I had to go on a very quick business trip to Seoul, South Korea and decided to share some of the bites I was able to enjoy on this journey.
One of my favorite bites from the overall trip was this shrimp canapé served in the Club Lounge of the Lotte Hotel World. It was a fried potato wrapped shrimp served with a dollop of ketchup (which was really not necessary). A lot of work must have gone into wrapping the potato strands around each shrimp:
On the 11th floor of Lotte Department Store (located adjacent to the Lotte Hotel World), are several different Korean, Japanese and Italian-Fusion restaurants to select from. We opted to dine at Ongsot, a Korean hot pot restaurant that offers several protein and vegetable variations cooked tableside.
The banchan (appetizer side dishes) included some kimchee, soybeans, dried anchovies and lotus root. They paired quite well with the Korean Cass beer that we drank:
A mixed seafood hot pot variation contained many items that were not recognizable to the Western palate. The pot came with a little bit of konbu seaweed broth and stewed over the butane flame for about 10 minutes before it was ready to eat (a small plate of fermented chili gochujang sauce came with it to add spice):
The beef and mushroom hot pot required more steps for cooking. The dish came with nicely marbled shortrib and several types of mushrooms — beech, enoki, button and shitake mushrooms were well represented:
The king trumpet mushrooms slices are shown here along with napa cabbage and other greens that also came with the dish:
The server came and put all of the vegetables and rice cakes into the beef broth to start the stewing process:
The vegetables added a nice mushroom flavor to the beef stock:
After 5 minutes or so, the server added all of the beef in. Ponzu and wasabi paste was served on the side as dipping options:
To finish the meal, noodles were added to the soup pot. The noodles were liberally coated with flour which added a nice viscosity to the stew:
A tour through the basement food market of the Lotte Department Store led to discovery of SPAM variations: classic, mild and garlic. The garlic version is generally hard to find, but I can’t say I have ever seen a “mild” version (not even sure what that would taste like):
Kimchee and other fermented vegetables are available to purchase in bulk:
Other items such as dried anchovies (top) or chili-spiced river crabs (bottom) can also be purchased in bulk:
Seoul Food, Part 2 will be posted soon.
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