100 Korean Foods in 100 Days – Day 4 – Damatori

After my feast at Gwangjang Market, I was ahead of the game, but in need another few places to visit. As it was raining on Monday I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to give Pajeon a try as it is typically a rainy day food. Traditionally it was eaten by farmers on rainy days when they couldn’t tend to their crops because it was easy to prepare and the stodgy food was nourishing for the mind and body. The sound of Pajeon sizzling in the pan also recreates the sound of the rain.

Traditionally Pajeon is served a long side Makgeolli , a traditional fermented rice alcohol. So I headed over to Damotori in HBC as they have such an awesome selection. One of the best things about Damatori is that they have a Makgeolli tasting set for only 3,000 won. Which allows you to try five different Makgeolis to let yo see which one you like best. My favourite was the 복술도가 but we decided to get a bottle of our second favourite instead because it was cheaper (7,000). So food number 5 was a drink, not technically my favourite alcoholic beverage but it is very Korean, and different to anything else you find in the world. So it had to be tried.

My sixth food was Pajeon, a savoury Korean pancake made with green onions. There are a couple different versions at Damotori, and as they were out of the most common green onion and seafood version, we ordered the onion and mushroom instead (14,000). Honestly I don’t like seafood all that much, and I adore mushrooms so this was a plus in my box. The pajeon was cut into small pieces perfect for sharing. Though I thought the pancake itself was under-seasoned, with not a great deal of flavour by itself. The side dish of pickled soy sauce onions was very good, much better than the Gwangjang Market version. They added a nice salty and sour element to the dish, but a side of gochujang would have helped too. All in a a good meal for a rainy day though.

6/100 Korean foods eaten, 94 days remain! What would you like to see me try next? Check out the list below.

1.Samgyupsal 삼겹살 2.Bulgogi 불고기 3.Kalbi 갈비 4.Hanwoo Steak 한우 5.Smoked Duck 오리훈제 6.Raw Beef 육회 7.Fried Chicken 후라이드치킨 8.Dak Galbi 닭갈비 9.Bossam 보 10. Don Cass 돈까스 11.Kimchi Jiggae 김치찌개 12.Dwenjang Jjiggae 된장찌개 13.Sam Gae Tang 삼계탕 14.Hangover Soup 해장국 15.Dak Dori Tang 닭도리탕 16.Seaweed Soup 미역국 17.Tteok (New Year Soup) 떡국 18.Short Ribs 갈비찜 19.Tofu Soup 순두부찌개 20. Mandu Guk 만두국21.Bibimbab 비빔밥 22.Bokumbab 볶음밥 23.Nurungji 누룽지 24.Jjang Myeon 짜장면 25.Nangmyeon 냉면 26.Ramyeon 라면 27.Kimbab 김밥 28.Jap Chae 잡채 29.Kalguksu 칼국수 30.Jjimddaek 찜닭 31.Lotus Root 연근 32.Quails Egg 메츄리알 33.Kimchi 김치 34.White kimchi 백김치 35.Radish 깍두기 36.Cucumber 오이 37.Korean Eggplant 가지 38.Soft Tofu 순두부 39.Katnip (sauteed perilla) 깻잎 40.Mung Bean Sprouts 숙주 41.Dried Squid 오징어 42.Live Octopus 산낙지 43.Anchovi 멸치 44.Sashimi 회 45.Grilled Clam 조개구이 46.Yangnyeom Gejang 양념게장 47.Fishcake on a Stick 오뎅꼬치 48.Deep Fried Shrimp 새우튀김 49.Sea snails 소라 50.Sea Penis 개불 51.Pajeon 파전 52.Chicken Feet 닭발 53.Porridge 죽 54.Acorn Jelly 도토리욱 55.Pigs Trotters 족발 56.Dog Soup 보신탕 57.Gyeran Jjim 계란찜 58.Bindaetok 빈대떡 59.Bondegi 뻔데기 60.Sanjuk 산적 61.Tteokbokki 떡볶이 62.Mandu 만두 63.Croquette 고로게 64.Sundae 순대 65.Fried Tofu  두부부침 66.Yache Twigim 튀김 67.French Fry Hot Dog 핫도그 68.Twisted Potato 회오리감자 69.Meat on a Stick 꼬치 70.Egg Bread 계랑빵 71.Peppero 빼빼로 72.Shrimp Chips 새우칩 73.Tteokbokki snack 떡볶이과자 74.Honey Butter Chips 허니버터칲 75.Choco pie 초코파이 76.Steamed bun 호빵 77.Chestnuts 군밤 78.Jolly Pong 죠리퐁 79.Seaweed 김 80.Dried Persimmon 감말랭이 81.Soju 소주 82.Makgeoli 막걸리 83.Beer 맥주 84.Milkis 밀키스 85.Yuja Tea 유자차 86.Omijja Tea 오미지차 87.Hangover Drink 숙취해소음료 88.Rice Water 식혜 89.Ginseng  인삼쥬스 90.Aloe Vera Juice 알로에쥬스 91. Green tea 녹차 92.Bingsu 빙수 93.Hotcake 호떡 94.Red bean 팥 95.Manjoo 만주 96.Rice cakes 떡 97.Fish waffle 붕어빵 98.Jeju Orange 한라봉 99.Dragon Beard Candy 꿀타래 100. Korean melon 참외

 

Damotori is located at 31 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station and come out of exit 2. Walk straight to the end of the road, then take the road baring left and walk straight pas the Kimchi Pots.Keep walking straight along this road, you will see Damotori just ahead on the left hand side, after you pass Bonny’s Pizza. For more information, you can call them on 070-8950-8362.

