Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Korean Food Story: Korean Spring Greens!

Boseong Green Tea Fields Korea
Now that spring is right around the corner, I thought I would talk to you all about bom namul or Korean Spring Greens. These are greens are very seasonal and only last for a few weeks out of the year. You know how some times you just crave something fresh like a vegetable or fruit and you just eat a whole plate of them? I think that’s how many Koreans feel when winter is finishing. There is just something necessary in the spring greens that their body is telling them they just need to eat. In spring, when my Korean mother and I go for a mountain hike, for her it is a shopping excursion. She always has a basket to take with her because she’ll pick certain leaves and vegetables and then she’ll make a spring greens bibimbap. The vegetables that she picks are fresh shoots and leaves for if they are old, they taste bitter. My mother told me that the spring greens have a lot of panax, you know the same stuff in ginseng, so by eating it, I will be healthy.

On our walks she’ll usually pick chui-namul which is a a fuzzy leaf that is a light green. She also finds some cham-namul which looks like cilantro. She’ll blanch these and make vegetable side dishes with them.
Different Korean Spring Vegetables from
There are lots of other bom namul. For example, one of my favorites is bomdong which looks like a green chrysanthemum flower except its like large cabbage that is about 15 centimeters across. You can use this fresh tasting cabbage to make geotjeori or a fresh kimchi salad. The crunchy and green flavor is a delicious in a garlic and chili dressing.

Also at spring, I love naengi or shepherd’s purse. It’s got a herbaceous and sharp green, almost turnip-like flavor. It’s wonderful in a soy bean paste stew because the strong flavor accentuates the bean paste broth.

Another favorite is dol-namul which looks like rosemary herb but with a crisp, juicy bite. The flavor is like green sunshine and you just drizzle some vinegared red chili sauce on it. This particular vegetable is amazing as a side with raw sashimi.

One of the more unusual ones is saebal-namul which is a spring green that looks like a stick  person. The name, saebal, means bird’s feet and it is a sturdy little green that has a subdued crunch. This spring green is great in saebal pajeon, or spring greens pancake. It tastes great with a cup of makgeolli, a cold rice beer.

Other great photos are on the Korea Blog written by Suzy Chung at

Spring Greens Restaurant Recommendation

picture by ji6668
In Seoul it looks like places with some Spring Green Menus now Oyull. Looks like a fancy upscale sorta place and it uses all organic vegetables and stuff.
Seoul Gangnam-gu Gangnam Daero 406 Gulras Tower 9th Floor
02-554-0511. Information and picture from ji6668

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Week in Pictures: Food, Streets and a Baby

It's been a fun but busy week as I have been meeting old friends and setting up a new business. A photo goal of mine has been to really focus on composition and post processing to really make the photos pop. I have been using VSCO and Instagram (find me at Seouleats) to do this just because it is easiest to do. I guess like most of the world I have been moving towards microblogging platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr out of convenience and fun. While I would love to make a living from blogging and eating, I know the reality. It's a fun hobby but it won't feed my wife (or future daughter.) Anyway, on to the pictures.

In this first picture I wanted to get the BBQ setting before the meal. I added a bit of contrast and some vibrancy to make the side dishes pop. I also put the menu because I love the font. It is from Jeju Harubang Dwetgogi which is my go to place for Jeju black pork.

Here is a picture which I didn't process too much. I did a bit to balance the skin tone but overall, the natural light took care of it. I took a series of pictures and picked the best one.

This picture I really changed up. It originally had my friends in it but because they are shy, I changed it up. I cropped the photo to just the food which I took with my Panasonic LX100 which has great sharpness. I liked the arrangement of the bowls so I really focused on that. Then I added contrast and sharpness and saturation to bring the colors out. This is from Boriwool, a great barley rice place in Hongdae.

This photo I added exposure and contrast to add light. I saturated it to bring out the color. I took this from Pongdang Craftbeer in Sinsadong.

This shot was my favorite of the week and I waited to get the right composition. I wanted to get a shot that showed Seoul at night. I thought by having the couples was interesting as well as the person in the wheelchair. In retrospect maybe I should have left the wheelchair couple out. Anyway, I brought out the shadows and then extreme contrast and exposure to bring out the lights and turn the sky blue.

