The next couple of posts will take you over the ocean and towards Asia! Just a couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan for some leisure travel, which also meant eating lots! We took United Airlines, which had a stopover in San Francisco, so it felt like forever before we arrived in Seoul. Their plane food was one of the worst I’ve had. Here, we have a salad with wimpy leaves, and something called General Tso’s Chicken… Ugh, it was absolutely disgusting. Sweet and spicy, but the chicken itself tasted so bad. The best part of the meal was that brownie… Plus service was horrid. It felt like the flight attendants hated their jobs and they were screaming half the time. I was woken up multiple times because they would roll their carts quickly and scream “excuse me, excuse me”. Never had such poor service on a long international flight before. I do have to note that this was the only case from San Francisco to Seoul. I took United Airlines from Tokyo back to San Francisco, and then Vancouver, and the service was much better.
And then we arrived! These are the streets of Myeong-dong, which is Seoul’s main shopping and tourist district. You’ll find every Korean cosmetic brand you need as well as international fashion brands such as Zara and Uniqlo. I swear we went here half our trip, since there is always a need to shop here! If you need beauty and skincare products – this is the place to go. Etude House, Innisfree, Tony Moly, Nature Republic, The Faceshop… just to name a few! You’ll also find the same store in almost every street. Each store located on a different street sometimes has different deals and products, so be sure to check them out before buying all at once! Another tip is to print off some coupons before hand by doing a quick Google search. You’ll find coupons for tourists for almost all brands.
We came across M Plaza, and a friend said that School Food is supposed to be quite popular. It’s a plaza with food and shops inside, but there weren’t too many people inside. It’s sort of hidden, and I guess tourists don’t usually find their way into here if they’re overwhelmed by the street shops. Anyways, School Food is a food franchise and is known for their tteokbokki and gimbap. They give you a notepad and pencil, and you just write down what you want off the menu. Good for us, since we probably wouldn’t be able to communicate anyways.
We saw the girls next to us drinking this blue drink, so we decided to order it too. It’s basically just soda that’s coloured blue. On top, there are some pineapples. It was a bit underwhelming, since we expected more flavour and surprise. Just tasted more like regular soda to me.
The server brought us each a soup which was complimentary. It came with these two bean curd like things, which were really good! The soup is a little salty, and reminds me of miso soup.
And here is our platter of Assorted Gimbap! Gimbap is what I like to call the “Korean version of sushi.” It’s essentially rice and seaweed with various fillings. Here, we had some fillings of shredded tuna, squid, pickles, Japanese shisho leaves and more. The black ones, were squid ink rice filled with squid. Some were also spicy. The majority of them were filled with some sort of pickled veggie, since Koreans love that sour and spicy taste. Sort of like kimchi. On the side, there was a mayo sauce for dipping. It was definitely an experience to try these different gimbaps! My favourite was the squid filled gimbap! I believe the platter was only around 21,000 won, which comes to around CAN$21!
Lastly, we also had a dish of Potato Croquettes. Nothing too special, but the batter was light and not too oily. Potatoes were mashed until they were soft and creamy. It also came with a salad with honey mustard in the middle.
Overall, School Food was a pretty cool place to try the gimbaps. It’s very casual in there, and you find many young diners. I’m guessing that their food is not as traditional, so it’s the perfect place to try modern Korean food.