Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kimchiholics' Anonymous

I wrote this for all those that love Kimchi. 

Hi, my name is (insert name) and I am a kimchiholic. I have been addicted to Kimchi my entire life and it has caused me endless happiness. If I am without it for a day, I get angsty. Please have kimchi with every meal.

My Six Favorite Naengmyeon 냉면 Places in Korea by Daniel Gray

Naengmyeon Comic!
Hi All, 

I was asked about my favorite naengmyeon places for an interview and I thought about it and came up with a list. I figured in a world with too many choices. I should curate my choices a bit so you don't waste calories. At my age, I can't waste any calories. I can only focus on the best. Click on the addresses to go to the Google Map!
Pyeongyang Myeonok Seoul
1. Pyeongyang Myeonok (평양면옥)

This place is the best for the broth and the noodles are made so fine. It's something that is so balanced that it is ethereal. Its after eating at lots of other naengmyeon places that you realize what the essence of the dish is. It's the light, pickled broth that is crisp like spring water; the floral buckwheat scent of the noodles; the hearty yet clean taste of the beef and egg; the crispness of the slivered pear and cucumber. 

Address: Seoul, Jung-gu, Jangchung-dong-1-ga 26-14 (서울특별시 중구 장충동1가 26-14)
Phone: 02-2267-7784
Subway: Euljiro-4-ga Station, Line 2 & 5, Exit 4, first right then first left.
Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, Line 2, 4, 5, Exit 5 (cross the street and go straight).

2. Woolae Oak Eujiro Place (우래옥)

Woolae Oak is like refined, modernized naengmyeon. The broth is a bit richer and with a beefy body, the noodles have a bit more chew to it. The meat has a bit more density as well. It's a great bowl of chilled noodles, but it is different from everyone else. I think it is the quality of ingredients that they use since they specialize in beef barbecue. It's a classic place and there are generations (since 1946) Koreans that go here to get their fix.

Address: 62-29 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울특별시 중구 창경궁로 62-29 (주교동)
Phone: 02-2272-2767
Subway: Euljiro 4-ga Station (Subway Line 2 or 5), Exit 4. Go 10m and turn right onto the small alleyway. Go 50m to arrive at Woolaeoak on the left side.

3. Ojangdong Heungnam Jip (오장동흥남집)

Heungnam Naengmyeon has a lot more chew. I mean a lot more. It's because the area is known for adding potato starch to the noodles that adds that bite and silky texture. For Koreans, this chew is what they are looking for and its the main draw for this place. They make the noodles in house (see comic above). Their famous dish is their spicy fish mixed naengmyeon (회냉면) and it is the one I usually get because the sauce is quite delicious. I just have to have patience to mix it into the strong noodles before eating. It gives your mouth a workout. Scissors are necessary to eat this dish (to cut the noodles up a little).

Address: 114, Mareunnae-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 마른내로 114 (오장동)
Phone: 02-2266-0735

Nampo Myeonok
4. Nampo Myeonok (남포면옥)

Another classic place that grew up in the middle of the busy city hall district. They are famous for making their own turnip broth and for their mungbean pancakes. The taste is similar to Pyeongyang Myeonok and you can taste the light buckwheat smell of the noodles. I also like to get the Olbaan which is the hot naengmyeon soup here in winter time. It's warming and the flavor of the broth is quite soothing.

Address: 24, Eulji-ro 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 중구 을지로3길 24 (다동)
Phone: 02-777-3131

5. Myeongdong 1-bonji (명동1번지) in Chuncheon

I know, it's a dakgalbi place but it is the best for that makguksu. The difference between naengmyeon and makguksu is that the noodles are not as chewy. They are most like a fine soba noodle. What I love about this place is that the red chili past sauce is wave of flavors: tart, spicy, salty, savory. It's great with the fresh greens, a dash of sugar (yes... I know that sounds weird but, trust me, it really brings out the flavor of this dish) and a good amount of sesame oil. Even if you have eaten way too much, order this. Your stomach will make room for it. Oh, the dakgalbi here is the best as well. Like I said, it's their red chili paste sauce!

Address: 7, Geumgang-ro 62beon-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do 강원도 춘천시 금강로62번길 7 (조양동)
Phone: 33-256-6448
Pyeongyang Naengmyeon. Photo by
6. Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면) in Gyeongju

This was my first place to have naengmyeon in my life so its a nostalgic place for me. I went there a while back again to discover it is not the best naengmyeon in Korea. It's just generally alright. The broth is a bit vinegary and very brown, the noodles are a bit tough and the ice crystals in it just seemed crude. Anyway, my journey for naengmyeon started here and it is still good. I've just seen what else is out there. Still, if you need naengmyeon in Gyeongju, this is a solid place to go. 

Address: 109-2, Wonhyo-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도 경주시 원효로 109-2 (노동동)

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.