Itaewon Global Village Festival – October 15th-16th

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For those at a loose end this weekend, the annual Itaewon Global Village Festival is happening. The whole of the main street is closed off and lined with dozens of different stalls selling food and drink from all over the world. The stalls vary from year to year, but in the past I’ve sampled delights such as empanadas, samosas, scotch eggs,and spring rolls. Clearly I have a fondness for deep fried foods, wherever in the world they may be from.

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Not all the stalls are made equal of course, there will be some crummy hot dogs and lines of people queuing up for run of the mill kebabs. However one stall I won’t be missing out on is the Carnitas tacos from Vatos! Although if you prefer your tacos with a side of margarita, you can of course go swing by the restaurant itself, which is ideally located on the hill to give you a view of all the action with the pushing and shoving.

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The weather looks to be gloriously sunny tomorrow so it’s ideal for a spot of day drinking and hanging out on the street and watching the crowds go by. There will be some form of entertainment happening all day long, expect to see dancers, singers and a DJ or two on the main stage. So get your convenience store drink on and go join the party.

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The Itaewon Global Village Festival is being held on Saturday October 15th & Sunday October 16th. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and come out of exit 1 or 4. The festival will be right in front of you, so you can’t miss it! For more details you can check out this website.

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Al Aziz

A few years back I did a review of all the kebabs in Itaewon. I ran all over the neighbourhood buying up one from each restaurant and then put them to the test. However since then, I’ve found an even better one thanks to a top tip from a very good friend. Although I think they were hoping I was going to keep this one on the down low, this gem of place was too good to keep to myself.

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The kebab house is located up on the hill near the mosque. The place is pretty small and there is only seating for a couple of patrons, although you can of course take your kebab to go.The simple menu is displayed on the wall as you walk in. The options include; chicken, falafel, lamb, cheese, cheese and zatarr, and meat and cheese.

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The first kebab I tried was the chicken (5,000).This is usually my go to kebab, so I needed to see how it compared to my usual favourite. Straight away I noticed that the bread was hand made. It was as puffy as cloud, and lovely and chewy like a good pita-esque bread should be. It was a real step up from the tortilla wrappers that most of the kebab shops in town use. Inside were chunks of tandoori-like marinated chicken that retained their tenderness while still having that charcoal taste. Also inside was a mayo based sauce and some salad. This was much more similar to the shish kebabs we get back in England. I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture but the taste was awesome.

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As well as the chicken we also tried the Falafel (5,00). I often make falafel at home, but have always found them dry when having them in restaurants here. This one was tasty as hell, crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. It was as good as the chicken in its own way. It would be hard to choose between them, luckily they are cheap enough to just get both!

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Last I tried the lamb (6,000). I got this one to take home for TFB so I don’t actually have a picture of it. The friendly owner advised me they are best eaten straight away but I had to take it for my beloved. This one was just as good as the ones that proceeded it. For a start it had big chunks of lamb meat, and not the reconstituted doner style stuff. Again it had the same fillings as the other, I just amped up the spice level a little on this one, which really worked with the lamb. If you like shish kebabs back home, then this is much more in the same wheelhouse. The marination on the meat is a little different and more Indian in the flavours but overall this is a pretty darn good kebab.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the other ones, but this one is in a league of its own, especially considering it is the same price. Be sure to go give it a try next time you are out on the lash.

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Al Aziz is located at 137-14, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until you reach the corner with Dunkin Donuts and turn right. Walk up this road, and cross once you get to the foreign food mart. Keep going straight up the hill and take the next left and walk up this street. Al Aziz is on the left hand side before you get to the GS Mart. For more information you can call them on 02-790-9865.

Food Week Korea 2016 – A World of Flavour

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It’s that time of year again, its Food Week! As usual it’s being held at Coex on November 2nd – 5th 2016. This years theme is A World of Flavour, so expect to see an International flair at this years event.  This years event is set to be even bigger than last years, which boasted 900 hundred different exhibits, stalls, and manufacturers selling their wares to 80,000 visitors.

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This years Food Week 2016 will host a number of international guests including a Turkish pavilion, Chinese pavilion, and an ASEAN Fair dedicated to ASEAN local food. Most of the stalls will be giving out out free samples or some kind of promotional goodies. There will also be a whole host of cooking demonstrations and competitions to watch.

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For those with a passion for cakes, pies, and baked goodies, the Seoul International Bakery Fair will
be held alongside Food Week Korea. There will be plenty of opportunities to satisfy your sweet tooth
and pick up any baking or cookware you’ve been after.