100 Korean Food in 100 Days – Day 1 -Gwangjang Market

A Fat Girl’s Food Guide has just turned 5 years old. To celebrate this momentous occasion I have set myself a challenge, of eating 100 different Korean foods in 100 days. Despite blogging for the past 5 years about food in Korea, I really haven’t spent much time eating Korean food, so this new YouTube series will be my chance to do it, click here to subscribe to my new channel.  My challenge started on June 23rd, and finishes on September 30th. Follow me on my journey as I eat my way around Korea. I have split my foods into ten categories: meat, stews/soups, noodles/rice, sides, fish, Traditional Korea, fast food/ street food, snacks, drinks, desserts. My food list is at the bottom of this post, I have listed all the foods I plan to try below. Which ones are you excited for me to try?

On Day 1 we headed to Gwangjang Market, which is near Jongno 5 station. Gwangjang Market is one of the oldest markets in Seoul, having opened in the early 1900’s, and it is filled to the brim with loads of amazing street foods. One of the best things about this market aside from the sheer array, is that all the stalls have seating so you can hang out and enjoy your food, rather than eating standing up and scoffing it on the go.

I started my challenge with Kimbap, but not just any Kimbap, Mayak Kimbab (2,500). The famed narcotic Kimbap is a real speciality at Gwangjang Market. They call it narcotic as it is supposed to be addictively good. The rice and veggie rolls are wrapped in seaweed, and are smaller than your typical Kimbap. They aren’t so special by themselves but when served with the accompanying wasabi dip they are really scrummy. I wish all Kimbap was served with this sauce.

The second food I tried was Bindaetteok (4,000), a fried mungbean pancake. Again this is another speciality of Gwangjang market. The pancakes are huge and very filling for mere 4,000 won. They came served with a side of soy sauce pickled onions. I did enjoy the crunchy texture but think it would be a bit nicer with some gochujang or something else as it is a little repetitive by itself. I liked the creamy texture inside though, and we know how much I love anything deep fried.

After the main course we deiced on something sweet for dessert, and Hotteok (1,500) was just the ticket. The sweet Korean pancakes are filled with brown sugar and sesame seeds. I really love these, they are uber delicious and kind of glutinous and chewy in the middle. I would love to have one stuffed with Nutella or some other kind of filling if they exist!

My 4th food was Sikhye (1,000) a sweet traditional drink made from rice. After all that claggy food, I needed something refreshing. Although I’m a big fan of Mexican horchata, which is very similar I just couldn’t get on board with this, it just tasted like rice dissolved in sugar water, not really my bag. Four foods tried with one miss isn’t too bad though. 4/100 Korean foods eaten, 99 days remain! What woulds you like to see me try next? Check out the list below.

1.Samgyupsal 삼겹살 2.Bulgogi 불고기 3.Kalbi 갈비 4.Hanwoo Steak 한우 5.Smoked Duck 오리훈제 6.Raw Beef 육회 7.Fried Chicken 후라이드치킨 8.Dak Galbi 닭갈비 9.Bossam 보 10. Don Cass 돈까스 11.Kimchi Jiggae 김치찌개 12.Dwenjang Jjiggae 된장찌개 13.Sam Gae Tang 삼계탕 14.Hangover Soup 해장국 15.Dak Dori Tang 닭도리탕 16.Seaweed Soup 미역국 17.Tteok (New Year Soup) 떡국 18.Short Ribs 갈비찜 19.Tofu Soup 순두부찌개 20. Mandu Guk 만두국 21.Bibimbab 비빔밥 22.Bokumbab 볶음밥 23.Nurungji 누룽지 24.Jjang Myeon 짜장면 25.Nangmyeon 냉면 26.Ramyeon 라면 27.Kimbab 김밥 28.Jap Chae 잡채 29.Kalguksu 칼국수 30.Jjimddaek 찜닭 31.Lotus Root 연근 32.Quails Egg 메츄리알 33.Kimchi 김치 34.White kimchi 백김치 35.Radish 깍두기 36.Cucumber 오이 37.Korean Eggplant 가지 38.Soft Tofu 순두부 39.Katnip (sauteed perilla) 깻잎 40.Mung Bean Sprouts 숙주 41.Dried Squid 오징어 42.Live Octopus 산낙지 43.Anchovi 멸치 44.Sashimi 회 45.Grilled Clam 조개구이 46.Yangnyeom Gejang 양념게장 47.Fishcake on a Stick 오뎅꼬치 48.Deep Fried Shrimp 새우튀김 49.Sea snails 소라 50.Sea Penis 개불 51.Pajeon 파전 52.Chicken Feet 닭발 53.Porridge 죽 54.Acorn Jelly 도토리욱 55.Pigs Trotters 족발 56.Dog Soup 보신탕 57.Gyeran Jjim 계란찜 58.Bindaetok 빈대떡 59.Bondegi 뻔데기 60.Sanjuk 산적 61.Tteokbokki 떡볶이 62.Mandu 만두 63.Croquette 고로게 64.Sundae 순대 65.Fried Tofu  두부부침 66.Yache Twigim 튀김 67.French Fry Hot Dog 핫도그 68.Twisted Potato 회오리감자 69.Meat on a Stick 꼬치 70.Egg Bread 계랑빵 71.Peppero 빼빼로 72.Shrimp Chips 새우칩 73.Tteokbokki snack 떡볶이과자 74.Honey Butter Chips 허니버터칲 75.Choco pie 초코파이 76.Steamed bun 호빵 77.Chestnuts 군밤 78.Jolly Pong 죠리퐁 79.Seaweed 김 80.Dried Persimmon 감말랭이 81.Soju 소주 82.Makgeoli 막걸리 83.Beer 맥주 84.Milkis 밀키스 85.Yuja Tea 유자차 86.Omijja Tea 오미지차 87.Hangover Drink 숙취해소음료 88.Rice Water 식혜 89.Ginseng  인삼쥬스 90.Aloe Vera Juice 알로에쥬스 91. Green tea 녹차 92.Bingsu 빙수 93.Hotcake 호떡 94.Red bean 팥 95.Manjoo 만주 96.Rice cakes 떡 97.Fish waffle 붕어빵 98.Jeju Orange 한라봉 99.Dragon Beard Candy 꿀타래 100. Korean melon 참외

