Tag: restaurant

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. 

Morococo Cafe

Moroccan restaurant Casablanca in Haebangchon is pretty widely regarded as serving Seoul’s best sandwich, if not the world’s. If you have still yet to try it, then stop whatever you are doing right now and go give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Due to its popularity the tiny restaurant has expanded year after year, along with the menu.  However owning one restaurant was clearly not enough to the Moroccan brother duo who started the place and they have since cast their net a little wider to include a second location, which is located just across the street in fact.

The new Morococo Cafe has an entirely different menu than flagship store Casablanca. As the restaurant has only been open for about two weeks they are still in their soft opening phase, so the menu is still quite tiny. Since there are only three dishes on the menu and two sides, we figured it would be churlish not to give everything a try. We also decided to get ourselves a glass each of wine, because at 5,000 a glass, why the hell not!

We started the meal with the Carrot Salad (5,000). As salads go this one is pretty banging, if you’ve ever had the carrot salad across the street this is a jazzed up version. The fabulous spice marinated carrots are topped with prunes, toasted almonds and feta cheese, it’s unbelievable, especially for the price. All the flavours and textures just work so well together.  If they were open for lunch this is what I would be eating every day.

After the salad we moved on to the main course of Lemon Chicken & Green Olives (11,000). This isn’t my first time tasting this dish, I was lucky enough to try it at pop up event they hosted a few years back. For me this was the star dish of the evening. The tender slow cooked chicken effortlessly fell of the bone and was full of so much flavour, the salty olives complimented the dish perfectly and it was served with freshly baked Moroccan Bread (2,000) to sop up all the left over juices. There wasn’t a speck left in my dish by the time I was finished with it, it was absolutely heavenly.

Four our second main we got the Lamb Kefta Tagine (11,000). Not too dissimilar to the Lamb Shakshuka on the menu across the street. Little lamb meatballs were cooked in tasty spiced tomato sauce, and served with an egg yolk in the middle. This is exactly what you want to be eating right now, warm and filling without being in the slightest bit heavy. If you are a big eater you may want to add a side of their delicious spiced rice too.

Overall I was thrilled with the new Morococo Cafe. The new place exudes just as much warmth and hospitality as Casablanca, and the new menu items are really well priced and flavourful. It’s the perfect week night date spot, or weekend for that matter. I can’t wait to see what else they will add to the menu once they are fully open. I heard a rumour on the grape vine that there may be a lamb shank dish coming soon, which is very exciting indeed as you can never have too much lamb.

Morococo Cafe is located at 45-9 Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6). Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Keep walking straight along this street past Phillies. You will see Morococo Cafe a little further up on the right hand side opposite Casablanca. For more information you can call them on 010-4228-8367 or check out their facebook page. They are open from 5pm – 9pm everyday, except Mondays.

Root

I like to consider myself a healthy eater, (seriously lol). I believe in the ying-yang approach, super healthy followed by super unhealthy to create balance in an otherwise unstable world. Now while I spend most of my time looking for Seoul’s more fattening fair, and reserve the healthy stuff for home I do enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal out and about once in a while. For the past few months I have read dozens of good reviews for Root in Hannam-dong, so after putting on some serious weight due to sheer laziness on my part, I figured it was about time I got back on the wagon and gave salads another try.

The cafe is located at the Hannam end of Itaewon, an area I often fail to visit, but hosts a whole load of cute and quirky places. The restaurant is located just off the main drag on the second floor.  The place is very white, light and airy, and makes you feel virtuous just walking into it. It also has a mix of indoor and outdoor seating which is a real rarity in this city. I’m sure come summer this place will be a packed to the rafters with sun worshippers try to get their beach bodies in shape.

The menu is located up at the counter where you will need to order your food, and has a mix of salads, sandwiches and Korean inspired dishes. After much humming and hawing I decided to order the Avocado Toast (8,500), since both of my dining companions had ordered salads. I really liked this dish a lot, I mean avocado and poached eggs is always a winner, and it came served on a lovely thick slice of toast. The bacon added a nice saltiness, and the cherry tomatoes a little acidic zing. My only complaint is that I wish the portion was double the size, but if you are a light eater this is ideal. Slap a mimosa on the side and you’ve got brunch, although as Root doesn’t serve alcohol you will have to bring your own!

