Thanksgivingbanner A Fat Girl's Food Guide to Eating in Korea

Be My Valentine

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As I’m sure you are all aware, Valentine’s Day is once again rearing its ugly head this weekend. And the obligation to take your significant other out for dinner is thrust upon you. Now I’m not complaining about being taken out for dinner, no one loves being treated to a slap up dinner more than I, although I’d also be just as happy devouring a bucket of chicken and a large pizza in my pajamas at home, but enough about my low standards. When it comes to the day of love, Seoul has more than it’s fare share of upscale eateries and fine dining establishments for you to fritter away your hard earned cash on. However if you are looking for a good meal for two that costs around 100,000 or less, then you may wish to take a look at my list of the best options. And don’t worry it’s not too late to make reservations!

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McCoy’s – New comer McCoy’s is shaping up to be one of HBC’s finest restaurants, and is the perfect intimate setting for a romantic Valentine’s Day. They offer a sharing platter for two which consists of steak, salmon, pork chop and salad for 45,000. And for that price you’ll still have plenty of change left for one of their homemade apple pies with ice-cream (8,000) and a few glasses of wine. Click here for more details.

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Lobster Bar – When it comes to romantic food lobster and steak are pretty up there, and Lobster Bar in Itaewon has both. The restaurant is pretty casual but when you have lobster juice dripping down your chin you’ll be glad you aren’t in your fanciest dress. Click here for more details.

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Brera – Other than French food, nothing conjures up romantic connotations like Italian. What could be more romantic than sharing a bowl of spaghetti a là Lady & the Tramp with your significant other. Also owner Giovanni told me he will personally serenade you at your table if you request it. Click here for more details.

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Spain Night Market – Sharing a plate or two of tapas has always seemed romantic to me, so why not take a visit to Spain Night Market in Hapjeong. All the tapas dishes are 9,000 or less and bottles of wine start from just under 30,000. They also have two Flamenco shows on Saturday at 6:30 & 8:30, which should really get your heart pumping. Click here for more details.

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Dominic – Dominic in Itaewon will be serving their New York style menu until 9pm and have champagne & sparkling wine specials priced from 8,000 -20,000 a glass all night long on the 14th & 15th of February. They also plan to have have a romantic sax player playing love songs after 9pm. Click here for more details.

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Beastro – My favourite Hongdae eatery will be hosting a five course dinner of bruscheta, salad, pasta, steak and sorbet with a glass of wine or beer for the bargain price of 55,000 per person. Click here for more details.

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Manimal – Not everyone is into fine dining, and sometimes licking the BBQ sauce off someone else’s fingers can be pretty darn hot. Manimal offers a huge platter of brisket, pulled pork, chicken, half a rack of ribs, andouille sausage, green chili mac & cheese, coleslaw, smoked mashed potatoes, and honey butter rolls for 98,500. They also have cheaper options, but nothing says I love you like meat sweats. Click here for more details.

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The Workshop – The Workshop will be running a offering a special Cheese Platter (4 different cheeses and cold cuts) and a Carafe of their amazing House Wine (red or white) for only 25 000 from 7pm onwards on February 14th. Gabriel will also be playing some Spanish guitar under soft romantic light creating the perfect ambiance. Click here for more details.

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Gino’s NY Pizza -Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a special day. So why not treat yourself to a pizza, 8 slices of cheese smothered goodness always goes a long way to cheering me up, especially when I don’t have to share it. In fact throw in some of their wings and sloppy fries and you’ve got yourself one hell of a good time. Click here for more details.

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Sambazon Acai Bowls

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It’s not often that fortune smiles upon me and I find exactly what I’m looking for, but very occasionally it does. I was mincing around Sinsa last week trying to while away an hour before a meeting and was desperate for something to eat. However I’ve been trying to be a bit healthier lately so I was trying to resist the delicious bagels I’d just picked up for TFB at Pick A Bagel. As luck would have it, my meeting was located opposite this wonderful smoothie bowl joint and I managed to fill myself up while still eating clean.

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The acai bowls are incredibly beautiful and almost look like a work of art. I’ve started making my own smoothie bowls ever since I came back from Bali, but never dreamed there would be anywhere in Seoul selling them, and I’ve since found out they have a branch in Itaewon too.