Gwangjang market is located at 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno, Seoul. To get there take a train to Jongno 5 (line 1), and come out of exit 7 or 8. Walk straight and you will see one of the many entrances to the market. The whole place is filled with all kinds of awesome food so be sure to explore. For more information you can check out the Visit Korea website.

100 Korean foods in 100 Days Challenge

I am not known for my love of of Korean food, in fact my blog first became popular as being a ‘kimchi free zone’. When I first started writing this food blog five years ago, it was to help people find the foods they missed from home. In the early years it wasn’t just restaurant reviews I was sharing, I also wrote about where to shop and how to cook your favourite foods at home. Five years later the restaurant scene has changed immensely and its getting more and more eclectic by the day. I didn’t really ever write much about Korean food because to me it is everywhere, especially when you live outside of Itaewon, and most people have their own favourite places to eat near where they live. However as the blog reaches its 5th birthday, I have decided to celebrate this momentous occasion by setting myself a challenge, to eat 100 different Korean foods in 100 days. I have put together a list of 100 Korean foods, obviously this list isn’t all inclusive, there are far more than 100 different Korean foods, but I liked the idea of splitting the foods into the different categories plus there are plenty of famous ingredients like gochujang that not on here because they will be in the foods. Having lived in Korea for over 8 years, there are plenty of foods on the list that I have eaten, but lots I haven’t and some that I am seriously freaked out to try. The whole series is being documented on my brand new YouTube channel (click here to subscribe). In most of the videos I will be eating more than one kind of food so I won’t be blogging everyday, so hopefully I will have time to write about non Korean restaurants too. Above is my intro video which explains that my challenge started on June 23rd, and finishes on September 30th. Below is the list of the foods I intend to try. Please comment below to let me know which ones are your favourites, which ones you don’t like, or which ones you are exited for me to try. 

Meat
1. Samgyupsal 삼겹살 2.Bulgogi 불고기 3.Kalbi 갈비 4.Hanwoo Steak 한우 5.Smoked Duck 오리훈제 6.Raw Beef 육회 7.Fried Chicken 후라이드치킨 8.Dak Galbi 닭갈비 9.Bossam 보쌈
10. Don Cass 돈까스
Stew & Soups
11.Kimchi Jiggae 김치찌개 12.Dwenjang Jjiggae 된장찌개 13.Sam Gae Tang 삼계탕 14.Hangover Soup 해장국 15.Dak Dori Tang 닭도리탕 16.Seaweed Soup 미역국 17.Tteok (New Year Soup) 떡국 18.Short Ribs 갈비찜 19.Tofu Soup 순두부찌개 20. Mandu Guk 만두국
Noodles & Rice
21.Bibimbab 비빔밥 22.Bokumbab 볶음밥 23.Nurungji 누룽지 24.Jjang Myeon 짜장면 25.Nangmyeon 냉면 26.Ramyeon 라면 27.Kimbab 김밥 28.Jap Chae 잡채 29.Kalguksu 칼국수 30.Jjimddaek 찜닭
Side Dishes
31.Lotus Root 연근 32.Quails Egg 메츄리알 33.Kimchi 김치 34.White kimchi 백김치 35.Radish 깍두기 36.Cucumber 오이 37.Korean Eggplant 가지 38.Soft Tofu 순두부 39.Katnip (sauteed perilla) 깻잎 40.Mung Bean Sprouts 숙주
Fish
41.Dried Squid 오징어 42.Live Octopus 산낙지 43.Anchovi 멸치 44.Sashimi 회 45.Grilled Clam 조개구이 46.Yangnyeom Gejang 양념게장 47.Fishcake on a Stick 오뎅꼬치 48.Deep Fried Shrimp 새우튀김 49.Sea snails 소라 50.Sea Penis 개불
Traditional Korean Food
51.Pajeon 파전 52.Chicken Feet 닭발 53.Porridge 죽 54.Acorn Jelly 도토리욱 55.Pigs Trotters 족발 56.Dog Soup 보신탕 57.Gyeran Jjim 계란찜 58.Bindaetok 빈대떡 59.Bondegi 뻔데기 60.Sanjuk 산적
Korean Fast Foods / Street Foods
61.Tteokbokki 떡볶이 62.Mandu 만두 63.Croquette 고로게 64.Sundae 순대 65.Fried Tofu 두부부침 66.Yache Twigim 튀김 67.French Fry Hot Dog 핫도그 68.Twisted Potato 회오리감자 69.Meat on a Stick 꼬치 70.Egg Bread 계랑빵
Snacks
71.Peppero 빼빼로 72.Shrimp Chips 새우칩 73.Tteokbokki snack 떡볶이과자 74.Honey Butter Chips 허니버터칲 75.Choco pie 초코파이 76.Steamed bun 호빵 77.Chestnuts 군밤 78.Jolly Pong 죠리퐁 79.Seaweed 김 80.Dried Persimmon 감말랭이
Drinks
81.Soju 소주 82.Makgeoli 막걸리 83.Beer 맥주 84.Milkis 밀키스 85.Yuja Tea 유자차 86.Omijja Tea 오미지차 87.Hangover Drink 숙취해소음료 88.Rice Water 식혜 89.Ginseng 인삼쥬스 90.Aloe Vera Juice 알로에쥬스
Dessert
91. Green tea 녹차 92.Bingsu 빙수 93.Hotcake 호떡 94.Red bean 팥 95.Manjoo 만주 96.Rice cakes 떡 97.Fish waffle 붕어빵 98.Jeju Orange 한라봉 99.Dragon Beard Candy 꿀타래 100. Korean melon 참외

