by Michael Jones
When I first moved to Seoul I was surprised by the amount of bakeries. Nearly every block has at least one bakery and oftentimes even more. I love bread, so at first I thought this was a good thing, but then I realized that a lot of the places simply weren’t that good. I’m speaking to you Paris Baguette and some of the other major chains. Paris Baguette is about as French as I am, and for the record that is zero percent. All I wanted to find when I moved here was a really good baguette and after a lot of trial and error, I finally found a great bakery in Hongdae. The name of the bakery is Paul and Paulina. It’s a small shop and in the afternoon there is usually a large line of college students waiting to quench their appetites for all things gluten. I’ve sampled a lot of the breads in the shop and the scones are delicious too, but I always buy a baguette. I switch between the white and brown baguette depending on my craving. A full size baguette is (4,000) and a half is (2500). The white baguette is a lot softer and easier to eat. It practically melts in your mouth as you eat it. The brown baguette on the other hand is still soft on the inside, but has a nice golden brown crust that is crunchy and amazing. The baguettes break apart easily in your hand and are the perfect companion to a good cup of coffee. I really need to find some good butter and bring it to this place because I’m sure combined with the deliciousness of these baguettes it would create a divine experience. If you like bread, this place is a must visit. If you know of any other great bakeries, then please let us know. We are always looking for an excuse to consume more bread.
Hongdae Station Exit 9
Take a left immediately
Walk straight until the road ends and turn right onto 와우산로 23 길
Walk down this road until you see the hill
Walk up the hill and down almost to the intersection and Paul and Paulina will be on your left
It is before the Starbucks and across the street from Crossfit AtoZ
by Ashley Heil
Uncle Sam's Pancake is a great new breakfast spot that is actually open, before lunch, every day. They open at 7 and while they don't offer fancy brunch cocktails, they keep things simple, cheap, and most importantly delicious. A good breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but I'm sick of paying 12,000 or more for a mediocre meal. From 7-10:30am, every day, Uncle Sam's Pancake offers a breakfast set for 8,000 won. It includes 2 delicious pancakes, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 sausage, 1 fried egg, and an orange juice or coffee. If you make it after 10:30 or want something else, they also have omelet sets, larger pancake sets, waffle sets, and french toast. Since we got there before 10:30, we ordered the morning set for 8,000 won. Everything was delicious. The pancakes were top notch, served with a little bit of butter, and on every table there was a bottle of real maple syrup, thankfully no Aunt Jemimas. Everything else was great too, the bacon was just right, and so was the egg and sausage. While it wasn't the most amazing breakfast I've ever had, it was really just as good as all of the other breakfast places I've been to, such as Butterfingers or the Original Pancake House (and if I remember correctly, the Original Pancake House charges extra for real maple syrup), and the prices here are much better. When I get breakfast I don't want to just eat pancakes, I want a full meal with more foods like eggs and bacon, so this set was perfect. The place is small, but the service was great and we were seated right away. We really enjoyed our food there and we might go back every weekend. So, if you're looking for a new breakfast place with delicious food without the ridiculous prices, Uncle Sam's Pancake is your restaurant!
Directions: Come out of Noksapyoung station exit 2
Walk up the road, and cross under the underpass when you see it.
At the end of the underpass, turn left.
Then turn right on the main road right up ahead.
Walk up the hill (as if you're going to the Hyatt hotel).
You'll pass the Well-Being gym and the big Cvs4u convience store.
Then, cross the road right after the convience store.
The restaurant will be on your left.
by Ashley Heil
Being pork lovers, samgeyopsal is one of our favorite Korean foods. However, sometimes the standard samgyeopsal that you get at a lot of Korean BBQ restaurants can become boring. A few months ago we started going to a new Crossfit gym in Hongdae, and we asked the owner what were some of his favorite restaurants in the area. He immediately told us to go to Dojeok (도적) for some awesome samgyeopsal, as it’s his favorite place for it in Seoul. So, that night we went. Over the past few months, we’ve continued to go back to this restaurant regularly and been amazed every time. We’ve brought Korean and foreign friends and they have loved it as well. This samgyeopsal is amazing. We have tried their traditional (plain) samgeyopsal, and it is great. It’s extremely tender, and one of our favorite for traditional samgyeopsals in Seoul. Sometimes while eating samgyeopsal you bite into those little hard pieces of cartilage that totally ruin a perfectly delicious bite, but you don’t get those here. Our favorite thing at this restaurant is the Gochujang samgyeopsal (13,000). I have to admit that the pictures don’t do this dish justice, it is hands down are favorite samgyeopsal in Seoul. The meat comes out marinated already and the servers help you cook it. The meal is also served with various raw veggies, such as carrots and sweet potato sticks that you can cook on the grill to enjoy alongside the meat. You also get the usual various lettuce wraps and garlic pieces, and a side of delicious doenjang jjigae (I just love this soup!). But it’s the meat that stands out here. The gochujang marinade is delicious and goes perfectly with the meat, but doesn’t have an overly powerful taste. The meat is good by itself or in the lettuce wraps. If you’re looking for a barbeque restaurant to go to in the Hongdae/Sangsu area, definitely give this place a try!
