Tag: chicken

Bao Bar

Despite the cold weather and slow season, new restaurants have been popping up in the hood left right and centre. One of these newbies is Bao Bar, a restaurant located above Nori Table, and Gino’s Pizzeria which is specialising in serving bao buns. As a new spot they invited me along to come and give their menu a try and after seeing some of their food online I really couldn’t resit. The new spot is located on the third floor of the hottest new building in town. Despite it only being finished at the end of last year the place already houses four restaurants, so I’m guessing the rent must be a total bargain (yeah right). The restaurant itself is small but light and airy thanks to the huge floor to ceiling windows taking up one side. The kitchen runs along another wall so you can see what’s going on in there too. The menus come on iPads which I always think is pretty darn cool, but if you are a bit of a technophobe it’s also on a chalk board.

The first item I tried was the Pork Bao (4,900). This little beauty was stuffed with braised pork belly, peanut powder, coriander, and pickled cucumber. This is the most classic version I feel, and very similar to the bao buns I have tasted elsewhere. As soon as I bit into it a loud and resounding Mmm was heard. It may not be very scientific but this is how I like to judge my food, and If it makes me groan with pleasure then its usually a good sign. The pork belly was melt in the mouth and worked perfectly with the other ingredients. It was the ideal mix of sweet, salty and sour. The size is fairly decent and there is plenty of meat inside, you order them in pairs so two should leave you reasonably satisfied, though if you are as greedy as me you may want four.

At the moment there are currently only two bao buns on offer, the other being  the Truffle Bao (4,900). This baby was stuffed with mushrooms, parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Again this bao bun was delicious, another total orgasmic Mmm was heard. I honestly would be hard pushed to pick which one I liked more. Nothing gets me going like buttery mushrooms and truffle oil and throw in some parmesan and you have yourself a partay! If you are a fan of mushrooms then this one is a must try. There are a couple more baos on the menu that are set to come soon, including a fried chicken and a spicy lamb which i am dying to try, but so far so good on the baos!

The menu is not just bao buns,  they have a couple of asian salads, pasta dishes, and this delicious Buttermilk fried Chicken (18,500). The crispy fried chicken is coated in their own signature sauce which is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. The chicken is a mix of wings and boneless pieces which I really liked and the portion is ample. Our only note was that we would like a creamy dip on the side for dipping, and they obliged us with a small pot of their Caesar salad dressing, which worked quite well.

Lastly we had to try the Truffle Fries (7,500), I mean who can resist fries topped with parmesan cheese and truffle oil. These were pretty much as good as they looked, totally nommy. Crispy and tasty, and a nice flavour of truffles throughout. My companion said she may even like them more than the ones at another of our favourite restaurants, and that is really saying something.

Bao Bar is still a new restaurant but my experience was great, the atmosphere is chilled and laid back and the food was absolutely delicious. Its so great to see that we are getting new food items in the city and I can see bao buns being a big hit with both Koreans and expats. The menu is only going to expand over time so if you are hankering after some yummy buns of meaty goodness go pay them a visit.

Bao Bar is located at 3F 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and exit using the lift. Walk over the bridge and then take a right, follow the road around and you will see Gino’s Pizzeria just ahead on the corner above Nori Table. Walk around the corner past the Gino’s entrance and walk up the stairs and take the lift up to the third floor. For more information you can call them on 02-6012-0780 or check out their facebook page. They are closed on Mondays and open for lunch from 12pm-3pm and for dinner from 5:30pm – 10pm. 

Halal Guys

The most exciting event of the year has finally came to fruition. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, though I am excited about that too. It’s the long awaited opening of one of New York’s favourite street foods, Halal Guys on Saturday December 17th! Now being a blogger sometimes has its perks as I was lucky enough to be invited to give  it a try during their soft opening phase. I first  fell in love with the delicious foil bowls of chicken and rice goodness when I was in New York last year. In fact despite all the amazing goodies I devoured on the trip it was one of the most memorable meals. Not long after my return from NYC Jil’hal Bros opened up their own version of the NY street food here in Seoul and I have been a very frequent customer ever since. However I have still hankered after the original so am pleased as punch they are here too, especially since it’s in Itaewon! (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…)

House of Wings

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Jil’Hal Bros – Hongdae

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One of my favourite foodie finds from last year was the chicken and rice from the Halal Bros in NYC. Then rediscovering it here in Seoul was the cherry on top of the cake. If you’ve yet to try the gloriousness that is chicken and rice, then you need to head on over to Jil’Hal Bros pronto. Since opening their first store in Cheongdam last summer, they have become insatiably popular and have since opened a second store in Hongdae. Meaning I no longer need to travel to Gangnam to get my fix, and trust me this stuff is more addictive than crack!

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The menu is the same as the original store, tender slices of lamb or chicken over rice with salad, sauce and pita, or kebab like wraps (4,500). As much as I liked the wraps they are fairly similar to those at half a dozen or so restaurants in Itaewon, so they don’t interest me as much. However the chicken over rice is epic (6,500). It’s insane that something so simple could be as highly addictive as it is. TFB prefers the lamb (7,000) but sometimes I’m greedy and get both. In fact whilst I’m being honest I get two chicken and one lamb! Only the combination of three boxes can satisfy my crazy cravings!

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The restaurant in Hongdae is pretty tiny but has bar style seating for about 5 if you want to eat in, they also have a couple of sodas and such forth. But whether you eat in or take away this is one treat that you need to try. Clearly the store is doing well and my wish is that they will soon open a store in Itaewon so I can eat it everyday until i grow tired of it and move on to my next obsession! But for now the new Hongdae store will do.

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Jil’Hal Bros is located at 153-3 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station (line 2) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight out of that exit for maybe 100m and then turn left. Jil’Hal bros is just along this street on your right hand side. For more information you can call them on or check out their facebook page. If you are lucky enough to live near to Hongdae you can even get it delivered!

 

 

Original Pancake House

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A few weeks ago I was walking down Itaewon High Street and saw that yet another a new restaurant was being built, when I saw that it was a pancake place I didn’t pay much attention, but I quickly found out that the new opening of the Original Pancake House was a very big deal indeed, or at least to my American friends. Original Pancake House is located in the old Burger King location just underneath Coffeesmith, I believe they also have a location in Sinsa too, though I’ve never ventured there myself as I’m not overly keen on pancakes. Personally I like to start my day with something savoury, the thought of eating cake soaked in syrup before my eggs always sends a shiver down my spine, and they always seem too stodgy and filling to eat as dessert. But since they went to the effort of opening a restaurant here in Itaewon, It would have been rude of me not to give it a try. (more…)

The Little Pie

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A well baked pie is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  Nothing can rival a shell of pastry which is flaky, golden and crisp while inside are chunks of tender meat and glorious gravy so rich you will savour every drop. Served on its own or with veg and mash, a good pie is very hard to beat. However a good pie is also hard to make, pastry that’s well cooked and not soggy on the bottom can be quite a challenge and rather time consuming. And with ready made pastry being very hard to find in Korea I’ve been left yearning for my favourite meaty treat for the past 7 years. (more…)

1981

1981 is yet another new restaurant to hit the Itaewon scene. They just had their grand opening a few weeks ago, and knowing that it was owned by the lovely folks who brought us Left Coast, I couldn’t wait to give it a try, so I rounded up my posse and went to check it out.

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Vertex Chicken

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When I heard that a new chicken teriyaki place had opened up in Haebangchon I put it on my list of places to try. However when I heard they were giving away their food for free it jumped straight to the head of the queue, and I ran there as quickly as my chubby little legs would carry me. (more…)