I actually started my challenge last Friday on June 23rd, so my first day’s video is already up on YouTube. You can watch it here to see what I tried at Gwangjang Market, or you can wait for the full blog explanation tomorrow.

Rooftops in Itaewon

You’d think in a city as cool as Seoul, there would be a hell of a lot more roof top action going on, but thanks to the zoning regulations, or some other boring reason like that, rooftops really aren’t permitted here, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In the Itaewon area alone there are dozens of different rooftop bars to soak up the sunshine, with new places popping up all the time. Since summer has now officially started, I thought would share my top five favourite places to hang out and drink while catching a tan.

1.Southside Parlor – Not only does this Texan bar make one hell of a cocktail, they also have a pretty large and impressive rooftop going on. The whole bar has just undergone a complete transformation, but thankfully my favourite cocktail The Pimp Cup  is still on the menu. This is the Lone Star State’s take on the classic British cocktail Pimm’s. They also have awesome edibles like their highly addictive piggy chips and tacos.

2. Brick Yard – I can’t believe that Brickyard has just turned two years old, my how time has flown. The cocktail menu has changed quite a lot in that time and isn’t as fancy as it used to be thanks to my favourite barman leaving, but they still rustle up a refreshing drink and the rooftop is as bitching as ever.

3. Rooftop Bottle Shop –  Located above Sam Ryan’s, this self-service bar is an Itaewon institution. The rooftop is huge, and you can help yourself an amazing array of beers and ciders out of the fridge. They also sell liquor by the bottle, plus mixers and even provide ice and glasses. There is also food and snacks available for when you get peckish. Check out this facebook page for more.

4. Sonnendeck – Sonnendeck has an awesomely amazing rooftop filled with fake grass and huge giant bean bag loungers. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy some Sunday Funday. Some past events here include a La Marmite brunch pop up, and Drag Queen brunch, if that’s not a reason to get out of bed I don’t know what is. They also have parties that go all night too, this Saturday the amazing team behind Little Baja will be hosting a taco and cocktail pop up. Check out the event facebook page to see more details.

5. Hamilton Hotel – Right in the middle of Itaewon is the Hamilton hotel, which has its own pool that is open to the public for a small fee (20,000-25,000). The bar offers all manner of drinks and the tunes are pumping out all day. It gets insanely crowded on weekends so if you have your heart set on renting a lounge chair (15,000) come early. Most days it is open between 10am-6pm, but every Saturday in July & August they are having special all night parties. It’s the closest you are going to get to an Ibiza vibe in Seoul .

Scoff Bakehouse

I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but for the past three years I have known about the existence of a British bakery, and have never been to visit it. Its located up in the depths of Jogno and not easily located by subway which always kinda put me off, I am a very lazy girl after all. However just recently they opened up a second branch which is still in Jongno, but a more reasonable walk from Gyeongbukgung station. It  is located in the most adorable area by Tongin-dong that is really worth a visit by itself. After hearing about the new location I knew I needed to go give it a try, but it wasn’t until some friends of ours brought some of the fantastic Scoff goodies to a BBQ that I hosted that I was compelled to go at the next opportunity.

Scoff is located in the most gorgeous cute and quaint neighbourhood, I have written about it before as it is home to my favourite croquette place Nalari, and Ellay’s Icecream (which is sadly no longer there as its moved to a different hood). The Bakehouse is set over several floors, with the main bakery on the ground, and then cafe seating up above, the most heavenly aroma wafted down the street as we approached and my mouth was watering before I could even feast my eyes upon the array of baked delights.

The bakehouse itself is very modern with a rustic twist. The whole place is filled with reminders of my very British childhood, from the old wooden art desk draws, to the old teapots and china chickens for keeping eggs in. The owner Jonathan told me that every time his parents come to visit they bring his another car-boot sale treasure to cement him to his heritage, and decorate the cafe. I was very charmed by it all.

