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Food for thought: Chili as Stress Reliever

The chili pepper in South Korea is quite significant. Which is sort of strange since, it only came to Korea in the year 1580 because of the Portuguese missionaries. They had also been through Japan and China, but Korea really seemed to gravitate towards this new spicy flavor. Nowadays Korean food is known for its red spiciness. In contrast, most North Koreans prefer food that is mild and quite bland.

Chilies in South Korean cuisine are pickled, fermented, dried, and ground. The chilies range in spiciness from mild to “blow your top” hot. They even make a special fermented paste called gochujang that is often used to flavor braised dishes and used to flavor vegetables and rice. If you go to the area of Sunchang families for generations have been making vats of this red chili paste that they store in large slab pottery pots called O’nngi. In order to coax proper fermentation, they wrap around the tops of each O’nngi pot with a rope that has bits of charcoal, pine needles and dried red chilies.
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Review: Daejangjangi Fabbro

Fabbro

The chef from the famous Daejangjangi (Blacksmith) Hwadeok Pizza in Bukchon have opened up an upscale Italian restaurant in the same area. The Italian restaurant is set in a hanok and decorated with antique furniture and serving ware that delightfully merges Korean and Italian traditions. The open beams and the high hanok ceilings lit up by the simple iron candlers make the venue look like a cathedral for foodies. Everything feels crafted like the black iron pizza pans and the ceramic pizza pans. The oven is centrally placed like an altar and it is obviously the heart of the entire restaurant. Pizzas come out with perfectly baked crusts freckled with a bit of char- evidence of the duel the food had with fire in the oven. The pizzas are all topped with a tart sauce and top quality ingredients. The Pulcinella Bianca has black olives, ham, homemade ricotta cheese, ream and mushrooms- amazing. There is also the Ripieno which is a calzone style pizza stuffed with veggies, meat and cheese. They also have great pastas such as their seafood pasta which is like a bouillabaisse. They even make some unusual pastas like the ridged Reginette and slick Pappardelle. Their ricotta and pita salad comes with a crescent moon pita and pure ricotta cheese. This is definitely one of the best Italian restaurants in Seoul.

Daejangjangi Fabbro
Jongno-gu Gahoedong 202-1
02-764-4267

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Review: 2046 Pan Steak

Steak was one of the big trends last year and it doesn’t seem to be losing traction. One of the unique restaurants that started this trend was 2046 Pan Steak which is just a small restaurant in the basement of Gaedong street. The interior is spartan. The main decorations are the smoke exhaust fans that hang from the ceiling. They hang higher than the typical Korean barbecue restaurant and they double as a lamp. Even with the army of exhaust fans, there is still a light haze from all the sizzling steaks they serve. The concept here is simple. A steak is half cooked in a sizzling cast iron pan and then brought to the table. The steak is served with fresh spinach and mushrooms. A polite server explained the process of how to eat the steak as he cut it up. The fresh spinach tossed in beef fat was savory and so were the garlic topped mushrooms. The steak was of decent quality especially at the price point of 14,000 won. At Pan Steak, you can eat the steak plain or dip it in their signature steak sauce, which is like A1 sauce but a tad sweeter, or their chili oil sauce. Their steak here comes with a small side of rice which is more of a symbolic gesture since Koreans need rice to complete a meal.
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