As well as my Avocado toast I thought I would treat myself to a smoothie. They have two on the menu and I went for Orange, Banana, and Greek Yogurt (6,500). This was really disappointing, first the way it was served was just quite sad. They make an extra effort to put their water in biodegradable cups then serve their rather expensive smoothies in cheap plastic cups. The whole thing was utterly tasteless too, I was so uninspired I could barely bring myself to take a photo of it. Be sure to give it a miss.

One of my dining companions went for the Green Bowl (12,500). A mix of chicken, kale, romaine, avocado, cherry tomato, Parmesan cheese, Parmesan chips, and Caesar dressing. Honestly this was alright, but nothing to write home about, it was a nice enough salad, with a good ratio of ingredients but it didn’t really have me longing for more. The dressing was a bit wishy-washy too, I like my Ceasar dressing to really sing to my taste buds.

My other gal pal about town ordered the Red Bowl (13,000) which consists of chicken, brown rice, romaine, avocado, corn, black bean, salsa, sour cream, mozzarella and cilantro chipotle dressing. This was definitely my favorite of the two. A little bit more flavour from the dressing but again not a salad I would go out of my way for. She also ordered a bowl of soup on the side, which looked good, and she seemed to enjoy.

Overall I’m not really sure if Root lived up to its hype. I’m certainly happy to see more of this style of restaurant opening in our neighbourhood, though I don’t think the salads here were as good as the ones at nearby What A Salad.  I did however enjoy my dish, and I’d be happy to give a few of their sandwiches a try. I’d certainly be open to eating here again if i was making an extra effort to be healthy.

Root is located at 2F 741-19, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hangangjin Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight along this road, then take the second right. Walk straight along this road and you will see Root on the second floor in the right hand corner above Bistro Al Li. For more information you can call them on 02-797-9505. They are open everyday except Tuesday from 11:30-9pm with a break between 3:30 and 5pm on weekdays.

Souva

Greek food in Seoul has pretty much been stuck in the dark ages for the last decade. The few restaurants that have been open since the dawn of time in Itaewon rarely change their menus or inspire me to eat their food, and since my favourite place for a gyro, Baby Greek, closed down I’d pretty much given up on eating them and stuck with a good old lamb kebab to satisfy my cravings. However last week it seemed as though a new day may be dawning when Souva opened up in a gigantic second floor restaurant in Gyeongridan. It being located in my hood, I set off with a couple of friends to go give it a try. As stated the place is huge, with a large bar as soon as you walk in and plenty of window seating. The designers have stuck with the typical industrial style chic that most of the local restaurants tend to go for, along with a few colourful nods to Greek culture. I was also pleased to find that the whole menu has been designed by a British/Greek consultant chef, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the cooking world. So far so good.

As soon as I saw that the cocktails were made by Phil of Southside Parlor, I knew they would be good, so I started the eve with the Sunshine Sangria (11,000). The mix of sauvignon blanc, aperol, peach liquor and mixed fruits was sweet, refreshing and exactly what you will want to be drinking this spring. I also tried the Zeus Almighty (13,000), made with rosemary gin, blood orange cordial, Campari, and pomegranate soda. If you enjoy a Negroni you will probably be a fan of this, its slightly less bitter cousin. It was very easy to drink, I had practically finished it by the time the food arrived.

After perusing the menu we decided to split a couple of dishes between us, and the first one to come out was the Trio of Dips (14,000). From left to right there is harissa hummus, whipped feta, and tzatziki. We were also given an ample supply of pita. This is not usually worth mentioning but I don’t know how many times I’ve been to restaurants in Seoul where they have seriously got the ratio of dip to dippables completely wrong. My favourite of the bunch by a mile was the tzatziki, this is the best tzatziki I’ve had in a long time. It was so thick, creamy, and flavourful from the herbs with a nice bit of tang from the lemon. It was also extremely thick. Good Greek yogurt is hard to find here, or very expensive to make. However this stuff was stiffer than a hard…. The feta dip too was nice, very salty from the feta so you didn’t need a lot of it. The hummus was not bad either, nothing to write home about but it did the job. The pita bread was great though, it was just so soft and fresh. I was told it comes from a local bakery, I’m guessing the bakers table, but I could be wrong.

