Just got back from our year end family vacation to Seoul, South Korea.
I believe I’m not having any jet lag, but I certainly have this weather lag. While in Seoul, the temperature can drop until -5 degrees Celsius (the worst was in Nami Island which was -10), and when we got back to Jakarta, Indonesia, it was 30 degrees Celsius. Imagine that lag!
It was bloody bright, but bloody hell freezing as well. Truly an experience for me and my family as we’ve never experienced snow before, and we did in Seoul (even though it didn’t fall on us, unfortunately).
Somehow, Seoul reminds me of Paris for its’ language barrier. I don’t speak Koreans, and if I tried to talk to them in English, they’ll reply in Koreans. Like, seriously???? We ended up taking a lot of Metro trains, as we had a lot of trouble explaining our destination to taxi drivers. Fortunately, Metro was an easy ride for us, first timer in Seoul.
Ordering food was always a challenge as well. Some do have menus in English, but some just don’t. They don’t even have the signage in English. I believe Koreans are proud of their own thing, I mean…come on, K-Pop is literally everywhere, K-Drama, and K-Food.
Talking about K-Food, I might as well blog about them. I also posted a lot of my journey in Seoul, Korea on my instagram @shintarosvita (please check them out).
For those who love spicy food, trust me…you’ll survive in Seoul as they do have lots of spicy food to offer. Even their K-BBQ is spicy.
We went to this local K-BBQ in Gangnam Area, named Saemaul Sikdang. They don’t have signage in English, so we did have a trouble finding it. But with the help of Google Maps, we did. A friend recommended me to visit this restaurant. It was not a big restaurant. When we were there, we were the only tourist, so I believe locals love this restaurant so much. FYI, we had to wait in the cold outside the restaurant for 15 minutes before the waitress called us. It wasn’t halal for sure, they only serve pork. Oh yeah, they use charcoal to grill the meat, which gives that special smokey touch.
Leaving a restaurant in Seoul, especially a local restaurant, means you’ll get left behind with smokey food aroma on your hair and clothes. LOL. Except the barbecue, Bulgogi is also a local favorite. Unlike Bulgogi served dry in Jakarta where I live, they somehow have it with broth.
We had this Bulgogi in Sariwon at COEX Mall. And yes, Koreans do love their garnishes and kimchis.
They sure love to mix stuff, seriously. We went to Shinsegai Central City and was curious to try this local restaurant which had long waiting lines. It must be that good, since locals were lining up in front of this restaurant (sorry it was in Koreans, so I don’t know the name of the restaurant).
(Unbelievably) they named this Beef Teppanyaki. They mix the minced beef with rice (bap in Koreans) and vegetables, nothing like the teppanyaki served back home. And again, it was spicy.
In terms of packaging, Koreans does it best.
Look at that cute coffee cups from Paris Baguette. By the way, Paris Baguette is a local bakery/cafe that can be found almost everywhere in Seoul. In terms of taste, it was OK, I had better coffee.
In Nami Island (it was one and a half hour drive from our hotel in Gangnam area and off with ferry for another five minutes), it was freezing cold and fortunately, there were hot food sold.
Local food Hotteok aka pancake. It is one of the most popular Korean street snacks and particularly popular in winter. If they weren’t filled with sunflower seeds and nuts, I’d probably like them more as they’re also stuffed with dark brown sugar and cinnamon powder. And yes, they’re charcoal-grilled for that unique smokey flavor.
Another Nami Island must eat food, is their Chicken Barbecue in a restaurant named Seomhyanggi. Fortunately, they’re not as spicy as I thought, so my boys can eat them.
Well, that was as local as I can get ….
On my second post, I’ll blog about the international food that they have in Seoul. Stay tune.
PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA