Over my years in Korea, Vietnamese cuisine has become more and more popular. I first became familiar with the style of food when I travelled to Ho Chi Minh city and Nha Trang a few years ago, then on our second trip to Hoi An, after taking a local food tour it became one of my favourite kinds of food. Last week I was invited by Tuan, a Hanoi local, to come and try his food at his restaurant +84 in Insadong. After taking a look at his menu I couldn’t resist, so I took my two favourite boys along with me to give it a try. (more…)
I’ve long been a lover of salads, in fact going to the DIY salad bar when back home is one of my favourite things ever, so when I heard that Seoul had finally got one I was pretty darn excited. What A Salad is located on the the road running parallel with the main one in Itaewon. The space is pretty minimalist with a large kitchen running against one wall, and then the seating separated by a lovely living wall on the other. Unfortunately the chairs are those rather uncomfortable high chairs, so its not really the best spot for having a cosy long lunch, but it will suit those who want to grab a quick bite to eat. (more…)
As you may well know I just got back from a trip home, and on that visit I spent a few days in my old stomping ground, London. Not only was I desperate to catch up with old friends, I also had a very important lunch engagement at Cut at 45 Park Lane. Now as much as I enjoy the good life, I’m not on Park Lane as often as I would like, so I was thrilled when the restaurant part of the Dorchester Collection invited me to try Wolfgang Puck’s award winning steakhouse, Cut. I’ve been dying to try one of Wolfy’s steaks for forever, in fact it was on my list of must eats when I visited NYC last year, but alas it was a little out of my price range. (more…)
Of all the soirees that I manage to blag an invite to, the events at the home of The British ambassador Charles Hay always seem to be the swankiest. In the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to attend the invite only birthday parties held for my Queen, Elizabeth II, in the ambassadors very own garden. And while everyone isn’t bestowed the privilege of attending her majesty’s birthday shindig, they are more than welcome to buy a ticket to the British Chamber of Commerce’s annual Garden Party. (more…)
Before I jetted off on my jaunt around Europe, I paid a visit to new pizza joint on the block Motor City. I honestly thought that there was no where else for pizza to go in this city after trying almost every slice of cheese and tomato covered goodness that Seoul had to offer. I thought I had seen it all, turns out I was wrong, I’d yet to try Detroit Style. Quite frankly I had never even heard of the Detroit style slice until Motor City opened its doors, so didn’t really know quite what to expect, but after being turned on to deep dish style by the Chicago slice after years of being a thin crust girl I wasn’t going to miss out on trying this version too. (more…)
This trip has certainly seen a lot of stops, and one of our favourites has been the Emerald Isle where my beloved TFB hails from. The land of leprechauns, pots of gold, U2, and drunkards has won my girlish heart thanks to the friendly people and fabulous food and drink. Dublin is a city that I have truly fallen for and I can’t wait for our next trip so we can explore the culinary landscape further. Now this is in no way a definitive list, feel free to comment below to let me know what I missed. But if you are heading to the fair city be sure to try a few of these. (more…)
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know how fond I am of travelling. I have written and shared articles about almost all of my travels over the years, but I have yet to write anything about Cornwall. Although I didn’t grow up there, that acolade belongs to Somerset, I have spent years going there ever since my parents moved there in my late teens. After London, Cornwall is one of the best locations in the country for foodies. Not only is it filled with beautiful beaches and country side it’s got dozens of fantastic restaurants and world renowned chefs. In most south west corner of the UK there are hundreds of delicous things to eat but these are the five that I believe shouldn’t be missed. (more…)
I’m off, off on my travels, if you hadn’t noticed that I am instagramming from a different place every day, you should be paying more attention. Our first stop on the road to nowhere was the land of windmills and wooden clogs, otherwise known as Amsterdam. This stop was exceedingly short, in fact we only had one night before we jetted off to the cosmopolitan mecca that is Dublin, but it was long enough to eat the equivalent of about 3 meals. (more…)
Before I jetted off to Europe for a few weeks vacation, my friend took me to House of Wings for a farewell dinner. The small and minimalist restaurant is located up on the HBC Ogeori. Over the past year the streets up on top of the hill have been starting to get some seriously cool and niche places to eat like Sprout, The Royal Food & Drink, and 100 Food Truck.I have also seen a rooftop bar which I seriously need to investigate upon my return.
