Saturday, March 30, 2013

Foods of Pyeongchang: Doam Siktang (도암 식당)

One of Hoenggye's most popular restaurants is Doam Siktang (도암 식당). On any evening in the peak season you can expect to see the restaurant full with people. By far the most popular dish here is the Gangwon-do specialty, Oh-sam-bulgogi (오삼불고기). '오' standing for 오징어 (squid) and '삼' standing for '삼겹살' and of course 불고기 here does not mean beef, but perhaps just refers to the fact that this is cooked in a similar fashion to normal bulgogi, well-marinated and cooked on a pan over a flame on the table.

Gangwon-do, these days, seems to be doing a lot of creative things with their makkoli. One of which I see the most varieties of is corn makkoli. While I'm certainly not against getting creative with makkoli, this particular flavor is just one I can't really enjoy. I have tried at least 3-4 different brands of this, and each time we are left sorely disappointed....


Anyway, on to the food. Above is our oh-sam-bulgogi just after it arrived on our table. A few fresh vegetables, but lots of meat and squid.

 While it doesn't look particularly appetizing in the first photo, when it starts cooking it starts looking tastier and tastier. I'm not generally a huge squid fan (though I like it more than other sea creatures), I really do enjoy the squid in this dish. I still am not a big fan of the tentacles yet though.

And of course, when you've eaten 5/6th of your meal, that means it's time to order the bokkumbap. Turn that heat back on and fry up your rice with the remaining meat and sauce. 

Yum yum!

Doam Siktang is located right in the center of downtown Hoenggye, directly to the left of the rotary if you enter coming from the direction of the highway.  The main eating area is actually on the second floor, but they use the first floor for overflow when it gets too crowded.

강원도 대관령면 횡계리 323-6 
Gangwondo, Daewalleong-myon
Hoenggye-ri 323-6
--> 033-336-3816

View Doam Siktang 도암식당 in a larger map 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Flat Stanley Comes to Seoul!


I was very surprised to receive an envelope in the mail a few weeks ago with a little paper man and an an explaination. Flat Stanley was a boy who was flattened by a bulletin board which hung over his bed.  Now Stanley is flat enough to be stuck in an envelope and mailed around the world rather than going by plane.

This is a project being done in my cousin's son's first grade class. Each child colors their own Stanley, and then sends him off. Stanley is then passed from person to person until April when he must be returned to his home and family. I thought this was a very cute idea and a fantastic geography lesson, so I gave Stanley a very quick tour around Seoul before sending him off to his next location.

We left my house, which is a traditional style Korean house called a hanok in the morning and headed off to work.

I think Stanley liked the alley I live on, there are several other traditional houses down there besides mine.

Stanley came to my work. He was very impressed because it was nothing like my house, it was a very modern building on a busy street crowded with cars, taxis and buses. 

After work we went to Tapgol park, one of the first public parks in Seoul and famous because of the independence movement protests that started here during the Japanese colonial rule in 1919. We went inside to see the famous pagoda, but unfortunately, the park was closing for the evening and we got kicked out before we could find the pagoda.

We were cold, so we went into one of my favorite local cafes in Jongno (downtown on Seoul) and we had a cup of chai latte. People were busy studying and chatting. Cafes are one of the most popular places to hang out in Seoul.

After a fun day together, Stanley was ready to go off to his next destination, Santiago, Chile. I wish him the best of luck on the rest of his adventures!

Teachers or parents, if you want to try a similar project, I think it's a great idea. Here are some websites to help, but there are huge Flat Stanley communities and blogs, so be sure to do a quick Google search as well. - See where Flat Stanley has been! - Get your own cut out Flat Stanley template

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Me on Arirang Radio and in 10 Magazine!

I haven't been posting much on the blog these days, I've been insanely busy between work, grad school and studying Chinese, but I haven't been completely off the air, so to speak. On February 15th, I was invited as a guest on Arirang radio. The program Catch the Wave hosts a weekly program called 'I Heart Korea' where they feature local ex-pats who happen to love Korea. Thanks to the Qi Ranger for throwing my name out there.

While in the studio, I saw a very familiar face and realized that I had been sitting next to none other than Hyun Woo Sun from Talk to Me in Korean. I've been hearing his voice and watching his videos since 2008, back when he mainly worked with Anyway, I introduced myself and the three of us, with Adriane, the host of the program got a photo together. Apparently Talk to Me in Korean has a weekly Korean language segment on Catch the Wave where they teach fun Korean expressions every week.

It was really interesting to go to their broadcasting studio. I've never been in a place like that before and it was kind of exciting to be in that kind of environment. And, I must say, much less stressful than filming for TV.