The first thing that has to be talked about are the Sausage Rolls (6,000) which are so orgasmic we bought another two straight after devouring the first one. This really is the gold standard of sausage rolls as far as I’m concerned, I’m not even sure if I have had a better one back home. We make them ourselves quite often, but they cannot even compete with these bad boys. The sausage itself is short and stout, kind of chode like in appearance, but wrapped around the well but simply seasoned pork is a duvet of thick and and golden pastry. The layers in it are awesome, some of which cling on to the meat with all their might. I’ve always though good pastry has layers you can peel off and enjoy just by themselves. This was very filling, one was plenty to fill me up, so get one to take home for later, you wont regret it.

Now we have talked about the amazingness that is the sausage roll, we can talk about the cakes. The brownies are very popular and after sampling several I can see why, we loved the simplicity of the Scoff Brownie (4,000), but to me the stand out was the Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brownie (5,500). I am not one for foreign objects in my brownie unless it’s more chocolate, or an occasional nut, but the tart combination of the raspberries and the creamy swirl, was heavenly. The gooey fudgey texture of the brownie itself was enhanced by the pop and sweet tingle of fruit, and I almost found myself longing for them.

The Raspberry and Almond Tart (4,500), also must be mentioned, as it is kind of like an unofficial Bakewell Tart. The pastry bottom was perfectly crisp, the spongy middle was soft,moist and punctuated by more of those fabulous raspberries. My own mother made this regularly during my childhood, but I was never all that partial to it until now. Another popular item for Brits I’m sure are the Hot Cross Buns (3,000). The sticky glazed buns were perfectly spiced and sumptuously soft. It might not be Easter but I just couldn’t say no.

Being a cafe, they have an array of drinks for you to enjoy while having your cake and eating it too. I stuck with my usual Ice Vanilla Latte (5,000), while TFB went for their Scoff Lemonade (5,500). This was exceptionally good, nice and sour with a tickle of sweetness at the end. They also have a few fruity variations of it which also sounded delicious. I found the drink prices to be very reasonable and cheaper than most chain stores, especially considering they have a captive audience and could charge a lot more.

Overall I was thrilled with Scoff and am kicking myself for not going sooner. They have an amazing array of baked goodies that can be enjoyed by both Brits and non Brits alike. For those who are looking for delights that cant be found anywhere else in Seoul like sausage rolls, hot cross buns, Chelsea buns, carrot cake, lemon drizzle, scones, and the best brownies ever you need to plan a trip to Nuha-dong immediately if not sooner, this place is not to be missed.

Scoff is located at 90-2 Cheongunhyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gyeongbokgung Station (line 3). Come out of exit 2 and walk straight for 3-4 blocks until you reach Tongin Market, Its an adorable place filled with lots of traditional foods and is worth visiting by itself. Walk through then then exit the other side, keep walking straight down the road almost opposite and then take the first left, you will see Scoff just up ahead. For more information you can call them on 070-7761-1739 or check out their Instagram page. Scoff Bakehouse is open Tue-Sunday from 10am-7:30pm but I’d advise you to go earlier in the day to avoid disappointment. 

Fat Girl Vs Pork Cutlet – Eating Challenge

I think anyone who reads this blog knows that I can eat a lot, it is an ability that I have always prided myself on. And after coming in second in Bulldogs’ 50cm hot dog eating contest, I realised that I could eat pretty quickly too. So when I heard about a restaurant in Hongdae that has a giant pork cutlet (돈까스) eating challenge I stored away the information immediately. Appropriately named the king of pork cutlet challenge, it is available at 돈까스대왕전 in Hongdae. The restaurant is a three floor extravaganza specialising in lots of different kinds of pork cutlet, but I was there for one thing and one thing only, the King of Pork Cutlet Challenge!

The Challenge Pork Cutlet costs 15,000, and you have to sit at a table right by the counter so they can keep an eye on you. After placing our order and waiting for about 10 minutes, the waitresses brought over my mammoth plate, yes waitresses, it takes two of them to carry the almighty meal. We were allowed to take a quick snap, then we were given a timer and it was time to start the challenge. On the wall outside the restaurant are photos of all the people who have completed the challenge in the fastest times. The fastest person did it in 5 minutes 14 seconds which after doing it, seems impossible, while at number 30, the slowest board time was 9 minutes 59. I even saw my friend Kevin from La Marmite who did it in 06:32 so props to you my friend. As I looked on the board I only saw three girls and two non Koreans, so I guess I was a treat for them when I sat down. My Korean isn’t as good as it should be, but they told me that if i could do it in under 12 minutes I could have it for free.

Before the challenge started I never had a doubt that I would finish it, until they brought it over, then I was worried. My main concern was getting a good time. The plate contained the biggest pork cutlet I have ever seen in my life, this thing was ginormous (the picture doesn’t do it justice), and that’s before you get to the giant heap of rice, some radish kimchi, corn salad, and mushroom soup. There is also a jug of sauce which is the only bit you don’t have to eat. So how do you think I did? Watch the video at the top of the page to see. The pork cutlet itself was really bloody good, like absolutely delicious, I was actually surprised. My first strategy was to get the doncass under control then hit the salad bits and drink the soup at the end. The rice I knew would kill me so I saved it for last, it was hard going at the end and I felt a little sick at a few point, but my competitive nature spurred me on.

As the last mouthful was swallowed down, the clock read 10 minutes 38, certainly a valiant effort, but not fast enough to get me on the board or so I thought. However as we left the waitress told me I had made it, they took my picture and refunded my 15,000 won investment. I’m not sure if they had a second board of pictures or just fancied having a white blonde girl up there, but a win is a win and i feel rather proud. Hats off to those 5-6 minute people though, would love to see how they did it.

