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.
The area around Seongsu in the east of the city is another part of town where gentrification is seeing old-fashioned neighbourhoods slowly – or not so slowly – turn into trendy and sought-after districts. As with other locales like Gyeongnidan, Yeonnam-dong and Sangsu, cafés are often at the forefront of this social change, enticing younger people into the area and driving the “regeneration” (if you want to call it that) of previously depressed or downmarket places.
Here it is, the most eagerly awaited post of the year; the second annual Soju Sunrise Food Awards, showcasing the best foreign food that I think Seoul has to offer. No doubt squadrons of restaurateurs are reading this with fear in their souls, whole chains poised to collapse if they aren’t mentioned in my year-end review. What can I say? With great power comes great responsibility.
As with last year’s favourites – quite a few of whom return this year – I don’t present this list as a definitive “best of” but rather a compilation of my favourites, the places I return to again and again, the places that made 2016 worth persevering with. No doubt in each category there are better places around, and you should feel free to set me right in the comments – but these are the places that pop up again and again on my Instagram feed.
Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and see you all in 2017!
It’s been very busy in the real world of Soju Sunrise, but things are quietening down so hopefully I’ll be posting some more reviews and notes on Seoul eateries very soon. In the meantime, here are some of the things I’ve been eating over the last few weeks. (You can see most of these pics, as well as many more, on my Instagram feed at instagram.com/sojusunrise.)
One of things I miss about living in the leafy West End of Glasgow is the idea of a neighborhood bistro – somewhere near your house that you can drop in for a good, reasonably priced meal, usually Italian or French. Now, perhaps I’m biased because it’s 90 seconds from my front door (it used to be 60 seconds, but the crabby old halmoni next door has locked her gate to stop us using the alleyway outside her house as a short cut). But La Marmite, a new French restaurant in Haebangchon, looks like it might be able to fill that role. It comes at a price, as we’ll see, but it’s well worth your time.