PEr FYI

June 2, 2019

Wang Dae Bak, Singapore…at last, a Korean with real Seoul

It is an expression of Korean culture and Wang Dae Bak delivers that in spades. It has amazingly authentic K-ambience where the food arrives rapidly and the bill doesn’t faintly depress you. It feels like a rare, special place, offering familiar Korean flavours.

The menu covers a tight edit of all the things you’d expect to see. The marinated prime rib and marinated shoulder were incredible renderings. The spicy chicken is a little greasy, but satisfying for all that. The seafood pancake is bang on. The downside is that the very hard and tough pork rib didn’t reach the heights of everything else.

Over the speakers, K-pop boys sing on, but I only have ears for this shameless pork. A visit to Wang Dae Bak is dinner deep in Seoul where the smoke gets in your eyes, your hair and your memory. And I like it there.

If you are ever nearby, you know what to do. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 15, 2018

Seo Rae Heon, Seoul…a hot pot spot

It is plonked  in the very busy Lotte Department Store if you fancy something spine tingling spicy.

I opted for the octopus and bulgogi hot pot – which were meant to be fused together in a big steel bowl meant to serve two or three medium-hungry people – dropped in the veggies on the tabletop induction burner and watch the steam rise. Soon, I stirred the pot and figured it had all been cooking long enough, so I spooned the spine tingling tangy/spicy soup on a bowl of rice which made it a lot more compelling. The bulgogi was a decent quality of meat but I’d rather have it with a slightly sticky marinade adding a pleasant sweetness than soaked and overpowered in this soup.

Though the flavour was good, Seo Rae Heon will not be my first choice.. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 8, 2018

3 Geori Butchers Blue, Seoul…meat mecca

Sleek without being imposing, this Korean barbecue restaurant is the real deal. When a Korean barbecue place wants to set itself apart from all the other Korean barbecue places, it has essentially three variables to play with: meat, heat and sides

The meat is luscious black iberico pork from Spain. The pork belly – a cut with the perfect balance of fat and protein is the true star. The other meat that really steals the spotlight is Korean beef sirloin – premium Korean beef sirloin that has nice marbling with natural flavor. They don’t try to be overly clever, or self-consciously modern, rather concentrate on getting the fundamentals right.

Oh, for a table-top barbeque place, 3 Geori Butchers Blue is not smoky at all. This way, your happy dining memories can live on in your social media, and not on your clothes.

If you’ve got that BBQ craving, then you’ve come to the right place. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 27, 2018

Samgeori Pocha, Seoul…something a little different

If you like great value delicious food, plenty of soju shots, and hanging around young people, particularly students, this place might just be your spiritual home. Bursting full of character and loaded with 70s chic, Samgeori Pocha is a classic Korean-style (pocha) bar.

The unabashedly spicy tteokbokki was impossible to put down. For those who are not familiar with Korean cuisine, tteokbokki refers to of chewy rice cakes and fiery, funky gochujang chili paste together with other ingredients such as seafood, scallions and egg.

Expect fantastic retro ambience, irresistible drinks and a night you won’t forget anytime soon.  This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 29, 2017

Neurin Maeul Brewery & Pub, Seoul…fruit makgeolli madness paired with flavor-bursting food

I’ve read that makgeolli is a growing trend among the youth in Asia and I can see why. This fragrant milky goodness or “rice wine”, is sweet and smooth with a little tang and the right amount of carbonation to make it refreshing.

Neurin Maeul is an urban brew pub in Jongno Center One Building with an in-house brewery that you can examine through its plate-glass walls. A pub run by one of the country’s top brewers, you will find food and drinks for you to “enjoy slowly”.

The pan fried Korean style seafood pancake was incredible. It had a nice crisp all throughout. The seafood was anything but sparse and retained the perfect texture, without being overcooked or rubbery. Spicy seafood tteok-bok-ki with cheese is one of the hardest to spell Korean street foods but if you’re a tteokbokki fan the chewy rice cakes and fiery chili paste here are impossible to put down. The brewery’s pork plate marinated in house makgeolli was stunning. The meat was amazingly tender and seasoned perfectly. The assorted savory fishcake soup was refreshing, tasty and so comforting.

Needless to say, the main draw of Neurin Maeul is that it offers a wide range of makgeollis flavoured with fruits. You can get out of there nicely drunk and feeling very satiated with the good food. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 10, 2017

All Day Fresh Kitchen, Seoul… exceptional panoramas but food fairly forgettable

The view from All Day Fresh Kitchen is mesmerising. That’s if you get a window table, of course; diners within the restaurant’s interior will see little but open sky.

As for the menu, it’s  competent rather than exciting. I had the Han-U Sirloin Steak – sirloin steak, eggplant, baby carrot, garlic, sunchoke, shitake mushroom. I thought the food fairly forgettable; more safe than interesting

However, one caveat is that with terrific view, this place doesn’t offer tremendous value for money. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 13, 2017

Gooseul Hambak, Seoul….big on flavours.

Hambak steak is the Korean-style hamburger steak made from ground meat and served with rice or mashed potato rather than buns.

Gooseul Hambak’s original hambak is a tender and juicy steak patty bathed in rich flavoured sauce. Enhanced by a velvety yellow egg yolk and some side dishes, it makes a simple yet great meal. The price is reasonable and the service extremely quick.

Whether you are just in the area, and like me, need a bite to eat this place definitely should be on your go to list.  I dig it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 24, 2017

Korean Country Food, Seoul…Comfortable no frills atmosphere and large portions

This restaurant in Myeongdong is a good option when you want to eat authentic Korean food. The interior is simple but comfortable – the no-frills Korean atmosphere seems to exude authenticity. The service is curt and fast.

Boneless Jjimdak (boneless deep stir chicken with special medium sweet soy sauce). It was basically a stew of slowly cooked chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots, green onions, cabbage, all swimming in a delicately balanced rich soy and oyster sauce that was sweetened with rice syrup and brown sugar. Sweet.  Spicy.  Rich.  And HUGE! The three of us could not even finish a plate.

Prepare to leave stuffed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 10, 2017

Gllfarm Eel Restaurant, Paju, Seoul…you have to eat here

Eel is referred to as the one of Korea’s healthiest foods. If you are daring and want to opt for eel, Paju is is a hedonistic eel paradise.

The scene here is serene with a Zen detachment. Everything is good… most of it is exceptional. The seductively grilled eel will be one of the plumpest and softest fish dishes to touch your lips, and is drenched in one of the tastiest and most addictive sauces you’ll ever want to lick clean off your plate. (Don’t though, that would be vile.)

I have always loved Japanese unagi, but Korean eel? That’s right, my friend, someone should have told me about this decades ago…This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 24, 2017

Loco Loco Seafood, Seoul…seafood lover’s paradise

The clue to what this casual Seoul restaurant serves is in its name – it’s all about the seafood. Diners in the know head to Loco Loco for its impressive seafood dishes.

Try the sliced raw octopus – octopus that’s served raw and sometimes still squirming. Rubbery, bland and wiggling in the mouth. There’s no denying it’s an interesting experience. For less adventurous eaters, the restaurant has plenty of other options. The Loco Loco steamed clam is also worth a try.

There’s plenty to enjoy here and all for reasonable prices that will keep you coming back for more raw octopus. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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