The restaurant is owned by John, a chef whom I had been introduced to a few weeks ago at Ryan’s Rooftoop Pop Up event. As he cooked us each dish he explained to me the principles that he strives to abide by, choice of ingredients based on sustainability, professionalism, and simplicity. He also uses only domestic fresh ingredients in his food and organic wherever possible. This is a style of cooking that I have always appreciated and it’s refreshing to find a chef with such great core vales.
The first thing we tried were the Pomme Frittes (4,000). I adore chips, in fact I consider them to be one of the major food groups, so I was very excited when these got brought out, in fact I’m pretty sure I squealed with delight. It has been a long time since I’ve seen potato looking that good in Korea. I’d always thought that the potatoes weren’t up to scratch, but clearly that isn’t the case, these babies were incredible. Crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, hand cut potato goodness. Served with homemade aioli, the only thing I could say is that I want to order 100 portions, but at only 4,000 a go it’s super affordable to do so!
Next up was the Calamari (8,000). Served with John’s spicy sauce. I consider myself a rather strange human being as I really don’t like squid, even the thought of it kind of makes me a gag a little, but I love calamari. To be honest if you battered and deep fried a smelly old sock I would probably eat it. Anyhow the calamari we tried and it was in-freaking-credible. Crispy outside, not in the least bit chewy or rubbery, the sauce complimented it perfectly and it had a nice wedge of lemon on the side. If you want to make it a set you can add a glass of wine for an extra 4,000 too.
Now let’s get to the important part, the wings. Currently there are three flavours, Buffalo, Seoul, and No City (no sauce) but John told me he plans to a few more city sauces over the next few months. All the wings are priced at 7 for 6,000. Factoring in the fact that these are fresh local chicken wings and not the cheap ass frozen ones that come from China they are actually exceedingly good value. First up was the buffalo, John cooked the wings and then shook them up the old fashioned way inside a jar. The sauce was vinegary, yet had a nice mild kick, perfect for buffalo. Served with creamy ranch and celery sticks, this is exactly how you want your wings to be.
Our second set were the Seoul wings, which were covered in a slightly sweet and sticky honey sauce with just a touch of garlic and a tiny hint of spice. I’m a sweet sauce lover and these were perfection for me, I enjoyed the buffalo but the sweet version would just make it easier to devour more. The wing itself was crispy and the white meat was juicy and came clean away from the bone. You can tell by looking at them that these aren’t frozen and you can taste it too.
Also on the menu there are some crispy spicy shrimps and chicahornas – deep fried chicken skin, perfect beer food. And if you sit overlooking the kitchen it is a great spot to chill out in this heat and watch the world go by. As the kitchen is a one man operation, all of the drinks are self-service, which adds to the homey, chilled out vibe. I love what John is doing and I really hopes he continues with his no additives and sustainability policy. This is a perfect restaurant for the HBC area and I hope that it gets lots of support from the community.
House of Wings is located at 67, Sowol-ro 20 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul . The easiest way to get there is to jump the number 2 local green bus just across the street from Noksapyeong station (Line 6) exit 2. Then ride the bus through HBC all the way to the top of the Haebangchon Ogeori. Walk down the road by Tous Les Jours and you will see it on your left a couple hundred metres along. For more information you can call them on 070-8872-9123 or check out their facebook page.
Yesterday New York’s Shake Shack opened its very first branch here in Korea. The launch store is located on the main Gangnam street between Gangnam Station and and Sinnonhyeon Station. The burger joint is already insanely popular in New York and creates all kinds of crazy queues there too. When I visited NY last year I waited in line for half an hour myself, despite the fact there were at least half a dozen locations.
If there’s one thing that Koreans love to do, it’s queue up in line for food, so unsurprisingly the queues were epicly long. The place doesn’t actually open until 11am but I know there were people waiting in line for it from 7 am onward, now that’s what I call dedication to burgers. What is most surprising is that I joined that queue, even more so if you consider the fact I wasn’t all that fussed by the burgers the first time I tried them. However as much as I hate to queue I really wanted to give it a try before my vacation next week. I’d been keeping an eye on the food board groups so I knew what I was letting myself in for, and when my friend arrived at 3:30pm she was told the wait would be 2 hours long, which was just about manageable. The staff were really well prepared, they were handing out umbrellas and bottles of water, which I thought was quite sweet, they also had rock, scissors, paper games for free promotional goodies.