I always enjoy a salad, especially one that comes with Halloumi,  so we opted for the Halloumi, Pomegranate, Edamame and Carrot Salad(13,000). Some of my favourite ingredients were in this so I was excited. Presented it looked pretty enough but in retrospect the salad would have been easier to eat if the halloumi was cut into smaller pieces. While there was nothing wrong with the salad per se, it just seemed to be lacking, and I don’t think we even finished it in the end. This was not the first carrot salad I ate this week and compared to the other, which was a third of the price, this one just couldn’t compete. There were a couple of other salads on the menu, so I would probably try something else next time.

Finally our Lamb Pita (12,000) arrived. This was the dish I was really excited about, being a huge lamb lover and kebabs being one of my favourite takeouts at home. When I bit into it, the lamb was flavourful and super tender, thanks to it being slow cooked. No one wants to gnaw on a gristly hard bit of meat so this was excellent. The pita was thick and pillowy, the sauce tasty and tangy. This really was spot on, and very filling. I’ve never had chips inside my pita before, but I don’t think they really made a huge difference either way. But this was so good, I’m still thinking about it. I will definitely be ordering it again.

Overall I was pretty impressed with this place, it’s a much more modern take on Greek food than what we have been used to. I’m glad Greek food in Seoul is finally getting a bit of life breathed into it. The cocktails were tasty and strong, while being reasonably priced and the food was pretty tasty for the most part. The space is huge, so it will be perfect for large groups, and if it stays busy it should be a fun venue to eat in. I’m sure if this place proves to be popular we can only expect to see more Greek restaurants opening which is never a bad thing.

Souva is located at 668 Itaewon 2(i)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station(line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight and take the underpass across the road. Take the left stairs up and follow the road around the corner Souva is on the second floor a little way along the Gyeongridan main street. For more information you can check out their website or call them on 070-8610-0277.

Jung Sik

Every since I was 10 years old and I visited Marco Pierre White’s Criterion, I have had a penchant for fine dining. While it is a hobby I can not afford to practice as much as I would like, it is a passion none the less. Seoul is certainly a youngster in this arena, however big steps have been made in the last few years, with Seoul even getting its own Michelin guide at the end of 2016.  One of those stars was awarded to Jungsik, which has always been highly regarded as one of Seoul’s best restaurants. I actually got my first taste of Chef Jungsik Yim’s food when I visited their bar, which is located downstairs. But Valentines Day provided  me my boyfriend, with the perfect excuse to splash out and finally get to try a whole meal.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, though we opted for the former. There are three different set menus available at at lunch, a four course for 60,000 per person, a five course for 80,000 per person or an eight course tasting menu for 150,000 . As it was lunch we decided to just stick with the four course. The meal comes with an appetiser, a rice course, a fish or meat course, and a dessert. However as it was a super fancy meal an amuse bouche was also included. And as amuse bouches go, this one was pretty impressive. There were five different elements within the dish. A corn dog, or at least their fancy take on it, fried potato on a stick, a salmon ice cream cone, a rice and seaweed wrap and a radish and fish pancake. A great way to kick off the meal. It being a special occasion and all, we also ordered a bottle of champagne, well, Cava (60,000), but it all looks the same in the glass. The wine list was actually pretty large and the prices were fairly reasonable. Considering what some bars in Itaewon charge, their prices were not bad at all.

No sooner than the champagne selfies had been taken, our first courses arrived. My starter was pretty much my idea of food heaven. The simply titled “Mushroom” left a lot to the imagination, but all was revealed when it was presented to me. Nestled under a forest of delicious buttery mushrooms was a crispy egg. Once I broke through its crunchy exterior a golden yolk oozed out and provided the perfect sauce for the mushrooms. It was exquisite.

My beloved instead chose the crispy octopus with gochujang aioli (10,000 won surcharge). This dish was similar to one of the dishes we enjoyed at the bar on our previous visit. As you can see, it was a visually stunning dish. This is the kind of plating I yearn to learn.The aioli had a hint of spice to it without being overpowering, while the meaty piece of tentacle had a crispy outside. Personally I liked mine the best, but he suffers from an intense dislike of mushrooms, and so preferred his.

