I was sleeping off the effects of the flu medicine and we ended up having a really late lunch near our hotel, at a restaurant recommended by one of the hotel staff.
It was past lunch time and the restaurant was really quiet.
Browsing through the menu, we decided on 2 sets, a Mushroom Beef Galgogi Pot (₩13,000) and a Special Korea-style Ribs (₩15,000). The staff enquired if we wanted 2 bowls of rice, and seemed surprised that we only wanted 1 bowl.
Food was served quite quickly, and we gotta say that we were very impressed with the food! The flavours were never too spicy or salty; in fact, we found the balance of the flavours to be very soothing and welcoming.
First started in 1905, 광장시장 Gwangjang Market 廣藏市場 is one of the oldest, and largest traditional markets in South Korea.
Our first visit to the market was close to 9pm, and the food street bustling with lots of action!
There were many food stalls with customers crowding at the benches surrounding the stall to eat, and everything looked so delicious!
We made a round trying to decide what to eat, and eventually returned back on another night to finish whatever that we wanted to try 🙂
After our palace visit, we decided to pop by 동대문 Dongdaemun 東大門 for an early dinner, and to explore the area.
We took the subway to 동대문역 Dongdaemun Station 東大門站 (Subway Line 1 or 4 Station No. 128 or 421) and saw the famous 흥인지문 Heunginjimun Gate 興仁之門, before having a simple 치즈 라면 (Chijeu Ramyeon) Cheese Ramen 奶酪方便麵 (₩3,500) and 고기만두 (Gogi Mandu) Meat Dumplings 肉馅饺子 (₩3,000), at a local eatery, which appeared to call itself as 興仁之門 (since it was located just in front of the gate). The food was simple but satisfying.
A visit to Seoul would not have felt complete, if we did not visit at least one of the 5 royal palaces. We chose to visit the oldest, and largest, 경복궁 Gyeongbokgung Palace 景福宮 (which translated to “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven”).
There was some miscommunication with the ticket counter staff when we purchased our tickets, as she advised that once we exit to watch the Changing of Guard Ceremony, we could not re-enter the palace.
As we had arrived just past 11am, we had also missed the palace tour. Since it was almost 2 hours’ wait for the next performance, so we decided to check out the surrounding area and grab a bite first, before coming back.
We had been having so much street food, and decided to have a proper, leisure, sit-down dinner today 🙂
오우가 Ouga 五友歌 was highly recommended by our friend Ms. K, and it was quite packed when we arrived! Luckily, there was still a table available, and we did not have to wait.
While the staff might not speak much English, their menu was in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese, so we managed to order without much difficulty.
We opted to share 2 sets, the 생갈비살식 (Saeng Galbisal) Grilled Beef Rib Meal 鮮排骨肉定食套餐 (₩15,000) and 삼곂살정식(Samgyeopsaljeong) Grilled Pork Loin Meal 五花肉定食套餐. Both sets came with 100g of the meat, as well as green tea bamboo rice, vegetables, side dishes, and sauce.
부대찌개 (Budae Jjigae) Korean Army Stew 部隊鍋 is one of the very popular food to have whenever our friends have a gathering. We figured that we should have a proper one before the girls get home!
They recommended going to Nolboo, which is a chain well-known for Budae Jjigae as well as some other brands under the same chain.
This place actually serves Budae Jjigae for single customers, and it appeared to be quite rare, as most of the restaurants that we visited required a minimum of 2 pax to order this dish.
Menu was available in English, Japanese, and Chinese, with lots of pictures, so ordering was not an issue.
We decided to go for the Traditional Set (₩20,000 for 2 pax), and the Beef Set (₩22,000 for 2 pax) which came with noodles and drinks (a huge 1.5l of orange for the 4 of us :o), as well as the side dishes.
We had yet to enjoy sashimi during this trip, and just before the girls depart for home, we decided to visit 노량진수산물도매시장 Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market 鷺梁津水產市場 for some fresh seafood 😀
We had reached the fish market around 10:30am, and there were hardly any customers 😮 We walked around to check out the various seafood, and throughout, we were approached by vendors who knew how to speak Mandarin, making us even more worried about getting scammed.
In the end, we decided to play it safe, and just get some sashimi to share. At the main aisle, there were many stalls that were selling pre-packed sliced sashimi, but the fish did not seem very fresh. We kept walking around, till we saw a couple of tourists getting their sashimi from a stall 당진수산 (Dangjin Susan) Dangjin Fishery (할어-089, Tel: 010-2733-3910), where the sashimi platter prices were listed. We did not have to worry about bargaining or getting scammed anymore 🙂
토속촌 삼계탕 Tosokchon Samgyetang 土俗村蔘雞湯 is easily one of the most famous Ginseng Chicken Soup restaurant known to tourists, having been widely featured in guidebooks, and in Visit Korea website. In fact, when I first said that I wanted to try ginseng chicken soup, the first place that everyone thought of was this restaurant 😮 It even has its own Weibo account!
Knowing that there would be long queues everyday, especially during meal times, we decided to pop over earlier. At 11:30, there was no queue 😀
It was quite confusing as to where the location of 봉추찜닭 Bongchu Jjimdak 鳳雛燉雞 was. We had searched for the location which indicated it was above Innisfree in 명동 Myeongdong 明洞, but when we reached, there was no such restaurant!
Thankfully, the staff at Innisfree directed us to another outlet 2 blocks away, which was near the Korean Money Museum, and it was 2 blocks away.
Once we were seated, we were presented with the non-Korean menu (mainly English with some Chinese translation), making it easy for us to order.
The main menu was also simple enough; there was only 찜닭 (Jjimdak) Korean Braised Chicken 燉雞 in 3 different portions, and 3 different level of spiciness, and whether you would prefer boneless chicken or not.
Our first trip in 2017 and we are going Korea!!
We have watched enough Korean dramas to know that visiting a 찜질방 (Jjimjilbang) 汗蒸幕, (aka Korean public bathhouse), should be part of our itinerary, and since we were scheduled to touch down at Incheon Airport around 22:15 local time (GMT+7), we figured that an overnight stay in a Jjimjilbang would be an unique experience, and a cheaper alternative to a hotel stay, especially since we wanted to leave for Busan the very next morning.
Initially, we wanted to take the overnight bus from the airport to Busan directly, but the online booking of the very popular tickets was too difficult, especially when we had to figure things out in Korean.
The next thing we did was to source for a suitable Jjimjilbang, and the 2 most readily available in English were Dragon Hill Spa, and Siloam Fire Pot Sauna. Eventually, we decided on Siloam (also spelt as Silloam), because it seemed less touristy and crowded.