so I could slather on that sauce nice and thick.
After trying the Rodeo Burger, the Mullae Burger, and the chilli cheese burger, I was stuffed! All of the burgers were hot, juicy, and served on a delicious bun.
If I were to come back and had to choose just one burger to eat, I would probably go with the Mullae burger. The saltiness of the thin slice of salami, mixed with the cool mayonnaise and truffle oil set this burger apart. Combine it with a side of chili cheese fries and an ice cold beer, and you have a great meal that won’t break the bank.
I would definitely also come back for the pizza! While this place is known as a burger joint, I would argue that they might even do pizza better than their own signature dish! The dipping sauce was the perfect topping.
Yankee’s Burger is a small restaurant, but they are serving big flavors. Is it the best hamburger in Korea? You’ll have to be the judge of that. I would certainly put it toward the top of the list. Be sure to check them out the next time you’re in the Apgujeong area!
Address: 662-14 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
If watching YouTube videos was a job, I’d make a decent salary. I spend way too much time watching everything from music videos to travel vlogs to whatever Shane Dawson happens to upload.
When it comes to YouTubers in Korea, there are plenty of channels in various sizes and styles. While you most likely know the ones who have been around awhile, you might find yourself wanting to binge watch some new content.
Today I’ll bring you 10 YouTubers in Korea to watch in 2020, and beyond! Whether you’re looking for information on moving to Korea as an English teacher, or you just want to be entertained, these are just a few (of the many) channels that I personally enjoy watching!
For this list, I’m choosing to only include channels with under 100K subscribers at the time of this writing, as well as channels in English. In no particular order:
Who they are: Amanda (Mandu) is from Canada, while Den is Korean. Together, they create videos on a range of topics related to Korea, including food, travel, and language.
Why you should watch: These videos include some professional looking camera work. They tackle various issues that aren’t normally covered by foreign YouTubers. ‘Den and Mandu’ upload regularly and consistently, and you’ll always find something that interests you in their content.
Who she is: Tasha wears many hats, including that of model, YouTuber, writer, and teacher. Her YouTube channel features various videos of her life in Korea, as well as her travel adventures.
Why you should watch: As a huge fan of travel vlogs, I’m always looking for places that aren’t documented a million times by other YouTubers. Tasha’s Malaysian travel series is some of her best work yet. I especially enjoy watching her discover new foods, as well as interacting with other travelers in her journeys.
3. Korean Ollie
Who he is: Ollie Gilbert is a British man living in Daegu, South Korea. He uploads videos focusing on his life as an expat teacher in the EPIK program. He is also a dog lover, Disney fanatic, and a vegetarian.
Why you should watch: If you are interested in coming to Korea as a teacher through the EPIK program, you’ll definitely want to check out Ollie’s channel. He has the most extensive library of content relating to the EPIK program, as well as other content for new teachers coming to Korea. He also takes requests, which is great if you have a specific question about moving abroad.
Who he is: Austin comes from Indiana and lives in Daejeon, South Korea. His YouTube channel primarily focuses on unique and interesting Korean foods. He often stands out as his videos are well-researched, and feature foods that even some of the locals don’t dare try.
Why you should watch: Austin is a true storyteller through his videos. The pace of the videos are relaxing, yet engaging. He features foods that I would hesitate to eat. However, he seems to really appreciate food, and the story and culture that comes with it. While his videos often run longer than most on this list, they are truly entertaining.
5. Alex Sigrist
Who he is: Alex comes from the great state of Ohio. After moving to Korea, he was able to learn the language, and found success on his Korean-language channel 미국친구 Michin Alex . He’s recently started an English-language channel and often features prominent YouTubers in Korea.
Why you should watch: No fancy edits, crazy jump cuts, or drone shots are needed for this channel. Alex is often times a one-man show, tackling various questions and giving his thoughts and opinions on various topics. For those of you looking for something a little more intellectual than random K-Pop reaction videos or Seoul apartment tours, Alex is the channel to check out.
Who they are: Steve Does Jobs is the newest channel on this list. While they only have roughly a dozen videos up at the time of this writing, they are surely destined to find success on the platform in 2020. The channel is the partnership of two people: Stephen Wagner and Wesley Chang .
Why you should watch: The channel has a fun concept (Stephen takes on fun jobs found in Korea), the host is fun and engaging, and the camera work and editing are pretty legit. Overall, the channel has something for everyone. If they continue to constantly upload with the same quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if they hit 100K subscribers in the near future.
7. How to Korea
Who she is: Victoria is an expat currently living in Seoul. Her channel features travel vlogs, as well was important information for those coming to South Korea.
Why you should watch: Victoria’s editing and voice are relaxing. Combined with informative insights and commentary, viewers really get to experience what it is like living in Korea. Furthermore, the videos are visually appealing with great camera shots and nice color corrections. I also enjoyed her Japan travel vlogs! Be sure to check those out.
Who they are: ‘Our Korean Journey’ is a family channel based in South Korea. They are Min and Tasha, a British/Korean couple, with two young children. They often show their adventures of traveling throughout Korea.
Why you should watch: If you’re looking for wholesome, family-friendly content, be sure to check them out! They always seem to be up to something fun, and the kids are often pretty funny!
Who he is: Cedric (Sky Cedi) is an American who moved to South Korea to teach English. He is a Korean/African-American man, and often discusses the social issues in regards to race, and the experience of growing up as half-Korea.