I finally got to Shake Shack around 4pm, my friend had already been waiting for about 30 minutes at that point, but once I joined the queue seemed to go pretty fast. As a rule I absolute loathe queues, so I brought supplies to keep me happy, namely vodka. It may have been a scorching 33 degrees, but with my Berry Moscow Mule in hand I was refreshed and having a good time.
The menu is the same as in the states, but with a few Korean extras, thankfully no kimchi burgers but I’m sure it is only a matter of time. There are burgers, hot dogs, shakes, concretes, local beers and wine. The menu is in Korean, but they also have English versions too. I also thought its pretty cool that they don’t put a limit on how much you can order. We saw dozens of people leaving with armfuls of take out bags, so that may be another option for you if you can’t face the line. I’ve also heard you can get it delivered via concierge serves like Atlas.
There are six different burgers on the menu priced between 5,400 – 12,900, thought the pricier ones are all doubles which I thought was very reasonable. There is also virtually no mark up on the prices compared to the states which is another plus factor. I think everyone and their dog has complained about burger prices over here so that was a nice surprise. By the time we got to the front we ended up ordering three different burgers, my favourite was the Smoke Shack (8,900), which was topped with apple wood smoked bacon, cherry pepper shake sauce, and american cheese. I love a good BBQ bacon cheese burger, and this was pretty great, no Mmm factor but it was a solid 8/10. I’d have liked a touch more seasoning in the burger itself but overall I enjoyed it. Though next time I would probably try adding the extra patty.
My bestie got the Shroom Burger (9,400), a portebello mushroom stuffed with muenster and cheddar which is breaded and deep fried and then topped with lettuce, tomato and shake sauce. This is their vegetarian option but you can also add a beef patty to it if you like. This is one of the burgers I had in NYC, it was nicer than I remember, probably because I didn’t get for take out this time. The cheese stuffed mushroom was good, but not as good at the Smoke shack in my eye, though my girl Lizzy disagreed, this one was her favourite.
As I’m such a kind and devoted girl friend, I also picked up the Shack Burger (6,900) for TFB. He had neither the time or the inclination to stand in a queue for burgers but we thought we would treat him anyway. For a simple six dollar burger this was pretty up there, not amazing but good for what it is. Though I couldn’t help but think it was kind of like the love child of a McDonald’s quarter pounder and a Burger King whopper. If you could just walk in off the street and get one in 5 minutes then this would be the place to go, but with the queues like they are right now I’d suggest sticking with a whopper.
Potato wise, there are Fries (3,900) and the Cheese Fries (4,900). Honestly the cheese fries sucked, there was just a splatter of this vile yellow sauce on them, I’m not sure what it was made from but it sure didn’t taste like cheese. The fries themselves were fine but really not worth the five dollar price tag and the portion was quite small too, give me some maccy D’s fries any day of the week.
Between us we split a Black & White Shake (5,900). When our order arrived we were given the red bean by mistake, which was terribly upsetting, but they soon rectified the mistake. The black and white shake was alright but I honestly didn’t think it was anything special. It also didn’t seem that thick and actually melted very quickly, perhaps their ice cream machine was overworked but it was a bit shit if I’m being honest. I would rather spend the extra money on two burgers next time and forget the sides.
Shake Shacks other claim to fame is its concrete frozen custards. So I had to try the new Gangnam flavour (5,900). A single vanilla concrete mixed with jam, cookies, marshmallow, and soy bean powder. I was really looking forward to this but again, it was already half melted when it arrived. It tasted nice enough but again not good enough to justify the price. This is Seoul and there are hundreds of places selling pretty great shakes and ice creams on almost every street that you walk down. They are going to need to really up their game if they want to compete on more than a brand name recognition basis.
Overall I liked the burgers, they are certainly worth it, the fries and shakes not so much. While the queues are still monstrous I’d advise you to save time and pay a couple extra bucks and go to Gilbert or Left Coast. However once the queues have dissipated and you can walk straight in and order, they are great burgers for the price. If you do decide to wait in line, just be prepared and bring plenty of booze like we did.
Shake Shack is located at 452 Gangnam-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam station (line 2) and come out of exit 11. Walk straight for 200 meters, you will see Shake Shack ahead on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-553-5576, or check out their website for more details.