Come out of Sangu station exit 1.
Walk straight until you get to the first big street on your right.
Turn right on this street and walk along the left hand side.
When you see the Babeans coffee on your left, turn left on that street and the restaurant is across from it.
by Michael Jones
I love Burgers, I guess I’m not helping dispel American stereotypes, and yesterday I found a great burger. The shop is called 별버거 and it’s located in the Sangsu area. I've also seen it mentioned as Star Burger on reviews because of the star symbol on their sign. Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of burger places in Seoul and although there are some good ones, oftentimes they are either too expensive, small, or both. What I miss about the burgers back home is the focus on the essentials. I miss perfectly grilled burger patties, baked in house buns, American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, and juicy tomato. These simple ingredients done well combine to make one of the greatest foods on the planet. I don’t want a wildly expensive burger with a sprinkle of truffles and some rare cheese that leaves me ravenous. I want a greasy, simple mess that spills all over the place and makes you close your eyes it’s so good. This is the type of burger I found yesterday. It’s extremely delicious, cheap, and easy to get to. We are in the Sangsu area a lot because or gym is there and we’re always on the lookout for something new to eat. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of Bibimbap since we found a place that serves it buffet style for only 5,000 won. I will do a review of this place soon, but despite the phenomenal deal, I can only handle rice, veggies, and eggs for so long before I snap. So when we walked by this little unassuming burger place and I saw the prices I figured it would be worth a try. The place is small, there are about 12 seats, and it’s decorated in Americana. The smell of baking burger buns was intoxicating and this made us hopeful for the burger. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the double with bacon (8,800) and Ashley enjoyed the single cheeseburger with a fried egg for (6,800). The stock prices without extras like bacon and the fried eggs, were (7800) for the double and (5300) for the single with no cheese (5800 with cheese). I heard this place used to be slightly more expensive. These are the best prices for a good burger we’ve come across in Seoul. We also ordered fries, and they were very good, but the portion size was a little too small (2,500). The burger, however, was extraordinary. The bun was golden brown, warm, and slightly crunchy. The patties, Australian beef I believe, were juicy and perfectly seasoned, the cheese was gooey, the bacon was crispy and full of flavor, and the tomatoes and lettuce tasted fresh. I made a mess while I ate it, but it was a beautiful mess. The burger left me full and I will definitely be a frequent customer. For the price, I would say this is my favorite burger place. It’s a great version of the classic, no frills, American burger.
Sangsu Station Exit 1
Walk straight out of the exit for about 2-3 minutes
The shop will be on your right. On the sign there is a star symbol and then the word burger, but its real name is 별버거 ;)
by Michael Jones.
Korea produces some of the most delicious soups on the planet. I would say on par with, or even greater, than the other more well-known soups from Asia such as Ramen and Pho. There are so many varieties of soup in Korea that the Korean language has many different words like 국, 탕, 찌개, and 죽 to describe them. One of the most famous of these soups is Samgyetang. Samgyetang is the closest thing you will get to finding some old fashioned American style chicken noodle soup. My grandma always made hers with a whole chicken, freshly sliced carrots, onions, celery, and noodles. Samgyetang also uses an entire chicken, but instead of noodles, rice is used and is usually stuffed inside the chicken. The vegetables are also different and Samgyetang is made with ingredients like garlic, scallions, dates, and spices like ginseng and jujube. I’ve only had Samgyetang a handful of times, probably because it’s fairly expensive compared to a lot of other Korean dishes, and because I was never that impressed by it. This changed, however, when I went to Tosokchon Samgyetang (토속촌 삼계탕), near Gyeongbokgung, this month. I’ve walked by this restaurant many times and have witnessed lines 50 people long, so I knew someday I had to try it. The other day we did. It was about an hour before closing, so they were not packed, and I was impressed by the size of the restaurant. The place is basically constructed out of many conjoining traditional Korean buildings. I can’t believe a place this large could have waits out the door consistently. I knew at this point that we were in for something special.
The three of us ordered the basic, traditional Samgetang (~15,000 won) and a bottle of Makgeolli. A complimentary bottle of Insamju, or ginseng wine was served. However, this alcohol tasted so strong we didn’t drink very much of it. The chicken came out boiling and in a dark, rich smelling broth. After waiting a few minutes to save my taste buds, I ate the first spoonful and it was extraordinary. The chicken was tender and the broth was creamy rich from the bones. On the table there was salt and pepper provided so you could season it to perfection. I added just a pinch of salt before dismantling the chicken and spreading the meat and white rice through the broth. Every spoonful was packed with flavor and I savored every bite. Now I finally understand why so many people rave about this dish. I know one thing for sure, when you see Korean people waiting in line for Samgyetang this summer, be on the lookout for some foreigners, it might just be me and my friends.
Directions: Come out of Gyeongbokgung, exit 2 (subway line 3)
Walk straight about 120 meters.
Once you pass Popeyes and GS25, turn left onto the small alleyway.
The restaurant will be on your left.
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!