After the appetisers we were given the rice course. I opted for the kimbap, while TFB tried the Aromatic rice with barley and perilla oil. Both dishes were beautifully presented but the kimbap really stole the show in terms of flavour thanks to the kimchi tartar sauce, and the crunchiness of the seaweed. I thought this to be the most traditional of the dishes we tried, and really incorporated a lot of the most popular Korean flavours.

For our main we both selected the lamb with ginger vinaigrette as it’s one of our favourite meats, but this was probably the least favourite dish of the meal for me. The lamb had been cooked very slowly but there really wasn’t much flavour and the texture was a bit amiss. TFB in particular likes his lamb “lamby” and was a little disappointed. The dish was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it just lacked a bit of oomph.

Luckily we ended on a high note with a collection of desserts. The Cheongdam Pie, aka apple pie, was pretty special. Caramel sauce, apple puree, and ice cream were layered upon two crispy biscuits. It was a total “Mmm” moment. We also tried the Dolhareubang, a green tea mousse concoction that is their signature dessert. Let’s face it is kind of a work of art. The sesame coated man, in the shape of one of Jeju’s famous Hareubang, was filled with green tea and chocolate ganache. He was rather delicious indeed.

Overall I’d say that Jung Sik just about met my expectations, and we had a very enjoyable lunch. It’s the ideal date restaurant for when you want somewhere special. It’s really exciting to see Korean ingredients used in this way, so I’m glad I finally got to try it. By the time we polished off our coffee and petit fours, we were pleasantly full. The bill came in at just under 200,000 which I thought was good considering we had a bottle of bubbly too. The menu is the same for both the lunch and the dinner service, except the lunch is about half the price, so take that into consideration if you are on a budget. You could also try eating at the bar downstairs if you are unable to get a reservation, as they offer a lot of the restaurants most popular dishes, and a very large selection of wines by the glass.

Jung Sik is located at 11 Seollungro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Rodeo (yellow line) and come out of exit 4. Walk straight for one block and then turn left. The restaurant is on your left hand side, and the restaurant is the second floor. For more info/reservations you can call them on +82 2 517 4654, or visit their website. Reservations are taken up to one month in advance and are recommended.

Bagel MTL

There aren’t many things I’ll get my lazy ass out of bed for on a Sunday, but brunch is certainly one of them. And last weekend I managed to drag myself and my friends all the way across town to the new and trendy Hongdae suburb Yeonnam-dong. Its not my first trip to that side of town, I’ve already written about French Bistro L’Empreinte, but it has been a while since my last visit.  This area is pretty popular right now and many of the places we passed on the way there had big queues in front of them so we had our fingers crossed that we would get a seat at Bagel MTL.

Luckily when we arrived we found there was plenty of space inside Bagel MTL, though it was packed by the time we left at 2pm so try and get there a little earlier if you want to guarantee a seat. The cafe cum restaurant  is super cute, with a couple of small tables, a huge communal one and a comfy seating area. it’s just the kind of place you want to spend a lazy weekend in.

The menu boasts about a dozen different kinds of topped bagels, there seems to be plenty of different types so there should be something for everyone. Orders are placed up at the counter to make things easier, so don’t sit down and expect them to come to you. If you are buying a bagel you can add a refillable filter coffee for an extra 1,000 won, how amazing is that? It’s just cheap, run of the mill, filter coffee, but at that price who cares?

Seeing as it was brunch, I ordered the B.E.A (8,000) which is bacon, a egg and arugula. The bagel arrived beautifully presented and I couldn’t wait to get tucked into it. Now I’m no bagel expert, I’ve eaten a my fair share, but this is my first time trying the Montreal style. Apparently the hole is bigger they are sweeter and denser. These babies are made in house which I think says a lot for the place. I especially enjoyed the bacon, I’m not sure what they did to it, but it had been smoked or coated in something delicious. The peppery arugula was a nice addition and the soft boiled eggs made it into a proper brunch. The bagel was slightly hard to eat because of all the topping but that’s a small quibble. I also enjoyed that the bagels came with a small side salad, nothing fancy but some feta, tomatoes and crunchy celery, it was appreciated.

