As an American expat, the search for a good burger in Seoul is never-ending. After a decade of living in South Korea, I can definitely say I have had my fair share of both good – and bad – hamburgers.(more…)
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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