One dish that I believe is universally adored in Korea is hotteok. Hotteok is a leavened dough cake that is stuffed with cinnamon, sugar and nuts. Them the dough is flattened and fried. Through the frying process the sugar melts to create a delicious caramel filling. According to some accounts from food historians, this snack was brought to Korea by Chinese immigrants who first landed in Incheon’s international port. And even though the snack and the name resembles western “hot cake,” hotteok’s etymology is Chinese/Korean. “Ho” comes from the Chinese for barbarian and “tteok” is Korean for rice cake. The original version of this dish had meat inside like the Mongolian Khuushuur but it later evolved to a sweet snack.
Here is a guest post from Cindy Ung who is covering food and beauty in seoul at http://www.cunggie.com/
Finding good cupcakes in Seoul is almost impossible. Sometimes the cake is too dry, sometimes the frosting is not sweet enough, sometimes it’s not even real frosting, but just a whipped cream that’s bland in taste! The best part is being able to find that one spot that “hits the spot” and sharing it with the rest of the expat community here in Korea.
At the very top of the list is Sugar Daddy, a small shop in Itaewon where the baker is in the store baking and decorating as she sells cupcakes from the same table finally opened a café by the McDonald’s. This extremely small and cozy spot is filled with all things delicious which are not only cupcakes!
Sugar Daddy offers cupcake sized pies, mini cheesecakes, fudge bars, cookies, and cupcakes of traditional flavors as well as all things crazy. Many of the ingredients used in the recipes are ordered from foreign markets and online stores which explains the quality of the baked goods. Furthermore, the owner (Yumi Jung) tries to incorporate all things crazy that Americans love into her baked goods which provides her with another bonus thumbs up.
On Monday I went to Fell n Cole and had their funky banana ice cream, the Gorgonzola ice cream and the lemon ginger. All were very creamy and packed with flavor. The banana one was my favorite and had a subtle banana flavor and nice, yet not overpowering, sweetness. The lemon ginger was zingy and the ginger pop was just right. The Gorgonzola ice cream was like watching a unicorn being attached by zombies. The ice cream is disturbing but you can’t keep tasting it. It has a true Gorgonzola flavor but with cool cream. Yummy.
One more thing: the flagship store in Hongdae will be closing at the end of December. They have a shop in the Galleria and they hope to find a place in Itaewon.
Dessert: Fell + Cole
This creative ice cream shop makes up new flavors almost everyday. On a given day you could ice cream made from perilla leaves, squash, green tea and whisky, salted caramel and much more. Don’t worry they have delicious sounding ice cream like “Blueberry Banana” and “Just Boring Vanilla.”
Cost: 3,000 won
Address: Mapo-gu Seogyo-dong 408-1 Ph#: 070-4411-1434
While walking down by Hongdae I spotted a new stall that was booming loud techno music and some interesting new snacks. They are called egg balls and they are like crispy waffles with a choice of flavoring. They had peanut, chocolate chips and original. I got the chocolate chip and they were good. The balls are crisp and light and have a light egg batter. I highly recommend you get some.
You can find them across from the trick eye museum in Hongdae.
This was one of the better meals that I have had in awhile. The food is creative, beautiful and tasty. Everything has a Japanese flair from the styling to the bento boxes. This place is known for their desserts but their savory dishes are quite good as well. Their spicy tuna rolls are the best I have had in the city and have a good balance of rice to spicy tuna. I am always a sucker for sliders and their shrimp one is poppy and doesn’t skimp on shrimp.
For dessert I recommend their warm miso chocolate cake. It is sophisticated and surprising especially with their ice creams.
Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong 682-1 02-749-1488
Go out Hanganjin Station (Line 6) exit 3.
Price Range: 10,000-30,000 per person