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The bowls come in thee sizes, handy, regular and large. I opted for the regular (7,500). The bowl was made up of an acai smoothie on the bottom which was deliciously moreish and made up of lots of lovely things like cacoa nibs. Then the bowl is topped with all of those beautiful fruits like banana, dragon fruit, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, coconut and grapes. The mix of fruits were lovely and tasty and incredibly filing, I wouldn’t hesitate to come back. It’s the perfect meal for those who are trying to eat healthy.

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Sambazon Acai Bowls is located at 59, Nonhyeon-ro 161-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight and take the 5th road on the right, the one before the main Garosugil Street. Walk straight along this road, Sambazon Acai Bowls is located just up ahead on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-516-3686 or check out their facebook page.

 

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Seollal(설날) Restaurant Guide

Woo Hoo! It’s finally Friday, and if that wasn’t great enough as it is, it’s also the start of a 5 day weekend!!! For the next few days Koreans will be heading out of the city to spend time with their loved ones, making it the perfect time to enjoy a relaxing time in an otherwise bustling metropolis. With all this time off you are likely to have plenty of free time for eating out, so I have found out the opening times for all my favourite restaurants to stop you from arriving to closed doors with rumbling bellies! Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!

Closed Only on Monday 8th February 

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Leftcoast – As usual Left Coast will be serving up their their gourmet burgers and yummy deep fried sides. they have some pretty good cocktails too.

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Brera – My favourite Italian in Seoul, will be serving its full brunch, lunch and dinner menu throughout the holidays.

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Spain Night Market – The cheapest tapas joint in town by far, and cheap eats = more money for Sangria.

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Pick A Bagel – Real NYC bagels are in the house. Though they will not open until 12pm on Tuesday.

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Little Baja – Seafood tacos, horchata and Tequila, need i say more?

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Lobster Bar – Whole lobster, lobster sandwiches, steak, and cocktails are just a few of the many treats I enjoy at this Itaewon eatery.

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Dominic – NY style dinging at it’s finest in Itaewon. If you know whats good you you, you’ll get the steak and creamed spinach.

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Linus BBQ – Bama style southern BBQ and a whole host of boozy treats. get the platter, you won’t be sorry.

 

Closed on Sunday &  Monday 7th & 8th February

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WinK –  Kyodae’s best pub will be open from 11:30am – midnight.

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Spicy Bite – Serves up pan-Asian cuisine, think lots of lovely crispy noodles, and sweet and spicy dishes.

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Jil’Hal Bros Cheongdam – Chicken, rice, salad and pita NYC style, more addictive than crack!

 

Closed Monday & Tuesday 8th & 9th February 

NYC style pizza - margarita and supreme

Gino’s NY Pizza – Real NY style pizza open on Wednesday for dinner only from 5pm. See their facebook page for more details.

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Vertex Chicken – Tender chicken in a teriyaki or spicy sauce. served with rice and veggies. Deliverable and addictively tasty.

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Bulldogs – My number one Brit hang out, Pimm’s, scotch eggs and amazing hot dogs. Did I mention Pimm’s?

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Vatos – Still the coolest Mexican by far, great tacos, giant cocktails and a super cool vibe.

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Jil’Hal Bros Hongdae – The new branch serves up the same amazeballs chicken and rice as their Cheongdam branch.

Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday 7th – 9th February

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The Beastro – Fine American dinning and killer cocktails at incredibly reasonable prices. Still one of my favourite places in town.

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McCoy’s The new fine dining HBC restaurant has already become one of my favourite places to eat, probably because it’s so cheap. They will be open for Sunday lunch but closed for dinner.

Closed Monday Tuesday & Wednesday 8th – 10th February

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Manimal – BBQ goodness in all it’s meaty glory. Closed for the holidays, but at least they are open this weekend.

Closed Only on Wednesday 10th February 

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Mozzie – Your favourite Kiwi pub will be knocking out its ginormous portions of pub grub as per usual.

Open everyday 

While almost all of the restaurants seem to be closed on Monday, the pubs have got you covered.

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The Workshop – Booze and fried food from 5pm everyday!

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Route 66 – Giant sandwiches, boneless wings, and drinks by the bucketload from 5pm everyday.

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The Wolfhound – Your favourite Irish bar, is open 365 days of the year and will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well a wide variety of libations. I also met TFB there over 7 years ago, so if you’re looking for love it might be just the spot to check out.

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And as a special treat Villa Guerrero will be doing a pop up in Itaewon from the Tuesday 9th- Saturday the 13th of February at 34-40 Itaewon-dong. If you like a real carnitas taco then these should not be missed!