Why you should watch: Cedric’s videos are well-shot and produced. But beyond that, he is tackling issues that are rarely discussed. His most popular video, Growing Up Black & Korean | My Blasian Family Story, has been watched over one million times, and is an interesting insight into his life. He also has an on-screen charisma that keeps viewers engaged throughout the entirety of the video.
Who he is: What? You didn’t think I wouldn’t take the chance to plug my own content, did you? Well, I’m an American, living and eating my way through South Korea, as well as the other occasional trip through Asia.
Why you should watch: Because you’re on my blog, that’s why! But other than that, if you like watching videos of different foods, be sure to subscribe! While the majority of my videos are focused on Korea, you’ll also find content relating to Bali, as well as the Philippines. I hope to someday evolve the channel into discovering food and cultures around the world!
Well, there you have it. 10 YouTubers in Korea to watch in 2020, and beyond! There are so many that I could have listed, but forced myself to narrow it down to just 10.
Who did I miss? Who should I include in the next version of this post? Tell me in the comments below!
When you think of Korean food, you probably think of delicious BBQ, fresh seafood, or even spicy fried chicken. After living in Korea for a decade, I still find myself finding new and unique foods that I have yet to try. Take a trip to a new region of Korea, and you’ll open up a new world of culinary delights.
While I am the #1 fan of samgaepsal (Korean grilled pork belly), and could live off of fried chicken, I am also open to trying new and unusual foods. Let’s take a look at one of the weirdest, wildest, and most dangerous foods of South Korea.
San Nakji (산낙지)
San nakji is a very unique experience. Most people who travel to South Korea add this dish to their bucket list of food items to eat while on the peninsula. This is one dish that is definitely not for vegans or fans of PETA.
San nakji is literally ‘live octopus‘. The dish (if we can call it that) can be served two different ways. One is to take a small species of octopus out of a tank, chop it up into tiny pieces, and serve it with sesame oil and other optional garnishes. When the dish is served, diners will find the remnants of the octopus still wriggling around the plate. Diners should chew quick and vigorously .
The other way to eat san nakji is to take the octopus straight from it’s watery home, wrap it around a wooden chopstick, dip it in sesame oil – and eat it in one bite. This is an extreme way to eat a living animal, and is only for the brave. Diners must chew with extreme care, as deaths have occurred when the octopus isn’t chewed enough, and it sticks to the throat of the diner, effectively killing them.
This is one Korean food you’ll want to eat at your own risk! Check out this video to see just how a live octopus is eaten whole!
San nakji can be found in many restaurants around the country. Prices vary, but expect the damage to be roughly 10,000 – 25,000 Korean Won. Going to one of the many seafood markets (such as Noryangjin Fish Market) will ensure you’re able to get the freshest octopus possible.
Sannakji goes well with an ice cold beer (or a bottle of soju). If you’re visiting South Korea, you should definitely check it out (unless you are concerned with the welfare of octopuses – in which case you might want to skip this particular food!)
Would you eat a live octopus? Tell me in the comment section!
Seeing as Korea is a peninsula, it isn’t difficult to find fresh seafood. Raw fish can be found at restaurants all over the country, as well as in large fish markets, small outdoor markets, grocery stores, and even convenience stores.
For this video, I traveled to the Hapjeong District of Seoul. This neighborhood has a hip vibe to it, and it well known for couples as it makes for a great date evening.
Visiting ‘Miyavi’ (합정 미야비) was a great experience. The restaurant is small, and located on the second floor. The restaurant only has a few tables, while the counter can seat six patrons. You’ll get a first-row seat to the sushi chef in action.
Speaking of the sushi chef, Choi InHo (최인호) has a decade working at one of the finest hotels in the country. Watching him meticulously slice the raw fish proves his knowledge, passion, and creativity for delivering a memorable product.
While the ambiance of the restaurant exudes a romantic feeling, the random pop music playing in the background seems out of place (hello, Justin Bieber!). If I had to change one thing about the experience – this would be it. Businesses in Asia love to blast up-beat music, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by this. However, it was super random.
We started our meal with a dish I had never heard of. Raw flatfish (광어) is plated on a sauce made from vegetables and truffle. More truffle is grated on top of the fish. It is then fused with oak smoke.
While this may sound like a gimmick, the result was actually the highlight of the meal. The fish was soft and tender. Faint traces of the oak could be picked up. The sauce was rich. I could have left after this, and been satisfied.
What followed next was an assortment of 13 different types of raw seafood. I was most familiar with the raw tuna and salmon. After eating raw tuna on dozens of occasions – I can confidently say this was like none other. It was the best bite of raw fish I have ever eaten. It melted in my mouth with a flavor unlike any other tuna I have tried.
The other 12 pieces of sashimi on the plate, while amazing, just could never live up to that tuna. This is one piece of fish you don’t want to kill with going overboard with the soy sauce and wasabi! Please us it sparingly!
Moving on, we tried the potato/cheese/fish egg concoction. This was topped with a slab of butter. It seemed like a true dichotomy from all the raw fish we had just eaten. However, it was so tasty! The outside was like a deep fried mashed potato, while the inside was gooey and melted cheese. This is the type of food you need a beer to companion it with!
We also tried their beef hot pot, as well as the sorbet. These were both impressive as well!
Overall, 합정 미야비 is serving up some great food at reasonable prices. There are other izakayas and restaurants serving up fish with lower prices, but the quality is on a totally different level.
If nothing else, I would stop by for the truffle flatfish ceviche, as it is worth going out of your way for!
Address: 31-7 World cup-ro 3-gil, Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul