Hong Kong & Seoul -- Where to eat?
We'll be staying on Nathan Street (The Miramar) in Hong Kong and the Ritz-Carlton in Seoul. What are the places we shouldn't miss? We prefer great food over great atmosphere, and want to enjoy ourselves without spending a lot of money unless (like Hanilkwan in Seoul) it's for something truly spectacular.
At the high end in Seoul, for a spectacular experience, I recommend Korean Royal Cuisine. I forget the name of the restaurant I went to in Seoul, but will check at home and will post tomorrow. You basically get around 25 divine courses, and will enjoy every minute of it. If you are not familiar with Korean royal cuisine, take a look at the wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_r...
At the lower end, there are so many places with are great fun. It's easy if, like me, you love kimchi and barbecued meat. Just go to one of those barbecued meat places in the street, have a cold beer and tuck into the kimchi and meat.
I'd recommend visiting the city of Busan (Pusan) in the south. From Seoul, you can get there in 2.5 hours on a train that departs every half hour or so, and they have a huge fish market, where you have literally hundreds of little restaurants where you pick your live fish / squid / shell / prawn etc, and they barbecue it straight-away and serve it in their very spartan restaurant with a great atmosphere. Or they do it as sashimi. I used to love my fish, kimchi, raw garlic and beer breakfasts there. Korea has this whole parallel universe of sashimi: they serve it with sweetish chili sauce and raw garlic, and despite what one might expect about those flavours killing the subtlety of the fish, it actually works.
Busan also has lots of food districts, where in a street or set of streets, just one kind of dish is prepared in all restaurants. There is Duck Town, then (quite far away) the completely separate Wild Duck Town, there is Pig Feet Dish Street, etc etc. Great fun.
I took friends to Hanilkwan 15 years ago, haven't been back since. I was miffed at being told, repeatedly (in both English and Korean, which I speak), that we had better order bulgogi because "that's what foreigners like."
Do what Koreans often do and go to an "eating alley" (there are many near Namdaemun and Tongdaemun, and one just north of Hanilkwan too) as well and graze (and imbibe) from place to place . . .
By "great food over great atmosphere", I take it that you don't mind seeking out authentic local eats in funky street dives?
There are some HK recommendations in the China section. One of the threads recently:
Nathan Road's in the Tsimshatsui district. Some options there include:
- Superstar Seafood (Harbour City Mall): great fried rice with shredded winter melon, crab, shrimp & salmon roe, and sitr-fried mushrooms with braised melon/vegies in potato basket;
- Hutong, 28/F One Peking Road, for its crispy boneless lamb-ribs. Great views of Victoria Harbour;
- Tai Ping Koon, Granville Road, Tsimshatsui, for retro-Anglo-Chinese cuisine;
- Lok Sau "Shun Tak" restaurant in Tak Shing St, Tsimshatsui (near Jordan MTR staiton) for claypot fish-head; steamed cat-fish with black beans;
- Victoria City Seafood Restaurant (Harbour City) for its double-boiled soups, roast chicken & seafood on crispy noodles.