Central Seoul 2, Non-Korean Eats

Quick Bites: Gyeongnidan Food Tour

Originally published in the June Edition of Seoul Magazine. Reprinted with Permission.

The Gyeongnidan area is one of the hottest places for food thanks to the rise of young entrepreneurs that are focused on taste rather than slippery dreams of franchising. If you are tired of the Itaewon food scene, head out Noksapyeong Station (Line 9) exit 2 and cross to the other side of the street. Here are a list of some of my favorite new establishments.

Stop #1: Chan Bros. Coffee
Hands down, the best cappuccino I have had in Seoul. The espresso is perfectly pulled from the precise La Marzocco Machine and the milk is gently frothed to create sweet micro-bubbles of moist foam.
Chans Bros Coffee
Price: 4,000

Stop #2: Trevia Pizza di Roma
Hand-pulled pizza dough that goes through a baking and then a toasting process to create a snappy crust. They don’t skimp on the toppings here. My favorite is the cheese-less Siciliana topped with tomato sauce, fruit capers, anchovies and real green and black olives.
Trevia Pizza di Roma
Price: 5,500-6,300 a slice

Stop #3 Bao
Here you’ll get properly wok’d noodles or rice with an assortment of different sauces and toppings. You first have to custom order your dish. I got the wide rice noodles, with Thai sauce, all veggies, beef and holy basil. The place has a cool hip-hop feel about it and sitting here eating a bowl of noodles makes me feel like I am in Thailand.
Price: 7,500-10,000

Stop #4 Siberia 1 & 2
My days of having to go all the way to Dongdaemun to get a proper bowl of Borsch with a shot of vodka are over. Offering a variety of Russian favorites such as Pelmeni (lamb dumplings), Pirozhki (buns stuffed with onions and potato), and of course light, crepe-like blini’s. Their Cherries Jublini has vanilla ice cream with triple sec, fresh orange and lit on fire with Cherry Brandy. It’s a dessert and a drink.
Price: 4-6,000

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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Food News

February Seoul Magazine: Retro Oven, Steamed and Grilled Shellfish

You can find out my recommended eats for February in the current issue of Seoul Magazine. You can find the magazine at local bookstores and at many eateries and bars in Seoul. They are also given out on Korean Air and are at visitor centers of Seoul.

Here is a taste of what is in the book: Steamed and Grilled Shellfish, Vegan Chocolate and Tofu Desserts, Hot soups, chicken in a cup, and the best bread in the city. Pick up a copy today to find out more.


Find out more in the February Issue of Seoul Magazine. You can see their online content on their revamped website here.
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Central Seoul, Korean Eats, The Best of Seoul

Review: Black Fowl is Fair: Black Chicken Ginseng Soup

This article was originally published by Seoul Magazine in the August 2010 issue. It is being reprinted here with permission. Please read my monthly columns in Seoul Magazine. The magazine can be found in many establishments around the city and at their bookstore in Samcheongdong. You can also read their online magazine at http://www.seoulselection.com/index.php/home/

Black Chicken Samgyetang at Kuryeo Samgyetang Seoul, Korea

   The idea of eating black foods seems like a paradox. Maybe it’s because we have all learned that burnt steaks, chicken, and grilled cheese don’t taste very good. Or maybe it’s because we all see ourselves as beings of white light and black foods might muddy that image. Whatever the reason, the concept of “black foods” is not instantly associated with deliciousness.

    An enigma in the food world is Black Chicken or called O-golgye in Korea. This rare bread of chicken has black flesh and black bones. This rare strain of chicken is very difficult to breed- I learned that one farmer in Jirisan (a mountain in the southern region in Korea) is only able to raise 50 a year.

Finding restaurants that serve this dish is also rare. After a long search, I went to Kuryeo Samgyetang over by City Hall. Here they prepare the chicken like poule au pot: the black chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, a clove of garlic, ginko nuts, and jujube (Korean date). The chicken is then stewed until the flesh is melt-off-the-bone tender and the broth rich. Just before serving, the chicken is topped with green onions.

    Served in a circular ceramic bowl, at first glance, the cross-legged black chicken in the whitish broth looks like a paintbrush drawn ying-yang sign. In the broth floats a circular purple jujube, a stalk of ginseng, and some green chopped onion. It’s very mindful.

    After admiring this dish, you might be wondering how you are supposed to eat it. There are no rules. You can start by taking your chopsticks and spoon to eat the black flesh and grey/white broth.

Black Chicken Samgyetang at Kuryeo Samgyetang Seoul, Korea

    The classic, advanced way to eat O-golgye is to use your chopsticks to split the chicken in half and pull out all the black bones in the chicken. Afterwards, you can take the rice and all the stuffing and stir it together to make rich rice porridge.

    Korean people don’t think of O-golgye as a meal, but as medicine. While talking with Professor Jia Choi of Ewha University, I learned that people of a certain body type: the Soo-umin (lanky, tall and thin) benefit greatly from eating this dish. She also mentioned that one of her friends always has at least 5 black chickens in her freezer and whenever she feels like is going to be ill, she cooks one. After eating it, she says she feels reborn.

    Now I don’t know what sort of body type I have, but eating this chicken has become my new obsession. I had this dish on Wednesday night and afterwards I went out drinking until 6am the next morning. I followed this outing with long days at the office and late nights (until 3am) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I don’t know if it was the chicken, but normally, I turn in around 11pm. I didn’t suffer from hangovers and I felt energized the whole time. I am going to have to return soon to see if this was a fluke or the real deal.

Kuryeo Samgyetang
Seoul, Jeong-gu, Seosomundong 55-3.
Directions: Go our City Hall Station Subway Station (Line 2) Exit 10 and walk 2 blocks. It’ll be on the right.

Whole Fried Chicken at Kuryeo Samgyetang Seoul, Korea