A Fat Girl's Food Guide to Eating in Korea

Da Korner


Empanadas have long been a favourite food of mine ever since I spend 3 months pretty much living off them whilst travelling in South America. Cheap and delicious they were sold everywhere and I had so much fun trying each country’s different version. I still yearn for them to this day. Occasionally I make my own at home, and even more occasionally I will stumble across a restaurant in Seoul selling them.


It was clearly in fate’s plans for TFB to stumble across new restaurant Da Korner so two star crossed lovers could once again reunited in holy gastronomy. Da Korner is located in the old Sugar Daddy location right next to McDonald’s. Apart from the somewhat dubiously spelled name it’s actually a pretty cute place. All faux grass and little wooden tables and tents. I’m sure it will be popular with the alfresco dining set. There is of course seating inside as well.


The menu is short and sweet with just four different empanadas, though since it’s a new place I don’t doubt they will add a couple more items. While the flavours of the empanadas didn’t look particularly traditional I figured I’d give em a shot anyway.


I decided to stick with the carne so ordered one Beef and Potato Empanada and one Beef and Tomato Empanada both (2,900). The owner suggested that I get the set (9,000) which included 2 epanadas, tortilla chips and three dips aside from the chimichurri. While I was tempted by the extra dips I was on a very strict budget and declined, but he ended up giving me a set anyway, which was very.kind of him.


After about 10 minutes my empanadas came out. The beef and potato was the first one I ate and it was scrumptious. I was at first surprised to see cheese in my beef empanadas but it added a nice texture and was quite nice and oozy. The beef and potato is nice and hearty and a similar flavour to a traditional pasty we get back in England. Good golden flaky pastry, and it was very well crimped, I was impressed that it was under three dollars considering it had beef, cheese and pastry, three of the most expensive ingredients in the city. The beef and tomato empanada was filled with a bolognese type filling and also cheese. Again this one was very tasty, not remotely traditional as far as I know but delicious so it gets the pass from me. It was kind of like a pastry covered ravioli.


Of the dips, the chimichurri was a highlight for me, nice and sharp with lots of lime and cilantro and was definitely the star dip of the day, the pico de gallo was also pretty damn good. The chips were just fried whole meal tortillas so nothing special, especially as I make these all the time at home, except for the fact I flavour mine. I was also shocked at the fact for another 3 dollars you only get three chips plus the tiny dips, it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth getting the set when you could have another empanada instead, although I’m sure the couple shirt sporting, set lovers will be going nuts over it.


Overall I was impressed with the empanadas, I’d go back for more of the beef and potato ones in a heart beat and if they could add my favourite pollo empanadas, some ham and cheese and some spinach ones they would really be on to something.


Da Korner islocated at 142-1 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and come out of exit 4. walk straight for about 300 meters, Da Korner is just in the arcade next to McDonalds.

12 Stairs


In my life, good cocktails are everything. And I do an awful lot of research trying to find the best bars in the city. I’m incredibly dedicated to my drinking problem and only the finest libations will do. While so many bars have the finest ingredients they don’t always know how to prepare them, making a spectacular cocktail is a truly skilled art, and when I sipped my first drink at 12 stairs I knew I had found somewhere very special indeed.


As soon as you walk into the bar you will be caressed by it’s charm. The decor is a mix of light and dark, the light showing glimpses of all the ornate features like the guided mirrors. With it’s exquisite chandelier on the main ceiling, it invokes a full on 1920’s speak easy feel.


While the menu is just a single page owner KyungSeob will make anything you request, my first visit I had an off menu drink, a Hemmingway Daquiri (13,000). I was first introduced to this magnificent cocktail about a year ago and it has remained one of my favourites ever since, though the balance of rum and maraschino liqueur needs a skilled hand to get it just right and this one was perfection itself.


I also tried my friends Caiprinha (13,000), one of my all time favourite drinks if well made, and let’s face it they rarely are. While I thought the Caiprinha at XII was good, it couldn’t compete with the perfect levels of lime, sugar and rum that this one had. If this is your drink you must come by and try it. I just wish I had a picture to show it’s flawless beauty.


