A Fat Girl's Food Guide to Eating in Korea

Sinbads Kitchen

Last weekend I took two of my hungriest friends to give the Ethiopian food at Sinbad’s Kitchen a try. I’ve only had Ethiopian food once before, back in 2007 when it became London’s latest trend food. I remember being impressed and always meant to go again, but I was a bit of a party girl back in those days and preferred to save all my money for nights out rather than dinners. So when I heard on the grapevine that Sinbad’s Kitchen in Itaewon was serving up some stellar Ethiopian cuisine I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

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The special Ethiopean menu is only available at Sinbad’s Kitchen on weekends, and you also need to ask specially for ask for it as the dishes are not currently featured in the large menu you will first be presented with. As you can see it’s pretty small with just three dishes, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in flavour.

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We decided to order two of the Ethiopian specials, along with the Meze Plate (13,000) from the regular menu. The Meze Plate only comes with hummus, baba ganoush and moutabal, you need to order the Turkish Bread (4,000) separately which I found irksome. When the bread arrived it was puffed up into a big round ball and was quite the show piece. The hummus was rather tasty, and had a strong sesame flavour which I personally enjoy, the Moutabal was also pretty good too with a lovely thick yogurt base. However the baba ganoush was nothing special. As a starter I felt this was rather steep, there really isn’t much food here for the price and I don’t think I would be inclined to order it again. If you still need some dip in your life I’d recommend just getting the hummus.

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The first dish of the Ethiopian menu to come out was the Beyaynetu (15,000). Six different vegetables dishes and a very spicy chili pepper were served on a giant bed of injera, a traditional spongy pancake like bread that is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. The injera itself has a bit of a sour taste at first, but you will soon get a taste for it as you use it in place of a knife and fork to pick up your side dishes. There was a real mix of textures and flavours going on with the sides. There were roasted beetroots, pickled green beans, potatoes and cabbage, spinach, chilies, curry, and lentils.  The standouts for me were the potatoes with cabbage and the green beans, the curry was also very tasty too. Everything had such an intense flavour which is so hard to describe, every dish packed a real punch without being too salty or spicy. It’s a dish you certainly need to experience for yourself.

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Our second dish was Tibse (16,000). Fried beef, peppers, and onions served with more injera. The beef in this dish was one of the tastiest things I have put in my mouth in months. The flavour on the meat was incredible, I have no idea what it was cooked in but it was very reminiscent of lamb, the blend of rosemary and spices that they used were so perfectly balanced that every mouthful was a joy to behold. The dish also came with some spicy powder that we didn’t end up using but will be sure to try next time. By this point we were absolutely stuffed, two dishes are certainly ample for three people, though I will be sure to take a large group with me next time as I have to try the third dish and don’t want to miss out on getting the Beyaynetu or the Tibse again.

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Sinbads kitchen is located at 3F 127-12, itaewon 1(il)-dong, yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Turn back on yourself and walk to the corner, the entrance to Sinbads Kitchen is just to the left of Olive Young, and the restaurant is on the third floor. For more information you can call them on 02-792-0069 or check out their facebook page for more details. They are currently only offering the Ethiopean menu from Friday – Sunday 12pm – 10pm.

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Brooklyn the Burger Joint – Sinsa

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Another day, another burger place opens its doors. Of all the foods in the world burgers are the one thing that never seem to go out of fashion, especially in this city, and it seems like nary a week passes by before there’s another new one to try. As a self confessed burger lover I couldn’t wait to come and check out the newest burgeria to open it’s doors.

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Brooklyn the Burger Joint has decided to open up their second location in Sinsa, but instead of going with a straight up burger place like their original location in Sorae French village, they’ve decided to go all out and make it a 24 hour all American diner. Yes that’s right, you read correctly, burgers available 24 hours a day, your late night munchies just got a hell of a lot more classy than a Big Mac.

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The location is decked out in pure retro diner attire, 50’s style counter top, napkin dispensers, comfy boothes, root beer, and a Kool Aid dispenser, it’s right out of Grease, and sitting up at the counter I sure felt like Sandy!

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To pop our lunch time cherry we started off with an order of the Jalapeno Poppers (8,000 for 5). These peppery treats certainly had a heat you could taste the moment you bit into it, though they were a bit light on the cheese stuffing for my taste. The spicy tomato dip on the side was tasty though, and I know a good friend of mine has being dying to find these on a menu so they will certainly put a smile on her face.

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The burger menu has been beefed up a fair bit since my last visit to the Sorae location. So it’s good to know that they now offer lamb and fish burgers as well as the beef. We all took a good ponder and settled on our choices. I went for the Real Mccoy 5oz (9,800). Double american cheese, onion and bacon. The first thing that hit me about this burger was that it definitely needed sauce, so I did a mix of the mayo, ketchup and mustard and that solved the problem. However as I took my second bite I was just reminded as to why I didn’t love the burgers on my last visit. I just don’t like the patties they use. I know everyone else seems to rave about them but to me they are under seasoned and the meat has a very odd flavour to it, I’m nut sure what cut they are using to make the mince but for me it has that kind of flavour you get when you defrost beef in the microwave and however much I try I just cant seem to shake it. I’m sure they are using the finest ingredients but for me sadly they just don’t cut the mustard.

