It’s hard to ignore the fact that your diet changes quite a bit when you live in a foreign country, and this is no different in Korea. As I’ve mentioned before there is a lot of rice, almost no bread, and less beef, but there are other things that you wouldn’t expect either.
Take for instance spicy food, in Korea when you order spicy it also generally means it is going to be sweet. Back in America, spicy means spicy, but it’s not the case in Korea, which is something I did not expect considering their proximity to China.
You also wouldn’t know unless you’ve experienced it but Korean food involves a good amount of frying. Fried chicken is very popular, whole streets are dedicated to chicken & beer. Fried fish cake is a popular street food as are fried corn-dogs. Additionally, you will find 돈까수, fried pork cutlet (and one of my favorite foods).
돈까수, is actually Japanese in origin, and it might surprise you how much foreign food can be found in Korea. Spam for instance, American but something I’ve never eaten before, is relatively prevalent here. You will find kimchi stew with Spam, it can be found on pizza, and people buy entire sets of Spam for relatives during holiday seasons such as Chuseok.
You can find Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc. throughout the city however you will have to spend more for these types of foods.
Chimichanga in Gangnam
Street food as I have mentioned involves a good amount of fried food, but you will find a good amount of pastries and other Korean treats. 호떡 for example, is a fried (surprise surprise) pastry filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and nuts. You will also find snacks similar to fortune cookies, rice snacks, etc. at the various markets around Seoul, and all of these are very cheap; you can buy an obscene amount for under $5.
Food in bars is very common as well, when you drink, you eat. One of my favorite things is simply called cheese corn, it’s just corn covered in cheese with some sauce on top. It is delicious, even without alcohol; you can also find bulgogi, chicken feet, fried sausage, ramen, bean sprouts, etc.
Food here has been delightful and I am going to miss it quite a bit, every culture here is represented so you never really miss any food from home (save for snack foods, like Cheez-Its…) It’s getting closer to the point where I will have to return home, which if I’m being quite honest, I am not looking forward too. In the meantime I am going to eat as much as possible.
Fresh seafood, the fish was still alive 15 minutes before this
Vietnamese food in Itaewon with 김다윤