To listen to the program, click here:

But, not only that, but for the past few months I've been contributing to 10 Magazine here in Seoul as a food writer. Here are my most recent contributions:

Chang Su Rin: Thai Take-Out
January 2013

Pyong Ga Ok
February 2013

100 Best Dishes at the Country's Best Restaurants
Traveler's Picks 1-5
March 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blue Fish: Seafood in Gangnam

Several weeks ago I was invited to a meal at Blue Fish, a Santorini themed sashimi restaurant in Gangnam. They specialize in a from-the-sea-to-the-plate experience making sure to bring you only the highest quality seafood available. This is their first location to be opened, but knowing that this is operated by the same company that runs YeonTaBal, you can know what to expect. 

The restaurant has many custom, privatized eating areas for groups, and another open eating area for smaller parties.

I particularly liked the ambiance here, it sort of felt as if we were underwater.

As customary in Korea, the tanks are out in the open for all to see. I was assured that dead fish are never served, which apparently is something that does happen in other local restaurants.

As to be expected here, the banchan are served almost like an art form.

We ordered one of the set menu options. First we were brought over this exquisite plate of sashimi...

And then our own personal chef came over to personally cut up and serve our main dish of sashimi.

While this was quite a huge amout of food, my hosts insisted on ordering two portions of 생선조림 (Saengseon Jorim) which is thickly stewed fish in spicy sauce.

Waste not, want not, the parts of the fish that we didn't eat as sashimi were thrown into this pot and brought over to us as maeuntang, or spicy fish stew.

Though I was already bursting through the seams, more came out. A basket of yummy twigim (deep-fried vegetables) and 생선구이 (Saengson Gui), fried fish.

Finally, we were served a light desert of fruit, a perfect ending to this huge feast.

As you might be able to guess from the photos, this is definitely a high-end restaurant. It's a good choice if you want to go out for a special occasion or impress a girlfriend or client, or if you just have a craving for high quality food. Since Blue Fish oversees the fishing and transport of all their seafood, prices for the course menu start from 65,000 per person and go up from there depending on what kind of fish you order. They also have a lunch menu to check out, too.

서울 강남구 
논현동 165번지 
서희빌딩 2층

SeoHui Building 2F
Nonhyup-dong 165
Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Phone: 02-547-9223
Website: (Korean only)

View Blue Fish in a larger map

**I was invited here by staff of the restaurant with the intent of publishing on my blog. I did receive a free meal for writing this blog post. **

Friday, March 15, 2013

L'atelier and Passion5

Maybe you have noticed, but generally I spend my time frequenting a lot of restaurants, but there is little in me that would inspire me to go to any restaurant that would be described as 'posh', 'hip', or 'trendy'. However, I was invited by some coworkers to go to L'atelier, a restaurant specializing in Italian foods (despite its french name) and renoun on the Korean blogosphere for its desserts. To the point that when we arrived, we were asked if we actually wanted to eat a meal, or just desert.

We did decide to eat lunch here however, and so the three of us ordered the lunch set, at 26,000 per person. Salad, rolls, pasta, and a drink (coffee, milk or soda) was included.

Warm rolls!

Asparagus and seafood salad

Carbonara with an egg

Seafood Pasta

The food was good, portions are small, as you'd expect with any restaurant with prices this high, I suppose. More than I'd pay if I were choosing a restaurant, but the taste was decent. Though, it seems hard to screw up pasta. The rolls were definitely appreciated though.  If only there had been more...

But, of course, as I mentioned, this place is most famous for desserts, so we had to order... two...

First we got the 'Chestnut Crepe'... (15,000 won)

But, they all looked so delicious that we also got a 'Dutch Pancake' (16,000 won)...

This may be one of my first posts on desserts, and there's a reason for it. I lack the sweet tooth which most girls have. But, for someone who doesn't enjoy or crave sweets, I must say that this was pretty good. I am not a big chestnut fan, so the chestnut crepe was just ok, but the dutch pancake was quite nice. It took a while to bring out because they make it when it's ordered, but we didn't mind as we used that time to consume the crepe and digest our pasta.  The prices aren't cheap, but actually considering that they are easily split 2~4 ways, the price is certainly not unreasonable.

On our way out, we had to pass through Passion5 on the first floor, and couldn't help but look around.

Now, I can't attest to the taste of anything here, and I generally have low expectations for anything sweet in Korea, but at least it all looked good from the outside....

Per standard in a bakery in Korea, the cuteness was overflowing...

But, even if your sweet tooth isn't calling, they do have other kinds of snacks as well...

If you're in for a splurge, or a hyper-boost of Korean sweets, this is definitely the place to go.

729-74 Hannam-dong
Seoul, Korea
L'atelier Phone: 02-2071-9507
Passion5 Phone: 02- 2071-9505