- Posted on the go by Thumbalyn and Thumbadumb please excuse any typos and grammarerrors. Follow me on Instagram at Seouleats for more posts on the go.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beers at Pong Dang Craft Beer Company Garusugil

So after a long week at work I decided to go for a walk and take some photos. Friday was a good night and lots of people were out on dates and hanging out with friends. The Garusugil street by Sinsa Station is an energetic and hip place to hang out. The place has good energy and there are lots of places to eat at, shop at and generally have fun at. After a long walk I decided to have a drink at Pong Dang Craft Beer Company. They have a good selection of beer and they have a western bar so I didn't feel so terrible just having a drink by myself.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Before jumping on that Crowded Subway Car

Sometimes it is better to just wait for the next train. Take this morning, I was rushing to get to the subway platform and there were just loads of people. I could see it. Elbows were at the ready and when the doors opened, people were pushing their way out as others were pushing their way in. It looked like pornographic gangbang, or I would imagine for I have never seen those things. Anyway, it was horrific and I could see the anger. There were red-eyed subway riders pissed off from their morning commute about to start their days all pissed off. I could have pushed my way into that mess just before the doors closed. Just not today. I decided to wait the two minutes for the next train and I feel calm, collected and ready to tackle my day. I might even be able to grab a seat and take a nap. It's much better than smelling the shampoo and cologne of a fellow anchovy in a subway tin. So. I implore you. Sometimes, for your state of mind, it is better to wait. 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Korea Represents at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants with 3 Restaurants

By Daniel Gray

  At the unveiling, A-list chefs, restauranteurs and media from all over the Asian region gathered as the third edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna was unveiled at a ceremony at Capella Singapore on March 9.

    The regional event of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant organization, the competition sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Aqua Panna covers Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

Event group editor William Drew began the evening by discussing the judging process and selection of the best restaurants in Asia, regardless of decor or pedigree. He said that the judging panel of 300 were made up of 1/3 chefs and restauranteurs, 1/3 journalists and food critics, and 1/3 of well traveled gourmets. The list represented what they thought were the best restaurants in the last 18 months.

   Gaggan Anaand’s eponymous Bangkok restaurant, where classic Indian dishes are reinterpreted with modernity and flair, topped the new list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in this year. The chef celebrated with his team and by later calling his mother. Narisawa in Tokyo, featuring innovative fine dining with a focus on nature, was named No. 2. Interestingly, last year’s winner, Nahm in Bangkok, Thailand, fell to No. 7.

    Restaurants from more countries were represented this year, including Antonio’s in the Philippines at No. 48 and Cuisine Wat Damnak in Cambodia, rounding out the list at No. 50. At the third Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant event, Korea claimed three spots on the list. La Yeon’s Korean Haute Cuisine restaurant came in at number 38 and was given, “The One to Watch” award by Peroni Italy. Chef/owner Ryu Taehwan’s of Ryunique leaped onto list at number 27. For La Yeon and Ryunique, it was the first time for them to enter the list. Chef Yim Jungsik’s restaurant, Jungsikdang, jumped ten spots from number 20 to come in at number 10.
William Drew, the group editor of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Aqua Panna hiply answered his thoughts on Korean food, “hashtag trend.” He further expounded, “Korean food is getting popular around the world even in places where there isn’t a large Korean population. The awareness of Korean ingredients and cuisine is on the rise and it wouldn’t surprise me to see if a Korean restaurant would make it onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

 Other new restaurants on this year’s winner list include Fu He Hui from China, which landed high on the chart at No. 19, the Chairman in Hong Kong at No. 35 and Osteria Mozza in Singapore at No. 45.

As the region’s top chefs celebrated another year of hard work over champagne and high-end sake, they were reinvigorated to sharpen their knives and return to the kitchen.
  The list is created by the Diners Club Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, a group of more than 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene.
 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants was launched in 2013 and takes in six voting regions: India and Subcontinent; Southeast Asia – South; Southeast Asia – North; Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau; mainland China and Korea; Japan.

I asked Mr. Drew, if any restaurant in Korea could make it on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. He answered, “Yes. They are different voters. It is a different timeline and different list.

    For the complete 2015 list, go to

    Daniel Gray is the President of Delectable Travels, and the author of Seoul Eats,

Jungsikdang Head Chef Kim Jeongho