Flavor Abroad: Boulevard-ing in Seoul

Dear Flavor Boulevard Readers, It has been a LONG time since I’ve written for FB and I feel terrible! Although I suppose I am lucky just to share space here with the beautiful Mai and her equally gorgeous photography, and I can only hope that my posts contribute to the overall site. Long story short, the main reason why I have been away from the blog is because I was studying for my QEs (qualifying exams) and have been traveling in/around Seoul. I am finally writing this short post to announce a new segment: Flavor Abroad: Boulevard-ing in Seoul. This announcement goes hand-in-hand with my upcoming move to Seoul, South Korea where I will be spending at least the next 10 months beginning in mid-August for my dissertation research. While I will hopefully explore outside of Seoul, this little space will explore the foods that I ate/have eaten while primarily traveling/living in Seoul! I was also in Seoul this summer for a little over a month, so I have quite a few posts already planned! I am also hoping that the “boulevard-ing” part of this title would also give me an opportunity to share some photographs and stories that [...]

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Seoul Gomtang in Oakland

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This restaurant… The plus: 1. their steamed dumplings, despite being stuffed with 95% tofu and 5% unidentifiable substance (probably also tofu, but Cheryl and Eric hoped it was pork, so let’s go with pork), were big and well seasoned; 2. their kimchi seems homemade and tastes fresh. The minus: well… where should we start… [...]

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Why I Love Fried Rice

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Yangzhou fried rice, kimchi fried rice, chicken and salt cod fried rice, whatever-that’s-in-your-refrigerator fried rice…I love it all. Fried rice is the ultimate comfort food – it’s filling, healthy-ish (if you put in a lot of vegetables), and just hits the spot every time. Perhaps the best thing about fried rice is how easy it is to make at home! As someone who is still really learning how to cook, trying out a new recipe usually means that I’ll be spending anywhere from 30min – 2 hours in the kitchen (actually sometimes it takes me 30min just to prep everything because of my lack of knife skills). So for me, when I want a quick meal because I need to get back to reading or studying, or just because I don’t feel like devoting that much time to cooking, my go-to is always making fried rice. It usually takes me 15-20 minutes to cook fried rice at the most and while it probably is not the healthiest meal to eat every day, I usually end up making some kind of stir fry or fried rice at least 3-4 times a week because of how easy it is. Also, since [...]

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Photo Essay: Conference Eating in Seoul

Our private room!

When I wasn’t presenting at my conference in Seoul, we were eating, eating, eating! I learned that it is pretty typical to have a table covered entirely with food and drinks until there’s literally no space left so dishes started piling upon each other! It’s definitely the best way to eat in my opinion! Rather than writing a detailed post about each of the dishes I ate, I’ll showcase the food itself by displaying the photographs I took with little captions. Everyone was wondering why I was so intent on taking pictures of food, but when I’m in a new place and trying new foods, it’s just too hard to resist. This will probably be my last post on eating in Seoul, so I’ll end it with lots of pictures! Day 1 – Dinner at the Seoul National University Hoam House Our private room! [...]

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Best of Seoul: 달식탁 [Dal Ssik Tak] in Sinsa

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The day before my conference I met up with a friend from college and he suggested we eat at 달식탁 [Dal SSik Tak] since he heard many good things about the restaurant. We agreed to meet at the Sinsa station, which is a short walk away from the restaurant. Sinsa is located south of the Han River, which made it convenient for me because I had a pre-conference dinner at attend by the Seoul National University campus. I also haven’t eaten that much at the more upscale Korean cuisine restaurants because I’ve been mostly traveling on my own, so this was a great opportunity to try more traditional Korean cuisine. [...]

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Eating in Seoul: Sandwiches at Cafe Beati

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While in Seoul, I stayed in Hongdae for 5 days and Myeondong for the next 5 days to experience different areas of Seoul. Since I was in a hostel at Hongdae and raw eggs and bread were provided, I never had to worry about breakfast. However, moving into a hotel in Myeondong meant that I would have to start going out for breakfast. I was worried because it seemed like nothing in Hongdae opened until 12:00pm (except for Cafe Berlin and a few other cafes that opened “early” at 10:00am). Luckily, just down the road and across the street from Hotel Astoria is a little cafe called Cafe Beati (카페 베아띠) that is opened at least before 8am (I am not sure when it actually opens but when I stopped in it was already open at 8:00am). The owner of the store was one of those people who absolutely refused to speak to me in Korean despite my not using any English. This is probably good news since this means that it’s a pretty accessible cafe for non-Korean speakers, but it definitely made me self-conscious about my Korean skills! [...]

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Eating in Seoul: Spotlighting 4 Hongdae Restaurants

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Since Hongdae is where I stayed in Seoul, this is where I had most of my meals. In this post I’ll spotlight 4 restaurants that stood out to me mostly because of the dishes that I had there. These include: Korean-style onigiri (rice balls), kimchi mandu (dumplings), vegetable and meat pancake, and gamjatang (potato soup) without the gamja (potato). #1 Kong’s Riceball It was my second day in Seoul and I was still very overwhelmed with being in South Korea. I had a pretty big lunch at the museum cafe in the War Memorial of Korea and on my way back to my hostel, I wanted dinner but just a small dinner. I remembered passing by this restaurant the day before when my friend was showing me around the area and figured today will be the perfect day to try it! [...]

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Eating in Seoul: The Hello Kitty Cafe

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While figuring out where exactly I was staying in Hongdae, I printed out the map on how to get to my hostel from the limousine bus stop. The map was marked with restaurants and cafes to use as landmarks while navigating through the backstreets of Hongdae. To my surprise, on this map a location was marked as “Hello Kitty Cafe.” I’m not the biggest fan of Hello Kitty, but there is something about themed cafes that really excites me, so I knew then that I had to go. (Or okay maybe I am a LOT excited about Hello Kitty…) It is PINK in here. It was a little blinding, but I felt so happy once I stepped inside! The music consisted of club dance music too so that definitely contributed to the upbeat atmosphere. I couldn’t decide what to order at first since all the cakes and drinks looked super cute and yummy, but I decided to go with the prettiest treats because how often is it that I get to go to a Hello Kitty-themed cafe? [...]

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Eating in Seoul: My Favorite Cafe

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As a graduate student, I find that I need to always be constantly reading and writing. However, I am not someone who can study easily in a library – it’s a little too quiet and after a while, I start to freak out. I need a little bit of noise to keep me motivated, which is why I prefer to study at cafes all the time. Seeing that I was in Seoul to present at a conference, I needed to get on top of my studying too and took a few days to relax a little bit and read. For the first half of my trip I stayed in Hongdae, which is a super cute neighborhood outside of Hongik University, an art and design university. There were so many cute shops and vendors open during the day and clubbing at night; I can definitely see why this is such a popular place for young people! My favorite part of Hongdae though are the cafes – each cafe is unique and has its own charms. I obviously did not get a chance to hang out at every single cafe, but I did have a favorite while I was staying in [...]

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Eating in Seoul: Street Foods

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This past June, I spent 10 days in Seoul to do some research and to present my paper at a conference. But of course, I didn’t stop with my food exploration while abroad. I’ll be writing several posts over the next few weeks to document the food adventures that I had in Seoul! For this first Seoul post, I’ll cover the street foods that I ate! I regretted not trying as much street food as I could but I’ll profile the foods that I did try! Any suggestions for next time as well are welcome! The first street food that I had in Seoul were these delicious chestnuts right outside of the Anguk Station (I think it was Exit #3). I love roasted chestnuts and these were flavorful and meaty – they have a texture similar to that of a baked potato and are deceptively filling. [...]

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