Daniel Gray is a Korean-American Adoptee that returned to Korea in 2005 to rediscover his roots. He is a Korean food expert that has appeared on Bizarre Foods, Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain and more. He does food tours, events, and consulting in Seoul and owns two restaurants: Brew 3.14 and Brew 3.15 in Seoul.
I feel like I am Susumu's publicist from OK2 Kitchen, but I do it out of love instead of money. The other day someone asked me for a great restaurant that has excellent food but is value for money. I usually recommend OK2 Kitchen for the food is good, the service is friendly, and the skilled chefs make excellent cuisine using fresh ingredients. Susumu doesn't need a publicist. His food speaks for him. Here is some food I had during my last visit: a Poached Duck Egg and truffle salad and a dessert plate. (Susumu was kind enough to send over some ice cream and chocolate souffle as service. Thanks.)
The Best Jajamyeon in Seoul by Daniel Gray Jajangmyeon 짜장면: Korea's favorite hand pulled noodles in an black sauce is also a favorite dish of mine. It's so famous they even have a holiday for it. It's filling and hearty like a bowl of spaghetti but with Asian flair. It's one of those dishes that you can get whenever you need a quick meal and it doesn't break the wallet. It's a pretty ubiquitous dish and every Chinese restaurant must have it. If it does it well, the place becomes famous. If it is just alright, it is just a meal and gets classed in with all of the other places in the city. I can't say I have had any seriously terrible jajangmyeons except maybe some delivery places (where the noodles are overcooked and terribly clumped together so it takes like 10 minutes to get the sauce mixed into it) but even then it is still edible. With the noodles, I love to get fried dumplings and a place is good fried dumplings or some other sides like tangsuyok
I was searching for calories in Korean foods and drink and I came across this great link. Kitty is a recent returnee to Korea and she has compiled an excellent list of Korean foods and their calorie, carbohydrate, and protein content. Here are some of the more interesting finds: Snacks 김밥 Kimbap: Rice rolls with vegetables and ham. 300 g =484 kcal 73.81 g carbs 12.1 g protein 15.6 g fat 무지개떡 Mujigae Ddeok: Rainbow colored glutinous rice cake. 100 g=234 kcal 53.24 g carbs0.78 g fat Kimchi 김치볶음 Kimchi Bokkeum: Stir-fried kimchi. 94.5 g=110 kcal 2.2 g carbs 5.23 g protein 8.92 g fat 깍두기 Ggakdugi: Cubed radish kimchi. 50 g=16 kcal 3.08 g carbs 0.6 g protein 0.14 g fat 동치미 Dongchimi: Chopped radish kimchi in served in water. 100 g=11 kcal 2.26 g carbs 0.5 g protein 0 g fat 배추김치 Baechu Kimchi:Common (napa cabbage) kimchi. 60 g=11 kcal 1.51 g carbs 0.99 g protein 0 g fat 백김치 Baek Kimchi: Cabbage kimchi without hot pepper. 50 g=10 kcal 1.25 g carbs 0.88
Just in case you were wondering, one bottle of Soju contains 540 calories. That's like 4 beers. So to put it in perspective, you would need to walk about two hours to exercise it off. (Walking two hours with a soju hangover is not an easy task.) Soju originally was made from rice but whenever there were rice shortages, people were forbidden to make Soju. Alcohol producers the started to use sweet potatoes and tapioca to make an ethanol based alcohol. Overtime they doctored up the taste so it has a smooth, crisp taste that goes great with raw seafood and grilled meats. The world drinks a lot of Soju. 61.38 Million cases of soju were produced in 2012 with Korea consuming about 2.75 billion bottles of Soju a year. You would think that everyone would be falling over drunk in Korea, but this is not the case. The alcohol is only about 17-19% so a bottle won't wreck you (but two or more might.) Koreans judge how good of a drinker you are by the number of bottles o