Anyone who likes to eat a lot, should definitely go and give this challenge a try. However even if you aren’t a big eater, the restaurant is well worth a try, TFB went for the much more reasonably sized Cheese Doncass (7,900) and enjoyed it thoroughly. He opted for the spicy sauce, which was sweet and hot without being too overbearing. I didn’t actually get to try his, for obvious reasons, so I’ll have to take his word that it was good, but it disappeared in about the same time as mine so it must have been pretty tasty.

Overall I recommend this place highly, the first half of the giant pork cutlet was really delicious, even if the second half became a chore. There are a few other reasonably priced offerings to choose from too. The next time I have a hankering for a pork cutlet, this is where I will be heading, if only to see if my picture made it on the board!

Doncass Dae Wang Jeon(돈까스대왕전) is located at 405-14 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sangsu Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Turn slightly to the right and walk towards the park, take the fifth turn on your left, which is the first big crossing you  will come to. walk down this street, until you come to the double paved street. you will see just up ahead in the far left corner across the street. for more information you can call them on

The Beastro

One question that I am always asked, and always hate, is, “What is your favourite restaurant in Seoul?” I love to eat everything so I always loathe this question. I could easily come up with a top 10, but a favourite always depends on my mood and what I fancy eating at the time. However one restaurant that never fails to deliver since it opened three years ago is The Beastro. The food, the drinks, and the ambience, it is the perfect place for anything, from a casual lunch with friends or a first date, to a fancy impressive meal with loved ones. I have been at least a dozen times over the years and have always left feeling happy and well fed.

The Beastro has recently switched things up and employed a new head chef Steven Kwon, who has put his own spin on things, and come up with a new summer menu. Don’t worry executive head chef and owner Matthew Chung is still in the mix, and thankfully so is their amazing fried chicken. So when they reached out to me to come and try the revamped menu, well I could hardly resist. To make a change we ate on the second floor of the three storey restaurant, I’m usually up on their rooftop conservatory, which is the ideal place to soak up some vitamin D and enjoy the summer weather.

The new menu has a real meaty vibe going on, with the chef admitting he wanted to put the beast back in The Beastro, and as much as I wanted to get the world’s best fried chicken, I refrained and decided instead to partake in some of the new items. My beloved adores salmon, so I indulged him and allowed him to get the Salmon Board (18,000), two versions of smoked salmon, one of which was much more heavily smoked than the other, so much so that it was practically cooked. Also on the board were some pickles, guacamole, and the most delightful truffle scrambled egg. I’d order this for the egg alone! There were lots of nice textures and it was kind of like a fishy version of a charcuterie board. It went very nicely with the cocktails.

The cocktail menu has also had a makeover over the past few weeks, a new one(to me at least) is the Cock & Bull Special (14,000) a heady mix of bourbon, cognac, cointreau, and benedictine. This boozy treat certainly had a kick to it, but the sweet notes made it very drinkable. I also got a Moscow Mule (12,000) because they are my absolute favourite and that cocktail practically runs through my veins at this point.

For our main courses we really were were torn with so many fabulous options to choose from. In the end I opted for the Smokey grilled BBQ Pork Chop (25,000), which was served with creamed cabbage, house bacon, mustard and pickled cucumbers.  I was really excited about this, I adore pork chops and I am thrilled that it has become a more popular cut of meat. This pork chop is smoked, meaning it isn’t as juicy as some ways of it being cooked, however the fat kept it from being even slightly dry. The creamed cabbage with bacon was a real treat, it feel as though it was a proper Irish dinner to me, especially as it was sat in a puddle of jus like gravy.

TFB ordered the Roasted Leg of Lamb (24,000) which came with the most amazing scalloped potatoes, caramelised onions, mint pistachio greolata, swiss chard, and aged balsamic jus. The lamb was absolutely melt in the mouth, it was so soft and juicy and kind of everything to me. Also on the menu are roast chicken and steak, so it’s kind of like an unofficial list of roast dinners, all the sides are different and it’s not a proper British roast, but it’s close enough to give you your Sunday roast fix.

We were actually doing a bit of celebrating during this dinner as my darling TFB, has just finished his masters. He has been working so hard and barely left the house in weeks, so it was a great chance for us to kick back and relax and enjoy some quality time. Knowing this the fabulous owner Catherine sent over a bottle of Cava (45,000) for us to enjoy. I felt like such a baller.

Our delightful dinner ended with something sweet. The dessert menu has completely changed since our last visit, so we had to try the new ones. I mean we didn’t really need them as we were rather full, but no one turns down free dessert. My favourite of the two was the ultra light and refreshing watermelon sorbet (8,000) this was heavenly and I can only imagine it will be even better in the hot and sweaty humid weather we will soon be having. We actually finished this with a drop of the champagne and it elevated it even more. The Smores Chocolate Brownie (8,000) was also very appealing, though personally I would have preferred a gooey and fudgier brownie, as I think it would better recreate the smores feeling they were going for.

Overall we were very impressed as usual with our fabulous dinner at The Beastro. They consistently change up the menu, so there is always something new for regulars, while holding on to their classic dishes, so you can still have your favourite. For a tasty yet well priced dinner it really cant be beat. if you still haven’t been, it is time to go.

