Caffe Artigiano – Seoul

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Grapefruit and Vanilla Ice Cream Patbingsu

Caffe Artigiano is actually a Vancouver based coffee shop, and I’ve actually been there once for a latte. I expected to see Starbucks in Seoul, but to my surprise, they also had a Caffe Artigiano. I don’t like to go into these international franchises when I’m traveling, but the other girls wanted a quick snack and to recover from all the walking. We ended up ordering some Patbingsu to share. I was surprised to find that they sold this at the coffee shop. I guess their menu is quite different so that it can cater to the Koreans. Patbingsu or Patbingsoo is Korean shaved ice and is often topped with sweet ingredients. My friends chose the Grapefruit Patbingsu, which brought some acidity to the dish. It also came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Quite refreshing after a long day in the heat!

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Red Bean, Kinako, Mochi, and Vanilla Ice Cream Patbingsu

K and I shared the Red Bean Patbingsu. It came with some mochi slices, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and lots of kinako. Kinako is roasted soybean flour, which is slightly sweet. A very popular topping for patbingsu and mochi.

Overall, the patbingsu were average. I didn’t find them to be too special. Plus, I found it quite expensive. They were around $9 each, which is quite pricey in Seoul. I’m sure you can get it for a cheaper price.

Food near Ewha Womans University – Seoul

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Ewha Womans University is a private women’s university in Seoul and is the world’s second largest women’s university. It’s filled with beautiful green gardens and is actually a famous tourist spot. Around the area, it’s known for great shopping for young women fashion with cheap prices. So on day 2, we did some shopping and decided to look for food around the area. Somehow, we managed to go onto this street that reminded me of Chinatown in Vancouver. It was a street filled with elderly and shops selling produce. We were probably in the wrong neighbourhood, but we settled for food anyways.

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There were various elderly people sitting in this little shop. It’s run by a Korean man and his wife only. There was no English name, but I thought it would be worth blogging, since they offer some popular and typical Korean dishes. The menu is posted on the walls with colourful pictures and prices. No english at all though, so just look at the pictures and guess what it is. Prices are very affordable too!

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It seems that it’s very common for you to serve yourself with appetizers in Korea. There are little stainless steel containers filled with kimchi and other pickled vegetables. You can just go grab some, as well as pour yourself some soup and tea. I think the owner saw that we clearly did not know what we were doing, so he ended up serving us. Super friendly service even though he could not speak a lick of English. Just point and smile, and you can get your way around!

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Naengmyeon

For myself, I chose the Naengmyeon. I’ve had this in Vancouver as well, but I wanted to try it in Seoul. To my surprise, I would say the ones in Coquitlam around North Road are quite up to par. When directly translated, Naengmyeon means “cold noodles.” It’s sort of like the Korean equivalent of soba noodles. The noodles are long and thin and are often made from buckwheat. They are very chewy compared to the Japanese soba noodles. Served in a stainless steel bowl, it has a broth that is slightly tangy, some cucumbers, radish, and a boiled egg. It’s also topped with a spicy red sauce. What’s cool about the dish is that it also comes with a bunch of shaved ice so it really keeps the noodles cold. You can then add a spicy mustard sauce, which reminds me of wasabi to bring more flavour and spice to it.

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Spicy Octopus on Rice

Some of the girls got the Spicy Octopus on Rice, which I tried some. They are baby octopus, and the spicy sauce used is a little sweet. Super tender and the flavour was definitely very appetizing. Mix it with the rice and seaweed, and you have yourself a delicious meal.

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I believe this was the Grilled Pork Belly on Rice that my friend got. Not exactly sure though. Or it was something along the lines of grilled pork. Cut into thin slices and topped with sauce and sesame seeds. She said the meat was very tender and delicious!

Overall, we were all very satisfied with our meal here. Just wish there was an English name, so I could search up the location again to share with everyone. Oh and it’s interesting to note that at most of these restaurants, people just eat and go. They don’t sit around chatting for too long, so the turnover rates are really high.

School Food – Seoul

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pineapple Soda

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.

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Soup

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.

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Assorted Gimbap

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!

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Potato Croquette

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.

More info:

http://www.schoolfood.co.kr/

South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, 31-1
+82 2-727-3377