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My buddy Alex went for the C.R.E.A.M 5oz (9,800), Topped with sharp cheddar, bacon and horseradish mayo. I enjoyed it this time so much more than I did the last time I ate it. The blend of cheddar, bacon, and horseradish mayo was perfect, along with a the slightly sweet buttery bun. If they were using different beef patties then this would be a winner for my top three burgers for sure. On top of the C.R.E.A.M we ordered a side of cheese fries (5,500), which were laced with the cheeseiest fake cheese topping I’ve ever had. I’d probably get these again on the side, but wouldn’t go for a full order.

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My other dining companion, the Casablanca King ordered the Big Fish (7,800). A thick fried fish fillet burger, double American cheese, tartar sauce, and a sesame-seedless bun. This is what all Filet-o-Fish Fans have been dreaming of getting their hands on, this baby is sure to satisfy your Maccers cravings for sure. It’s nothing fancy and not in the same league as a posh fish finger sandwiches that us Brits adore so much, but it’s a fishy treat in burger form and pretty cheap to boot.

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As well as the burgers they have expanded the milkshake menu so it now includes a mouth watering 58 flavours. They still have my favourite, the Nutella with Burnt Marshmallows, which is still as scrumptious and heavenly as always. But we also tried the extra sweet and sickly White Chocolate & Cookie along with the Orange and Ginger which was surprisingly creamy and refreshing. The milkshakes are all 6,800 which I personally find to be a bit steep and would only order one if I was really in the mood for it, however I’m sure they will be popular with the wealthy locals though.

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While I wasn’t blown over by the food at Brooklyn the Burger joint I still adore the diner concept. Yeah there are better burgers in town, but few of them are open 24 hours a day and serve such sumptuous shakes in a cool retro setting. I’ve no doubt this place will be packed with Americans looking for a taste of their childhood.

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Brooklyn the Burger Joint is located at 540-11, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa Station (line 3) and come out of exit 8. Walk straight and take the fourth road on the left (Garosugil). Walk on a block down Garosugil and take the first right, walk one more block and take the first left, you will see Brooklyn the Burger Joint just up ahead on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-545-0718. Brooklyn the Burger joint is open 24 hours a day.

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Namu Arae (Under the Tree) 나무아래

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Finding a good restaurant in Itaewon to dine in on a Monday night is like searching for a needle in haystack. For some time now Monday nights have been hailed as the industry day off, a time when the staff all across town can rest up after a hard week’s work and let their hair down. Well that’s all well and good for them, but where are the rest of us supposed to eat? (more…)

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Sponsored Post #UberIceCream

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There really isn’t much better than an ice cream on a hot summer’s day, except maybe ice cream that is delivered to your door at virtually no extra cost. Long gone are the days of the ice cream man bringing to you his delicious frozen creamy treats, but tomorrow, on Friday 24th of July  between 1pm -5pm, Uber will be delivering ice cream all over Seoul! . (more…)

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Naengmyeon – Korean Cold Noodles

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All summer long I’ve been craving one thing and one thing only, Naengmyeon. Naengmyeon is an incredibly popular summer time dish here that consists of starchy buck wheat noodles that are served in a mild vinegary soup with a boiled egg on top. Other than ice cream, ice cold noodles are the only thing to help you cool off in the sweat box that is Seoul during July & August. I was planning on going to a restaurant to get myself a bowl when I realized that it would be easy enough to give them a go myself. (more…)

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Soul Truck

After 3 years of living in HBC, a change was in order so me and The Fat Boyfriend have decided to move to the other side of the tracks to Gyeongridan. After a hard day’s work of hauling boxes I wasn’t really in the cooking mood, so one of my best buddies popped over and took us out for a much needed burger. Since it was right around the corned we figured we would check out one of the ever new restaurants Soul Truck.

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Blackberry Gin Fizz

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Cocktail hour is always a very important part of the day in the Fat Girl household. Nothing beats a delicious cocktail after a hard day’s work, especially if you can enjoy it up on your very own roof top. This cocktail came into being after I was desperate to make use of my blossoming thyme plant. Herb infused simple syrups can really take your cocktails up a notch, the thyme in this pairs perfectly with the gin and the blackberry, and since we had a bottle of fizz in the fridge we thought why not, though you could always try it with soda water if you are looking for something a bit lighter. (more…)

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Sponsored Post – Yetgoltoseong(Gangnam) 옛공토성강남점

Korean barbecue is probably the most famous food in Korea, or at the very least the most exported. Grilled meats over hot coals are a delicacy that is very hard to resist, just walking past a barbecue joint with its intoxicating smell will get my juices flowing. However with so many different styles of restaurants in the city finding a good place to eat isn’t always easy when there are so many places to choose from.

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Brick Yard

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In the summer months, the only place I want to be is on a rooftop drinking a cocktail, there or in an air conditioned room preferably lying down. Last year I had an ample supply of rooftops to sit upon but this year all my favourites seemed to have been renovated or closed down! So I was desperately in need of another place  to sit and enjoy the seasonable weather. (more…)

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Bacon Jalapeño Cake

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On Sunday I baked a  bacon and jalapeno cake for my good friend Ray’s birthday. Most of the cakes I make tend to be on the girly side so I wanted to do something a bit more manly. Also with Ray being one of Seoul’s most innovative bar tenders, I wanted to be a bit more creative than my usual chocolate or lemon. So therefore the bacon jalapeno cake was born! I first thought of pairing the jalapeno and bacon in a dessert when I was making my bacon encrusted doughnuts, though honestly I was rather concerned about how it would actually taste,  right up until the moment it was cut, but in the end I think it turned out well and everyone seemed to enjoy it, or at least that’s what everyone told me. (more…)

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