As well as the B.E.A we got the Chicken & Salsa (9,000). This was a more lunch type bagel but the salsa was tasty and homemade, The chicken was moist and tender, again it was hard to eat without a knife and fork but it was fresh and flavourful. Since we were a menage a trois of brunchers we opted for a Lox with Cream Cheese (10,000) too. I imagine this is a very popular choice, it came topped with red onion and capers and plenty of cream cheese. I had a small nibble but as you know I’m not really into salmon, however everyone else enjoyed it.

As well as the bagels, we also ordered a portion of their Beef & Barley soup (3,000). This is exactly what you want to eat in this weather and the soup was delicious. A good broth filled with proper chunks of vegetables, beef, and barley. I imagine it would be very good with a bagel dipped into it.

Overall I was very impressed with Bagel MTL and shall certainly be returning. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the food delicious and more importantly homemade. The price was right too, brunch and coffee for under 10,000 is a rare find these days. They also do a take out orders for those who prefer breakfast in bed. Be sure to give this place a try before it gets super trendy and has a never ending queue.

Bagel MTL is located at 223-21 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae (line 2), and come out of exit 3. Walk straight along the paved park type area, then take the the fourth main road to the right. Walk straight along this road, you will see Bagel MTL just up ahead on the left hand side.   For more information you can call 02-322-9288 them on or check out their facebook page. They are open from from 10am-9pm and closed on Tuesdays.

Beth’s Poutine

Recently I have been taking a new route to work, and that route leads me through the Bogwangdong neighbourhood. Like the ever popular Hannam, Haebangchon, and Gyeongridan, this cool little area is only a short walk from Itaewon. If you’ve yet to explore these cool little communities then it’s time to get on it as you are really missing out.This insatiable cold weather has got me seriously craving comfort food, and nothing is more comforting than chips. So after passing by several times, the blue beacon of Beth’s Poutine finally lured me in through its doors. (more…)

Romantic Restaurants

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around. Actually cold is in the air and I’m freezing to death, but love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is on the way. And if you are in a relationship you are pretty much obligated to take your significant other out for a romantic dinner. I know some of you will be rolling your eyes so far back in your head that you’ll be needing medical assistance to get them back in front again but it’s not just V Day, this post applies for anytime you may want to have a nice night out with your someone special. the list is split into budgets so there should be something for everyone. The prices are a just a rough estimate and priced per couple not per person, based on a main course each and a shared starter and dessert. I haven’t included booze in the costings because booze is pricey here in Korea, and most of us are raging alcoholics which seriously inflates the price of dinner. So if you are on a budget I suggest you get wasted at home first, Personally I’m a big fan of Costco’s 8,000 sparking wine especially when served in a 3,000 won Daiso champagne glass. Who knew being so classy could cost so little? (more…)

10 must eats in Siem Reap

If you have been following my Instagram account then you will know that for the past week or so I’ve been living in up in Cambodia. I have have spent the past week and half eating everything in site while sunning myself in the gorgeous Pavillion D’Orient Hotel in Siem Reap. If you’ve never visited the home of Angkor Wat before, then you should know that this place is filled to the brim with all kinds of delicious treats and that Khmer cuisine has been seriously over looked in favour of its neighbours’. The best part about Cambodian food is that it is insanely affordable, everything is at most a third of the price that it is in Seoul, if not cheaper. So for that alone it makes the perfect holiday destination.

1 – Fire Ants – When researching what to eat in Siem Reap, I came across many recommendations for Marum Restaurant which is a profit free place dedicated to helping the local community by training their staff how to cook. One of their most famous dishes is the Spicy Beef with Fire Ants ($6.60), a delicious stir fried beef dish which is strewn with crispy ants. This dish was scrumptious and I wasn’t at all creeped out eating ants, you can have it by itself or add a side of rice to make it a meal. They also have a fab happy hour from 4pm-7pm which we took full advantage of while enjoying their lovely garden setting.

2 – Noodle Soup – I adore a big bowl of noodle soup which regular readers will know about from my tonkotsu ramen obsession. The Khmer noodle soup is slightly different from its other Asian counterparts but no less delicious.  A huge bowl of tasty broth is filled with thick handmade noodles and garnished with fresh herbs, chillies and lime. This particular bowl was served as  part of the breakfast at the  60s inspired Viroth Hotel. The meatballs inside were a bit on the strange side, but he noodles were incredible and I happily scarfed down a bowl each morning.

