Thursday, August 07, 2008

not taipei: Seoul, Korea

Even though I've found some great Korean restaurants in Taipei, you can't compare them to the real deal in Korea. I got to visit Seoul for the first time a few months ago for a very BRIEF trip, but I still got to explore a little bit and eat some good food.

First of all, how come there is a Krispy Kreme in Seoul and not in Taipei??

Someday soon, maybe. And how awesome and random that they were handing out FREE donuts when we walked inside- of my favorite- the original glazed donut, hot off the roller/fryer. It seemed to be good for business, as people still left with boxes of other donuts and we were licking our fingertips of the sugar.

As we wandered around Myeongdong (the Ximending in Seoul), I spotted international brands left and right, not only for clothing, but also for eateries, as well as a few cute little bistros and even a breakfast diner that we've seen pop up recently as well in Taipei. I even spotted a Coffee Bean and the Japanese tonkatsu chain Saboten which is popular in Taipei.

There's also quite a bit of street food- fried delicacies, tempura, spicy rice cakes.

I just didn't have enough time to browse and buy everything. I headed straight to my favorite stationary shop in Korea- Artbox- to get a new stash of unbearably cute bags and notebooks (you can find the stuff in Taipei, but it's much cheaper in Korea) and then it was time to meet up with my relatives for dinner.

We ended up at a bbq place called Itaewon Restaurant (on the street of the same name). Let's just say I left full and happy. With lots of meats to grill and a cold neangmyun to slurp down. You know they mean business when their url is Ha ha.

Surprisingly, they can even do a decent Western breakfast. Granted, it was the Grand Hyatt in Seoul, but I've had some really bad experiences with Western breakfasts in Asia (specifically China!) The blueberry muffin was especially moist and I wanted to pocket a few for the road.

1~3 FL New Seoul Building
Myeongdong 1-ga 59-21,
Jung-gu, Seoul

112-5, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

747-7 Hannam 2-Dong, Yongsan-Ku,
Seoul, South Korea 140-738


Vincent said...

isn't seoul sweet? make sure to check out samcheong street-- there's a coffee place called "a jazz story" and has different live bands playing every night. very nice.

joanh said...

vincent: hi! thanks for commenting! i wish i had gotten to spend more time there, but i'll def check that out if i make it back there again some day.

Sera said...

You went to Seoul! I'm seoul-blooded but actually have never been to Korea if you can believe it. The first thing I want to do if I go visit is try the streetfood ddukbokki (spicy ricecake)and gyuhranmaree(korean danbing).

Anonymous said...

I guess we are spoil in California for Krispy Kream just few miles away from my home and across in store sold in boxes. Planing trip to Asia soon and checking out Hong Kong Krispy Kream.

I always wonder who was first with the rice cakes Shanghainese or Korean? The savory ones with meat and vegetable?

ayl said...

How cheap was the stationary? I find it foolishly cheap in Taiwan already. I bought a bunch of notebooks to bring back to, which my mom thinks is a waste of luggage space.

I remember they used to have a bunch of sprouting krispy kreme shops in Toronto, but with people becoming muhc more health concious, almost all the stores are gone now. And they used to hand out free donuts too!

joanh said...

sera: yeah! you should definitely go!!!! i wish we had more time there.. before Seoul, i had a chance to visit Pusan and Jeju. they are all very different.

anonymous: hmm, not sure. I would guess the Chinese. haha. Though the Korean kind is SO spicy.

1pinecone: it was pretty dang cheap. Stationary is cheaper in Taipei than the states, but specifically I was talking about artbox's stuff, which is korean.

Bicyclesidewalk said...

Korean food - perhaps some of the best food in Asia - However I too am rooting for the cuisine in Taiwan if it was to come down to a cook off - so to say - Love your site - Moving to Taipei in October - looking forward to hitting up some of the places you have mentioned here - thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am korean who want to travel to taiwan next week, christmas. I was searching for what to eat in taiwan cause i have only 3 days = 9 meals. haha

I really like your blog, and i am leaving this post on your trip to korea. i hope you had good time. it felt strange to see photos of familiar myungdong i hang around from a blogger far far away.

joanh said...

bicyclesidewalk: how has it been so far in taipei? hope the blog found you some good places to eat at!

hyunjae: yeah, i know what you mean! maybe you can give some recommendations for seoul the next time i go! hope you get to eat lots of good food while you here. try the traditional chinese breakfast and din tai fung and a night market!