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I have been to the exhibit the past few years in a row and there is always something interesting to see, buy,  or taste. If you are a newbie to Food Week, expect to see booze, baked goods, machinery, packaging, ingredients, cooking competitions and so much more. So if your idea of a good time involves walking around a supermarket devouring as many free samples as possible, then Food Week is the exhibit for you. Just be sure to go hungry!

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Food Week Korea will be taking place at Coex, Seoul from the 2nd – 5th of November 2016. If you would like to get free tickets you can register on the Food Week Website! If you decide to visit on the day, tickets can be purchased for 10,000 won. For more information about food week please call +82-2-6000-8160 or check out the Food Week website.

St Andrew’s Ball 2016

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Another day, another swanky event on my calendar. This time it’s the annual St Andrews Ball. A spectacular soiree dedicated to all things Scottish. This years ball will be held on November 26th at the Grand Hyatt hotel. The event starts at 7pm with a champagne reception then moves on to a fabulous five course Scottish dinner including haggis! All night long the booze will be flowing freely as you ticket includes as much drink as you can take. The exact menu isn’t finalised but expect to enjoy Gavin’s sausages, Macallan whiskey, and Bagend Wine. (more…)

Wee Nam Kee

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More often that not whenever I am doing a spot of shopping in Myeongdong I tend to grab something hot and tasty off one of the street stalls, but this past weekend I was out a bit earlier in the day and they had yet to set up. So rather than miss a meal I instead ventured across to the Lotte Department Store food court to get something hot and tasty in my mouth. Usually when I’m in here it’s to get Panda Express, but I prefer to reserve the cheap and cheerful Chinese for when I am hungover and when only deep fried artificial sauce goodness and cheap noodles will do. After taking a good look at all the options I was drawn to the crispy roast chicken in the window of Singapore stall Wee Nam Kee. I recall trying the Hainanese style chicken and rice in Singapore when we travelled there a few years back but have yet to have it since, and had no idea it was available here in Seoul. (more…)

An Englishman in Seoul – Arirang TV Documentary

Over the past few weeks I have been filming with Arirang TV to make a documentary called Englishman in Seoul. The programme was commissioned to coincide with the launch of Arirang TV in the UK. It is now available on Sky TV channel 690, and of course online and on youtube, so there is no reason at all for you not to watch it. The documentary shows the insatiably interesting lives of three British men and women and living in Seoul, South Korea. The show is centred around Tom Chambers from Bulldogs, Sean Blakeley from the BCCK, and yours truly.

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Sprout

As you may know I have been trying to be a little more health conscious lately, although that didn’t seem to stop me stuffing my face with pizza and cheeseburgers while guzzling Moscow Mules like they were going out of fashion last weekend. To balance my somewhat dubious diet I try to eat as cleanly as possible from Monday to Friday. So when Sprout, a vegan and completely additive free homemade meal service offered to provide me with a weeks worth of free meals I was only too happy to oblige them in their offer.

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McCoy’s

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With my jam packed schedule it has actually been quite a while since I last had a chance to eat at my favourite HBC bistro, McCoy’s. So when they invited me back to try their new menu, i just couldn’t say no. I last reviewed the cute and quaint eatery at the end of last year, when it became one of my most popular date night restaurants. Not only is the place absolutely adorable, the food is also fantastic and it’s very well priced. I hoped that nothing had changed in that department since my last visit and luckily I wasn’t disappointed. (more…)

Pub of the Month – Phillies

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I’ve decided to add a new feature here at Fat Girl entitled “Pub of the Month”. You may be aware that over the past year or two a lot of long established expat watering holes have closed their doors for the last time. They may have had toilets that smelled like chlamydia, floors stickier than jam, and furniture that was falling apart, but they were there for us when we needed them. The times we were too drunk to get into that fancy club, when we were so pissed no one else would serve us, to provide us with fried foods to help sober us up for the long journey home, to never judge us for the mingers we hooked up with, or to mention that time when we threw up all over the pool table. Those pubs were there when we were feeling down and lonely and needed to go somewhere where everyone knew our name. I might drink a lot less that I did 8 years ago but I feel it’s my duty to support my old favourite drinking holes so they too don’t suffer the same fate from rent hikes and be turned into yet another coffee shop. (more…)

Chuseok Restaurant Guide

Chuseok is on the way, T-2 days in fact, and that means a five day weekend! Now if you are not one of the lucky souls visiting family or using the time to travel to far flung and exotic places because you didn’t have the foresight to book a flight back in January then all is not lost. Chuseok is the perfect time to enjoy our beloved capital city Seoul without the crowds. The intense heat has died down and we have nothing but blue skies and sunny days ahead. Now while you are enjoying the city it is important to keep yourself nourished, so here is a list of whats open and when over the holiday period. (more…)