3 – Lok Lak– Beef Lok lak is one of Cambodias most famous dishes,  and you will see it on virtually every menu in the city. The beef dish comes served with salad for you to eat alongside the meat. The meal is then either rounded our with rice or with french fries. This dish is from Our favourite cheap eatery The Red Angkor. A brother and sister team own the place and always give a warm welcome while serving incredibly tasty food at rock bottom prices. Nothing on the menu costs over $4 and this Lok Lak was a mere $2.50 they also offer 50 cent beers which pretty much guaranteed that we visited the place frequently throughout our trip.

4 – BBQ Skewers – Another dish that you must try in Cambodia is their BBQ. Not that different to the style we have here in Korea, but the meat selection is usually a wee bit more adventerous. We unfortunately didn’t have time to to make it a meal and have the full shebang but we did enjoy these fantastic Beef Skewers ($3) at the Khmer Grill. Yes, that’s right, they were a dollar a piece. The chunks of beef were sandwiched between slices of carrot, onion and paprika, cooked on the outdoor bbq and served with a lime and pepper dip. Suffice to say, it was three dollars very well spent!

5 – Amok Curry – The amok curry is probably the other most famed Cambodian dish. We tried a couple of varieties during the course of our trip, including one served in a coconut. The curry itself is very mild, and those who enjoy Thai curries may want to amp up the flavour a little. This is a version that we made in our cooking class at Phum Baitang which was filled with the snake fish we had bought at the local market. Again this is a dish you can expect to see on menus everywhere, there are also versions with chicken and pork if you don’t like fish.

6 – Fresh Juice & Smoothies – Cambodia is filled to the brim with delicious fresh fruits and veggies, you only need to take a look around the local markets to see the bounty of fresh produce available and many of the newer western restaurants are taking advantage of this to make refreshing fruit juices and smoothies. We came across several Balinese-type, healthy places which along with drinks had a variety of dishes catering to vegans, vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions. The juices at ARTillery Cafe were some of our favourites, and it was conveniently located right next to our hotel. Pictured is the Ginger Aid and Mango Madness ( both $3).

7 – Chicken cashew – We enjoyed this dish in virtually every restaurant we went to, as it is a pretty much a favourite of mine and TFBs in South East Asia. The cream of the crop of these cashew chicken dishes  was at the New Leaf Eatery for $6. Other than the Red Angkor this was probably our favourite place to eat. It’s another non profit restaurant and the food was just incredible. It was one of the few places we ate western food too, their steak baguette was knock out and well worth a try if you are in the mood for a sandwich.

8 – Frog – Kermit and his loved ones are a pretty popular dish on the menus of Khmer cuisine, and find them cooked in a variety of different ways. We tried this spicy stir fried version at the Khmer Grill ($3), but you can also get them deep fried. This was my first time eating frog, and I have to say it’s just a lot like a tiny chicken wing. If you really want to go crazy, some of the street stalls serve tarantula, cockroach, lizard, and snakes for 50 cents a piece. I couldn’t bring myself to try them though, it made be shudder every time I gazed upon those deep fried cockroaches. I know that’s lame as hell for a food blogger but I just didn’t have the stomach for it.

9 – Rice Soup (Bawbaw) –  Of all the new dishes that I tried the Bawbaw was probably top of my list. Similar to the Khmer noodles, the broth is full of rice, rice noodles, meal and veggies. It is a little similar to Vietnamese pho, but in a totally different way. The broth is so simple and clean, yet studded with flavour. If I was feeling sick this would be my absolute go to soup. At our beautiful hotel Pavillion D’Orient they served this bowl of magical goodness for breakfast though they also had it on their restaurant menu for ($5) and it is an absolute must try.

10 – Angkor Beer & Nuts – You cant leave Cambodia without trying the local beer and there are two varieties, Angkor beer and Cambodia beer, TFB preferred the Angkor and I tend to agree with him. The beers can be purchased for as little as 50 cents on draft and about 60 cents a can in the supermarket. When buying a beer in a bar you’ll also be given a bowl full of nuts that are seasoned with chili, lime leaves and garlic. Those babies are insanely addictive and I even took to buying extra beers just so I could eat the nuts. I am going to have to have a go at recreating these myself because I have already eaten my way through the humble supply I bought before I left. If anyone is in Cambodia right now, I’ll love you forever if you bring me back a bag or two!

