Central Seoul, Non-Korean Eats

Wano: Kaiseki Cuisine in Samcheongdong

Wano
Fresh Tofu Soup and Tapas

In the fashionable district of Samcheong-dong sits Wano, a kaiseki-style Japanese restaurant. The original hanok it sits in is over 90 years old, but it was recently renovated so only the original frame remains. The owner, Shim Jung-eun, lived in Japan over 10 years so the food is authentic and fresh. There is a sense of art and precision to each dish.

Kaiseki cuisine is considered to be one of the highest forms of cuisines in Japan and it should take the diner on a journey in order to showcase the fresh ingredients of the season and the skill of the chef.

Some of the highlights of the multi-course meal I enjoyed had steamed giant clam over seasoned eggplant; a barbecue course with shrimp, ginko nuts, and pork; various sashimi; broiled fish filled with eggs; silky, thick soba; and the meal was finished with fruit and a surprisingly sweet egg omelet with crunchy walnuts. The handmade tofu soup that simered throughout the meal was also a nice touch.

I would like to say that this place is a bargain for 50,000 won a person. I think there were 8 different dishes and each were distinctly different from each other. The setting in the hanok made the place romantic and homey. If you were looking for a quiet romantic dinner then I would recommend this place. They also have a sake and limited wine selection here.

Wano
Jongro-gu, Samcheong-dong 113-2
02-725-7881

Chilled Beef Salad with turnip and onions
Giant Clam over eggplant
Assorted Sashimi
Broiled Pregnant Fish  
Grilled Course
Soba
Dessert: Sweet Egg with Walnut
Wano Interior


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Photographs

A Day Of Sights And Food

Seoul is always full of surprises and I always see something new as I wander the city with friends. While visiting Namsan Tower I saw a Hell’s Angels-like crew of Korean Police officers parked near the tower. I don’t know why they were there but I don’t think there was some raid or anything. 
The interesting thing about the police officers are the bikes- they drive nice bikes. Most of the bikes are either Harley Davidson’s or BMW bikes. That’s pretty cool, right? The Popo in Seoul cruise in style.
If you go over to the Samcheongdong area you’ll see a big fence that has a very interesting painting of a naked Mona Lisa. Look how they have strategically placed the trees. I also love the blush on her cheeks. 
The display is an advertisement for an art show at the National Museum of Art that will show naked pieces of art.
Lunch was at a tteokgalbi place over in Samcheongdong. I don’t remember the name of the place but it is on the corner from Samcheongdong Sujebi. They had delicious marinated pork tteokgalbi, stone bowl rice and decent side dishes. They had a wasabi marinated jelly dish that was good. The place is usually packed on the weekends and I can see why.
On Wednesday Nights at Dillinger’s they have wings night (300 won wings). I went with my work colleagues to enjoy 20 wings and some other foods. The burgers at Dillinger’s are quite good- nicely spiced with a bit of oregano. I recommend you get the spicy wings and the green curry wings. The green curry wings are delicious with savory notes of coconut milk.
Dan
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Cafes/Bars, Central Seoul

World Mini Cafe

World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong
World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong

Cafes are a dime a dozen and most of the time the coffee is not the focal point in Korea. The cafe is the setting to have conversations with friends. Samcheongdong has many great cafes and World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong has a wonderful interior with amazing miniatures made by the artist/barista. Here are some pictures of the pieces inside the museum.

Dan

See the location on my Foursquare Page

World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong

World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong


World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong


World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong


World Mini Cafe in Samcheongdong

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Cafes/Bars, Central Seoul

Earl Grey Chocolate Pie at Retrona Pie

Retrona Pie
Classy Interior at Retrona Pie

Whereas the main street of Samcheongdong has become uber commercialized and is starting to lose its soul, there is a new alley that’s right behind it that has some quaint, artsy cafes. My new find is Retrona Pie which has a retro interior and an aluminum trailer on the roof with its name. It’s a three story tart and pie joint and coffee shop and it’s a great place to chillax for an hour or two.

On my first visit there I got a green tea latte and an Earl Grey Chocolate Tart. The latte was fine- nice and fluffy. The pie…The pie was amazing. The snap was snappy- forcibly so and the two chocolate layers were nice and rich. There was a hint of earl grey tea in the dessert that was softened by the cream topping. Very nice.
No complaints about the food, but I have to warn you a bit about the layout. There is no sitting on the first floor and the first step is noticeably higher than a normal step. If you are not careful, you might trip. Also, the 3rd floor is mega hot. Besides that, awesome place. 
Retrona Pie (레토로나파이)
02-735-5668
Location: In Samcheongdong behind the left side of the main street.

Earl Grey Chocolate Tart at Retrona Pie
The Pie was a hit at Retrona Pie
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Photographs, Tidbits of Zen

Drink Coffee: Do Stupid Things Faster and with More Energy

Spotted at Retrona Pie in Samseongdong

This sign is hilarious! I spotted this at Retrona Pie in Samcheongdong. A full review is coming up.

Dan

Come take a cooking class or take a Culinary Tour in Seoul! http://www.ongofood.com
Pictures are taken either with my Panasonic DMC-G2 Camera with 20mm Lens or with my iPhone 4G
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