We’ve been asked so many times about what we ate on our holiday, especially from those who’ve heard mouthwatering tales about the food in Korea. I can now confirm – they’re all true. 😁 There was so much deliciousness, and today I’m looking back at some of the Seoul food (get it?) and snacks we tried during our first four days there, when we stayed in Gangnam.
Our 1:30 am flight from Hong Kong meant that we arrived in Seoul just before 6:00 am on Monday morning. The moment we stepped out of Incheon airport we were greeted by a minus 13 degree chill that smacks you right in the face. 😂
Fortunately we were staying at Hotel Peyto on Gangnam Avenue, and only a short walk from the hotel we discovered our first street food stall with the perfect comfort food for Winter.
Tteokbokki – Street Food Stall
Tteokbokki is one of the most popular Korean Street foods, also known as stir-fried rice cakes. The older gentleman who owns this stall, prepares them in a delicious spicy sauce! Tteokbokki is found everywhere, but these were my favourite – that chili sauce is a winner, and it wasn’t difficult to see why so many locals stopped at his stall to grab a quick bite, or to take some home (or why we just had to stop by twice during our stay).
Eomuk / Odeng
In the same stall, you’ll also find corn dogs (Zee enjoyed one on our first visit), gimbap (more about those in my post about Myeongdong night market), deep fried veggies and seafood, and something you’re sure to see at every food stall – eomuk. Eomuk (sometimes also called odeng) is a fish cake, and you’ll find them on skewers in a broth. The broth is actually the drink you see in my first pic, with the tteok-bokki. At most food stalls, they pour you a cup (it’s free) which helps warm you up nicely, and it tastes pretty good too. The fish cakes resemble pancakes, kind of. Bite into them, and they’re soft, a tiny bit chewy, and a little salty. If I had to choose, I’d go with the spicy tteokbokki, as I found this a little bland in comparison.
Supreme Shrimp Burger – McDonald’s
Another gem a short walk from our hotel was a really nice looking McDonald’s, with a McCafé that made great cappuccinos. There’s a shrimp burger on the menu, which looked interesting. I’m not a huge McDonald’s fan, but I enjoyed this burger. The crumbed shrimp patty was yummy, and if McDonald’s South Africa were to make them, I’d probably drive through more often.
Burgers, Hot Dogs & Shakes – Shake Shack
Shawn had read about Shake Shack, and we were keen to see (or taste!) for ourselves if it lived up to the hype. Shake Shack started out in New York, and the restaurant in Gangnam is hugely popular. This was evident by the constant flow of people coming in and queuing to order at the counter, or waiting for an open table.
Shawn ordered the SmokeShack – a beef cheeseburger with bacon and peppers. Zee kept it simple with a hot dog; and I devoured a Chick’n Shack – a crispy chicken burger with lettuce, gherkins, and a herb mayo. We also ordered cheese fries, because fries and cheese. 😁
I’m glad to say the wait at Shake Shack is definitely worth it. Everything was YUM! The burgers were incredible, and even Zee ate almost all of her food. I almost forgot to mention the salted caramel shake! That would have been so wrong, because it was probably the best shake ever! In Zee’s words, it was “thick and creamy, and salty and caramel-y!” Caramel-y haha.. love it.
This French inspired chain of bakeries/restaurants seemed to be everywhere in Seoul. On Gangnam Avenue alone, we ate at two of their restaurants (there were more). On our first visit, we tried a few pastries at a small café. Zee chose the one with a vienna and loads of cheese. Shawn and I had the buns – the pastry was crispy on the outside, and soft with either a curried chicken or vegetable filling inside. So good!
Shawn also had an egg tart, Zee chose a cheese tart, and I of course stole a bit of both. They look the same, but you can taste the difference. They’re both yummy, and I love the subtle sweetness, but I think I may like the cheese one a tiny bit more.
The second Paris Baguette we visited was much bigger, and a little further from our hotel than the previous one. We decided to head in to this one pretty late in the evening, purely because I needed cake! 😁
It was a good decision! The cake looked amazing, and tasted even better! We had a slice of Black Forest, and a slice of the pretty rainbow cake that Zee couldn’t take her eyes off as we stood at the glass trying to choose. Both slices were light, soft, and delicious. And now I want cake! 🙈
Ham & Cheese Toasties – Dunkin Donuts
A ham and cheese sarmie may sound simple enough, but there was so much cheese in and ON that sandwich, we ate these three times during our holiday! 😁 The hot chocolate was extra chocolate-y and yummy too.
Salted Caramel Macaroons
During our stay in Gangnam, we decided to check out Starfield COEX mall. Its a huge mall with a seriously impressive library, shops that keep the fashionistas busy for hours… and macaroons that matched Zee’s jacket! 😁 Light, slightly chewy, yummy macaroons. Zee’s love for macaroons began in Paris, when she was 3 years old. She knows a good macaroon, and she was very happy with the salted caramel ones which she spotted from a mile away at that little stall.
We saw a shop on Gangnam Avenue that just sells Korean snacks. Maybe it was the cold, but that little store was packed with people shopping eagerly for all kinds of sweet and savory snacks. Naturally, we had to get in on that action. These were our favourites, with mine specifically being those chocolate pies. I used to eat two at a time. I regret nothing. 😂
Seoul Food in Gangnam – The verdict
Seoul is foodie heaven – whether it was traditional Korean food, or a burger or pizza, they just seem to get it so right. There was so much that we tried and loved in Gangnam, but we didn’t get photos of everything – usually because we were so hungry, and the food didn’t stand a chance. I have a lot more to share though, about some of the food we tried in other areas, and I know those posts are going to leave me feeling just as hungry as this one did.