NY Burger & Bagel

As you may know my search for a good burger in this city has been relentless, and I tried dozens of places before finally finding my favourite  at Itaewon the Burger. If you ever think that my blog is always on the positive side and never offers bad reviews, that is because it is carefully curated and I only share my favourites or those I find to have value in their uniqueness or locations . After expressing my disappointment with so many of the burger joints that I tried and didn’t blog about on my Instagram account I was reached out to by many other burger aficionados who felt the same way I did. One of these was NY Burger and Bagel in Gangnam, which the owner Mark declared to be the best burger in Seoul, I snorted with derision as I had heard that plenty of times before, but when he kindly invited me and a few friends to give them a try with no obligation to write a review, I figured why not. The restaurant is located right by Gangnam station, which is really a bit of a black hole when it comes to good eating, as the exorbitant rents have pretty much left us with a load of old crap, so for that alone I figured it would make an interesting post if the claims were true.

The restaurant is located a couple of streets back from the main drag, just far enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of Gangnam life. The restaurant is adorably cute with a white facade, faux grass and some tables outside. Once the spring comes around this will be a prime piece of real estate to brunch in, but since it was -6 we favoured a table indoors. The Inside is fairly small with a large semi open kitchen taking up a good third of the space but was still ample enough for me and my crew and a large table of office workers.

As we were guests of the proprietor he kindly asked if he could select his favourite items for us to try. Being a pretty agreeable bunch we were cool and the gang with that and we kindly accepted a delicious glass of mulled wine while we waited. Unfortunately the mulled wine is a season item but I was assured that it is going to be replaced by a cocktail that is equally delicious.  The first burger to arrive was the Once in a Bleu Moon (11,500). I’m a blue cheese queen so couldn’t resist the lure of a burger topped with blue cheese and crispy bacon. The beef burger was cooked to medium, and was well seasoned, while the bun was soft and and buttery. The burgers here don’t come served with anything, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine (fries are mandatory in a burger experience, not optional) so we ordered a portion of parmesan garlic fries (8,000). This was a large portion that we shared between four of us. It also came with a fresh herb ranchy type dip called the green goddess which we were all fighting over until it it was gone. Like most burger places in Korea they also do 1/2 sets of fries with a drink for 5,500.

 

The second burger we tried was the The Wasaaabi??? (11,500). A beef burger topped with pepperjack cheese, grilled onion, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi mayo. As much as I love wasabi I was first a little skeptical about this meaty treat but it ended up being the unanimous favourite of the day. Beef and wasabi is surprisingly a match made in heaven, and after consideration, it being so close to mustard, I can see why. The wasabi was mixed with mayo so it wasn’t at all overbearing and you could still taste the flavour of the beef, and the shiitake mushrooms cheese and grilled onions. It was a total Mmm experience. My only regret was that I was sharing it with three other people.

 

The last burger we tried was the Bubba Gump (22,000). The Forrest Gump namesake is topped with blackened cajun shrimp, american cheese, salad and cajun mayo. It’s pretty steep at 22,000 but hey it’s Gangnam and there are plenty of more reasonably priced options on the menu. I really liked this one, as I was loving the cajun mayo. Honestly I don’t know if I really needed the shrimp, I was more than happy to eat them but I think the same burger without them would have been just as tasty and a hell of a lot cheaper. We finished up with a drinkable dessert in the form of their Peanut Butter Milkshake(5,500). This was indescribably rich and ice- creamy and every sip was totally nutillicious. This was the thick shake that I have been longing for, for quite some time and we all agreed it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Overall I really enjoyed the burgers at NY Burger and Bagel, the Wasabi burgers gave me the Mmm factor I was looking for and I’m thrilled to have a good place to eat near Gangnam station. The menu is quite large so if burgers aren’t your bag there is also a breakfast menu and some other popular NY style lunch items that the owner missed from living in New York. When the weather turns warmer than this will be an ideal spot for a weekend brunch and I’ll certainly be giving them another try once spring rolls around.

NY Bagel & Burger is located at 827-37 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam station and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself and walk straight, then take the next right. Walk along this street for four blocks then take the right after that. You will see NY Burger and Bagel a little way ahead. For more information you can call them on 02-553-7792 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 10am-10pm.