Seoul- food tour?
Work is sending me to Korea, and I will have a couple of days in Seoul before moving on to Jeju for a conference.
I arrive Sunday morning into Incheon and will have all of Sunday to myself (well, myself and my jet lag). Monday will be work, but Monday evening is free. After that, everything is scheduled up, although I might be able to steal a free evening in Jeju (where I'll be looking for black pig and seafood).
I've travelled a bit, and usually get by fine, language-wise, by pointing and smiling. In this case, however, because of how little time I have, and given a few posts here about the difficulties of dining alone, I was thinking about booking a food tour so that I can make sure I cover the highlights.
Has anyone done a food tour in Seoul or elsewhere in Korea? Good or bad idea? Any recommendations?
I did take the night dining food tour with O'ngo, and was escorted around by a nice student named Leo. I'm glad I did, because I had no other free meals (all others were with work).
We went to four places, all within easy walking distance of the O'ngo premises around Isadong. Lots of meandering around lanes and side streets, so I certainly couldn't tell you where each place was.
A barbecue place, sitting outside on plastic chairs around a teeny table with a grill in the centre. There were four of us and what with the veggies, ban chan and drinks, we had to spread out to a neighbouring table. This was delicious- the meat cooked just perfectly by the proprietors looking after us- lots of dips and accompaniments, with lettuce and parilla leaves for wrapping.
A tteokbokki place; we ordered the royal ttoekbokki, which was served simmering on a heater at the table. This was excellent- I really like the chewiness of the rice cakes, and the noodles lurking in the stew were great.
Another outside table with plastic chairs place for fresh grilled mackerel, served with makgeolli. The fizzy, sweet booze really cut through the oily mackerel very well. This ranks just below the mackerel we had while camping on Skye a few years ago. (And perhaps circumstances put that above, rather than taste- they were freshly caught and offered to us by neighbouring hikers who had been grateful for the cups of tea we took over to them as they set up camp in the Scottish drizzle.)
Then onto to Gwangjang market for seafood bindaetteok. If I'd had more time in Seoul, I'd have been back to the market the next night, to eat around those stalls. Yum!
I really wish I'd had more time to myself in Seoul, but perhaps this is a good excuse to visit again. At least one of meetings we had gave us lunch, which turned out to be a veritable royal banquet! Three courses, each with about a dozen dishes, including abalone, fresh raw fish, beautiful rib stew.
Thanks for writing about us. We have a great selection of food tours now thanks to all the word of mouth advertising :) Come visit us at O'ngo Food Communications www.ongofood.com Also, if journalists from the CHOW staff come to Korea, we would love to offer a tour to you. Cheers, Dan Marketing Manager at O'ngo Food Communications