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Windy City Pizza will also be doing a pop up on Monday 8th of February from 11:30am and on Tuesday & Wednesday the 9th & 10th of February from 5pm at Cali Kitchen in Gyeongridan. Lucky customers will be able to get their lips around one of their delicious Chicago style slices while stocks last.

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Windy City Pizza – Pop Up

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I’m a huge pizza lover, especially since moving to Korea. Shove some tomato sauce and melted cheese on top some bread and I am happy. Now personally I don’t mind a bit of Korean pizza, in fact I’m rather fond of it. I don’t have the aversion to corn that some do, but overall I’d say that the pizza landscape in Seoul is pretty darn good. We have NY style from Ginos, Maddux and the like, Italian from Trevia, and everything in between, except Chicago. Now I haven’t actually tried any of the poor offerings trying to style themselves as Chicago pizza but I have it on good authority that they leave a lot to be desired. I’m a total virgin when it comes to Chicago style pizza. My only experience was the Chicago Town frozen pizzas they sold in the supermarket when I was a kid, and quite frankly I’ve never cared for them, which has probably put me off trying it until now.

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My good foodie friend James Yu has decided enough is enough. He’s sick of his city’s culinary heritage being mocked by inferior attempts at Chicago’s most glorious creation and has set about organizing a series of Popup events to showcase the pizza in all its glory. The pop up is on again this Monday 8th February  starting at 11:30 am and Tuesday & Wednesday 8th & 10th of February starting from 5pm  at Cali Kitchen in Gyeongridan,If you haven’t visited them before they serve up some pretty awesome burgers and Mexican food too. There are three different slices available sausage, spinach, and mushroom, all priced between 7,000 – 7,500 a slice. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a spinach slice at the last pop up at Donut Guy’s and by god was it good. A buttery almost pastry like crust, topped with layers of spinach, cheese, spinach, more cheese, and tomato sauce. There were so many layers it was like a pizza lasagne. TFB tried the sausage pizza, which was laced with lots of herby slightly aniseedy Italian sausage, I assume he adored it because I didn’t get a second bite. Now all I need is a slice of the mushroom, maybe two…

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Windy City Pizza pop up is located at Cali Kitchen 224-66 Itaewon 2-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the left hand side. Walk straight following the road around into Gyeongridan past the Well Being Mart, take the right turn just before the cheese place, Cali Kitchen is just a little way up on the left next to the honey place. For more information check out the Windy City Pizza facebook page or call them on 010-9325-2772. I’d advise messaging in advance to avoid disappointment as there will be a limited amount of slices.

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The Workshop

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HBC is known for its rapidly changing landscape these days, but some of the changes are positive ones. When the car garage closed, The Workshop popped up in its place. Now I’m sure local car owners may have been a bit disgruntled but as a non driver, a pub is far more useful to me. The Workshop is located above the Hidden Cellar, and is owned by the same lovely fellas. (more…)

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Pho for You

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Last night I had a dinner meeting and for once was a wee bit stumped on where to eat. I had a couple places in mind but one was fully booked and two other options had prior events happening, so I was at a bit of a loss. I’d heard good things about the new San Francisco style Pho joint, so I just thought pho-k it and we went for a bowl of hot soupy noodles. (more…)

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Spain Night Market

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It’s very rare that you will find inexpensive and well cooked European food in Seoul, but that’s exactly what we found at Amigo Bienvenido in Hapjeong. I’ve known the head chef Manuel for some time now after visiting some of the other restaurants he has worked at over the years like Mi Casa and Alma Restaurante. So when he made a change and moved to the newly opened Amigo Bienvenido, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. (more…)

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Restaurant Lingo – How to order food in Korean

After 7 years of living in Korea, I’d still have to describe my Korean language ability as poor at best. Learning languages has never come easily to me, but I can no longer bear the shame of telling people that I couldn’t understand them despite having lived here for so long. So I have started to learn with an online program from 90 Day Korean, I’ve got a long way to go but I have certainly been making some progress.

Beef bulgogi traditional korean barbecued meat dish (more…)

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Cha Chaan Teng

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Chinese is without a doubt my favourite cuisine, I adore it and would almost certainly choose it as my last meal on earth. However trying to find good Chinese food in Seoul is far harder than it should be considering China is practically our neighbour. So when I saw that Cha Chaan Teng had opened I immediately went to give it a try. (more…)

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