Friday, November 18, 2011

Adventures in Food: Dumplings, Stuffed Tofu and an Izakaya

Poong Worl in Sinsadong
With the holidays coming up, I have been catching up with a number of friends and guests. Since I am known to be a foodies, we have been checking out some of my favorite places and new places. One of my new favorite places is Poong Worl in Sinsadong. It's off one of the side streets of Garusugil (Sinsadong 02-547-9923).  It's a nice little izakaya that has a variety of grilled dishes, sashimi, and more. My favorite dish there is their natto omelet. I love natto and when it is in an omelet it is fabulous. They top it here with bonito flakes so it is kinda like an okonamiyaki. We also had some great grilled fish there and some seafood ramen. The staff is friendly and the portions are big. The place is not cheap (but no place on garusgil is). The average check here will be about 25-30,000 a person with alcohol.
Poong Worl in Sinsadong
I think I posted a picture of hotteok from W.e. last week but I was going through my pictures and I found this better one. This is one of my favorite places for dessert because they put a creative twist on Korean favorites. The banana hotteok doesn't have fresh bananas inside- that would make the dessert too mushy. Instead they stuff it with dried banana chips, walnuts, almonds, peanut, and cinnamon. Seriously, why hasn't someone taken this concept overseas? The recipe is simple. It's leavened flour that is stuffed and then fried up in oil. Here they put grilled banana slices between the layers and sprinkle a bit of pistachio nut on top. You can get it served with ice cream. W.e: West and East Gangnam-gu Sinsa Dong 518-8
02-3445-0919. The banana hotteok dish costs about 10,000 won. It is big enough for two.

Banana Hotteok at W.e.
Dumpling Hot Pot at Sadong Myeonok
When my foodie/chef friend Joseph stopped by, I had to find a place that would be local and that would impress. Sadong Myeongok. It's a pretty famous place in Insadong. The place has been around for about 30 years and they are famous for their giant elephant ear dumplings. They are the size of a fist and they are packed full of meat, tofu, chives, garlic and more. The dumpling hotpot (35,000 for the large which is enough to feed 4 people) is one of the best dishes here because you get the dumplings in a rich broth with noodles and vegetables. They even put some some beef in the dish and it is great when it is slightly cooked in the broth.

The place is full of antiques and there is even a tank with some fish.

173 Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 02-725-1211
Goldfish (for seeing not for eating) at Sadong Myeonok
Tofu stuffed with chicken and quail egg
Finally, Sunim, one of our chefs at O'ngo Food is very creative. I am constantly surprised by the dishes she comes up with. For one of the students that came, she whipped up this dish. It is a tofu wrapper that is stuffed with minced chicken and a quail egg. I'm not sure how she cooked it, but it was delicious. Next time, I'll have to watch her so I can see the process.

Dan