soju sunrise

Food porn: Four days in the South

Food porn | March 9, 2017 | By

Last week I took advantage of the holiday to take a few days around the southern half of Korea. It was a short trip but I managed to pack some decent food into those four days.

돼지국밥 (Dwaejigukbap) is a pork and rice soup from Busan – you can read more about this splendid dish and my attempts to find it in Seoul here. This was in Daegu and though it looked good it was full of quite fatty and uninspiring cuts of pork – I don’t at all mind more fatty meat but the overall taste didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Daegu has a small bossam street just next to Nammun Market and this boiled pork was served with some soup and an oddly sweet kimchi. Good though.

I didn’t get to taste these chickens at Daegu’s Nammun Market, but damn they looked good.

One of Daegu’s best-known specialties is spicy ribs or 매운갈비찜 (although here they call them 찜갈비). There’s another whole district, Dongin-dong, dedicated to this stuff, an area which also lends its name to one of my favourite places to get this in Seoul (Dongin Dong in Sinsa). Anyway, at 봉산찜갈비 they serve up single servings, unusually for Korean restaurants of this type, so I was in there like a shot. It was glorious and I could easily have eaten two portions anyway.

Next stop was Jinju, on the south coast. Not known for its 설렁탕 but this soup at 서울설렁탕 in the centre of town was surprisingly good – not bland as this dish so often is.

Jinju is known for its bibimbap, which was apparently the originator of the use of raw beef in this dish. Cheonhwang Restaurant (천황식당) is the most famous place in the city to offer this dish and I’m glad I made the trek. It was so good.

After Jinju I headed north. Damyang is bamboo country and if you don’t like eating or drinking bamboo-related products, you’re in the wrong place. At Juknokwon Sikdang (죽녹원 식당) I got a huge spread of dishes, including the famous bamboo rice (middle photo) and regional specialty ddeokgalbi, for 18,000 won. Worth every penny.

All that Korean food was making me anxious for some chips, and at First Alleyway in Gwangju I got my mix. They have a good range of burgers, pizzas and sandwiches – I got a pulled pork sandwich with poutine on the side. Never heard of poutine as a side order but damn it was good. Their craft beer selection is very fine and overall this is an excellent place to get Western food and drinks in Gwangju.

My final stop was Jeonju – I literally stopped on my way home just to have lunch at the mighty Veteran Kalguksu in the middle of the hanok village there. This noodle soup is distinguished by its copious use of 들깨 (wild sesame seeds), which gives it a nutty, aromatic flavour. God damn it, this soup is good, the sort of dish that makes you want to move house to be nearer to it.

There’s also a branch at Express Bus Terminal in Seoul if you can’t wait till the Jeonju bus is leaving.

Finally I stopped for some hotteok. At Jondong Hotteok they bake them in a super hot dome-shaped oven like a pizza oven. The result is rather like a sweet pita bread – piping hot and so good. There are various varieties on offer but I was happy to munch on the plain one as I headed back for the final bus journey back to Seoul. Hopefully my next trip to the provinces will be soon.

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>