The Beastro is located at  358-32 Seogyo Dong 2F, Mapo Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sangsu station (line 6). Come out of exit 1 and turn back on yourself. Keep walking straight for about 5 minutes until you reach the Hongdae Park. Walk up the stairs till you reach the road that runs parallel and you should see The Beastro on the 2nd floor above M.A.C (Make-up and great food!!!). For more information call 02-334-2500 or check out their facebook page.

Thanks Nature Cafe – Sheep Cafe

Seoul has some really amazing and quirky things going on, and none quite so vividly different as the Thanks Nature Sheep Cafe. The coffee shop capital of the world, started off with the pedestrian cat and dog cafes but soon moved on to include other farm yard themed caffeine dispensaries. Being a Somerset girl I’m accustomed to spending time with barn yard animals, I was in the Young Farmers after all. Despite its farm yard theme, the Thanks Nature Cafe is actually located right in the middle of Hongdae, which is as far away from a sheep’s natural habitat as you can get. The cafe is really big, with a huge outside space, and tonnes of room inside. The pair of sheep Sam & Anna were absolutely adorable, roaming around in their lovely large pen. so if you aren’t quite so interested in the sheep, you can head inside.

The cafe offers all the drinks you would imagine (coffee, tea, juice, ade, frozen concoctions), plus waffles and bingsu. Despite the cafes unique selling point of having their own livestock, the prices on the menu are actually very reasonable and pretty similar to most of the other evil chain cafes in the area. As I visited late in the afternoon, I wasn’t really in the mood for a coffee so decided to get a Chocolate Frapuccino (6,000). This was really big and very refreshing, it was clearly made with a powdery mix, but the frappuccino was very thick and topped with the yummiest marshmallow creme and chocolate syrup.

It being a ridiculously hot and sunny day I also decided to cool down the Korean way with a Pyrex jug of bingsu. There really aren’t enough desserts in the world that are served in Pyrex jugs as far as I’m concerned. There are 7 different kinds of bingsu on the menu and I settled on the Cookies & Cream version (7,000). The bingsu comes in two sizes and I went for the medium one, the large was (9,000) but I found mine to be more than enough to satisfy my mammoth appetite. I adored how the bingsu almost looked like a sheep face, and this was actually one of the best ones I have had in a long time. Sweet enough without being too much so, it was very refreshing and I liked the texture from the crushed oreos. The waffles all looked pretty great too, if I go again I will certainly try one next time.

Once you have ordered your drinks or desserts (though no minimum spend is required) you can then go and play with the sheep until your heart is content. The cafe was quite quiet when I was there so I really didn’t have to wait long for my turn to take pictures or play. They were a little shy at first but soon perked up once I neared the food bucket, the staff will give you a small handful of feed so you can feed them yourself and once you have done that it is much easier to get picture. Be forewarned getting a sheep selfie is not so easy, but it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. If you are in Hongdae and grabbing a coffee anyway why not go see some sheep.

Thanks Nature Cafe is located at 486 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station (line 2) and come out of exit 9. Walk straight then take a left at the main road. Keep walking straight towards the university, you will see the stairs to get to Thanks Nature Cafe, at the end of the arcade of shops. For more information you can call them on 02-335-7470, or check out their facebook page.

Left Coast Burgers

Left Coast Burgers needs no introduction, I mean you are probably asking why why the hell I am writing about it. However they recently moved to a new location, and as I like to keep you all abreast of all burger related information in Itaewon, I grabbed all of my favourite gal pals and headed off to give it a try. The new location up behind the Hamilton is a wee bit  smaller than the last one. In fact the location is not the only thing that has shrank in size, the new burgers look like they have been on a diet too. Thankfully this change is reflected in the new prices which are much lower than they used to be. They now offer most of the burgers in singles or doubles, the adorable owner Angela informed me the old size are more like the new double burgers, so you will definitely want to double up if you have an appetite as large as mine.

After perusing the new simpler menu I decided to go for the double Cheeseburger (7,900), and because I am greedy I got the Fried Chicken Burger (6,900) too. The Double Cheeseburger came  with 2 beef burgers topped with cheese and roasted garlic mayo. If I’m being honest this one was too simple for me, as much as I was living for the garlic mayo, I wish i had gone for the LCB instead which came with grilled onions, tomato and special sauce. I had a bite of my friends and it was delicious, if you like a simple burger though I’m sure you will be pleased with the cheeseburger, especially at its new budget friendly price. The chicken burger left me wanting more too, when I read that it was topped with swiss, bacon, and ranch sauce I was practically salivating, but in reality it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations, for want of a better word it just seemed a little sad in terms of flavour and texture, hopefully this will be worked on as I adore a good chicken burger and good one is hard to find in Itaewon.

The best burger of the day was definitely the double John Wayne (10,900) which was ordered by my beloved TFB and comes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings, and BBQ sauce. I’m a sucker for any burger that is topped with bacon and BBQ sauce, especially when you add onion rings into the mix too. Left Coast was always famous for their epic and imaginative burgers so hopefully more of these will make their way back on to the menu. TFB actually got this bad boy to go, probably because he knew I would end up eating it if he didn’t make a fast getaway. We got a side of fries and it came in this super cute takeout box.

Overall its good to see that Left Coast is back in business after a brief hiatus. The menu has a few new items including salads and soft serve ice cream, and has put on their delicious breakfast burrito full time. While I’m still hoping some of the old burgers like the Juicy Lucy will make a comeback, the new prices are really great and I’m sure will make a lot of people happy in these economically depressing times. I am also thrilled that they have made a big effort to make their takeout customers a little happier by providing adorable take out boxes via Shuttle. If you are as lazy as I am, you can order without leaving your bed by clicking here.