For my last drink of the night I decided to try something new, so I ordered the Spring Blossom (14,000). A refreshing mix of St Germain, gin, and lime. This drink was a glass of of heavenly goodness, it was the perfect martini cocktail for those who want to want a strong drink without your head being blown off.


TFB was happy too as they have a rather nice collection of Whisky. During our visit, he slowly made his way through the list. Below is a Laphroaig Quarter Cask (13,000) or you can buy the whole bottle for a cool 250,000.


As her last drink of the evening my friend ordered herself a South Side (13,000). A heady mix of gin and lime which was just a bit too punchy for my palette but she enjoyed immensely. We also ordered a side plate of chorizo (9,000) to take the edge off of all that drinking, quite a wise idea when you factor in all those stairs.


12 Stairs is located at 3F 64-56 Itaewon dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station and come out of exit 4. Walk straight until you reach Dillingers, then walk down the set of stairs to the left. When you reach the bottom of the stairs turn right and walk straight. After you pass the CU you will see an alley on your right, 12 Stairs is the building next to Guilty Pleasures. For more information you can call them on 010-4067-5828. They are open from 8pm – god knows when (we were still drinking there at 4am and there were no signs of it closing any time soon!).

Mini Scotch Eggs


Last week I catered my very first event and I have to say that despite my reservations the party went absolutely swimmingly. The party was British themed in honour of one of my most fabulous friends who is very sadly departing the land of the morning calm. Despite the fact I had tears in my eyes I planned a menu that was hard to beat. Pork Pies, Scotch Eggs, Prawn cocktail, Toad in the Hole, Welsh rarebit, Pimm’s, Cucumber G&Ts, Trifle, and much much more. (more…)


1981 is yet another new restaurant to hit the Itaewon scene. They just had their grand opening a few weeks ago, and knowing that it was owned by the lovely folks who brought us Left Coast, I couldn’t wait to give it a try, so I rounded up my posse and went to check it out.

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Vertex Chicken


When I heard that a new chicken teriyaki place had opened up in Haebangchon I put it on my list of places to try. However when I heard they were giving away their food for free it jumped straight to the head of the queue, and I ran there as quickly as my chubby little legs would carry me. (more…)

Soju Cocktails


Ever since my last post about the new citron(유자) soju, sales have gone through the roof. Korea’s favourite liquor was crying out for a revamp and with the added flavour and lowered alcohol content it’s no surprise that it has become insatiably popular. With bottles of the original Citron Soju flying off the shelves almost as quickly as honey butter chips, the other soju competitors wasted no time at all in bringing out their own flavours. Honestly I’ve always been amazed at how little time it takes for Korean companies to copy one another’s ideas. So out came the novelly named red, blue, and yellow flavours. Yes color is a delicious taste. There is now even a pink and scarlet flavour but I could only get my mitts on the blue and the red. With it being Liberation Day and all I figured I’d make a couple of drinks to celebrate the fact my better half has the day off. As an unemployed self-employed writer I always have the day off, and unemployment & writing have always been synonymous with alcoholism so really it was a win win. I kept these pretty simply with mixers I found in the convenience store. If you are just drinking these outside the mart on the street, you can also buy ice cups too. I added the lime wedges, mint, and blueberries as garnishes at home but you can easily make them without, though you’d be surprised at what convenience stores sell these days so add a fruit garnish if you can. (more…)

Bloc Party


Last week one of my bestest best friends asked me if I knew a great first date restaurant. Somewhere with nice food and ambiance, but that wasn’t too expensive or noisy. And to be honest I drew a bit of a blank, there are tonnes of fab restaurants in Itaewon but not too many that fall in the middle. There are some awesome holes in walls with insatiably tasty, cheap food, fancy finer dining affairs or cool hip haunts that are all about being seen, but nowhere that is suitable for a first date without being too pricey (no one wants to blow their wad on a tinder date). So when I was invited to come and check out Bloc Party I knew I’d finally found what he was looking for. (more…)

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