Left Coast is located at 23 Itaewon-ro, 19gil Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight and take the fourth alleyway on the right (its the last one) walk straight up that road past Shenanigan’s, and Brick Yard etc. You should see Left Coast just up ahead on the left hand side opposite the carpark. For more information you can call them on 02-790-3459 or check out their facebook page. Left Coast is open Tuesday – Sunday for lunch & dinner.

10 Must Eats in Hong Kong

If you have been following my foodie adventures, you’ll know that I took an amazing trip to Borneo a few weeks ago, but I also found time to live it up in Hong Kong! Hong Kong is one of my favourite food capitals in the entire world. It just has everything I could want and more, namely Chinese and British food. This wondrous city is a pure treasure trove of delicious goodies.  For anyone who is travelling there and looking for some damn delicious things to eat then this list should help guide you.

1. Char Siu Pork Bun – Tim Ho wan is renowned for their fantastic char siu pork buns, probably because they are one of the worlds cheapest Michelin starred foods (18HKD for 3). I never miss an opportunity to eat them so we put them top of the list of things to try. We arrived on bank holiday Monday and the queue to get a table was absolutely insane, luckily as seasoned eaters at this place we knew we could order a take out order which was ready in less than 10 minutes. The IFC Mall where we got ours has plenty of places to sit outside so grab your order to go and have yourself a picnic.

2. Wonton Noodles – There nothing like a good bowl of noodle soup and Maks in Central is a great place to get one. We tried the shrimp wanton noodle soup and the fried noodles topped with pork in a slightly sweet and spicy bbq sauce, they were so good I wanted to lick the bowl clean, and cheap as hell too (around 60HKD) for a quick and delicious lunch.

3. Xiao Long Bao – Obviously dim sum is a must in Hong Kong, but my favourite of all the different dumplings in the world are Xiao Long Bao (aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings). Some of the best are found at Crystal Jade. And although they are traditionally from Shanghai, Hong Kong has some pretty good ones too. I’m sure there are better ones out there but I have always preferred Crystal Jade over Din Tai Fung. We ordered a couple portions of the original which were filled with the most delicious flavourful soup. There are plenty of other dishes to try on the menu too.

4.Char Siu – I already covered char siu pork buns but you really need to have it as a main course too. In Central there are dozens of restaurants with meat in the windows all with Michelin stars offering lunch plates for around $60HKD a piece which include a fabulous Hong Kong lemon ice tea. I love that tea so much I nearly gave it a place on its own. The melt in the mouth meat is typically served with rice or noodles and some bok choi, and if you are lucky a bowl of soup. Don’t be afraid if they have no menus in English on the outside, they will almost always have one inside.

5. Egg Tart -These little eggy custard tarts can be found in bakeries all over the city and cost next to nothing (8HKD). We ate a variety of different ones including a green tea and chocolate variety, though it’s best to stick with the classic. Be warned though they are incredibly addictive so make sure you get yourself a couple.

6. Champagne Brunch – If there is one thing that Hong Kong knows how to do well, it’s a champagne brunch. Virtually every restaurant in the city offers up a free flow package from as little 200HKD (25,000 KRW) for free flow wine, cocktails and champagne. It’s not called Sunday Funday for nothing, right? We enjoyed an extra special one at 2 Michelin starred restaurant Duddells to celebrate my birthday. Ours cost 750HKD per person which included unlimited dim dim sum, Chinese food, champagne and cocktails on their fabulous roof top terrace. But there are hundreds of other place to try throughout the city.

7. Roast Goose – Roast goose can be found hanging in the windows of many a meat shop, but the golden and crispiest goose in the city is found at Kam’s Roast Goose in Wan Chai. The place is exceedingly popular thanks to its Michelin star. We went for lunch and were able to get a set including goose over rice, a bowl of soup, a side dish and delicious and refreshing lemon ice tea for 75HKD which is about 10,000 won. One of the cheapest Michelin starred lunches ever! They also have a variety of different roast meats on the menu, the char siu came a very close second.

8. Egg Waffle – I guess Hong Kongers really love eggs in their desserts. You’ve tried the egg tart, now it is time to try the egg waffle. These little things are the absolute cutest. I stumbled across an adorable one when walking around Wan Chai, but I am told that other much more pimped out versions filled with ice cream can be found elsewhere in the city like at Oddies in Central.

9. Sweet & Sour Pork – By far and away one of my absolute favourite dishes in the words. In fact if I was on death row and I was having my last meal, this would be on my menu for damn sure. I love the lurid orange sweet and sour sauce, and the crispy chunks of battered meat, served with a pile of egg fried rice and I am pretty much in heaven. I didn’t get to eat nearly as much of this dish than I was planning but this one came from 2 starred Duddells, so I certainly got the cream of the crop.

10. British Food – Hong Kong has a huge population of Brits making it a great place to get some good old British fare, I mean they have proper M&S Food Halls!  So what better place to get yourself a roast dinner than Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. We indulged in their fabulous lamb & beef roast, which came with all you can eat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg, and gravy for 350 HKD. This really was epic, it was even better than my mum’s(sorry Mum), I was so happy. We also added an all you can drink element to the meal where we supped on free flow champagne,  and Bloody Mary’s which were some of the best I have ever had.