comfort food

Guilty Pleasure: Authentic Southern-Style Comfort Food in Itaewon

Something about the cold weather really puts a damper on my mood. So, what do I do when I've got the winter blues? I eat! And while I've managed to find comfort in certain Korean foods over the years, nothing really puts a smile on my face like the fatty goodness that is Southern food. Fortunately enough for me, there's been a renaissance of Seoul's international food scene over the past year, with a growing focus on Southern-style barbecue and comfort food. Yet, no one seems to have hit the nail on the head quite as well as Guilty Pleasure.

Comfort Food Around The World

Everyone loves a good comforting meal, especially at this time of year when every day it’s getting colder and darker outside; what better thing is there to do than settle down in a cosy room with some delicious comfort food. In Korea, my favourite comfort food is my beloved Dolsot Bibimbap, a steaming-hot bowl of veggies, rice, egg and spicy pepper paste, perfect for warming you up on a cold autumn night.

Korean Street Bread

Here in Korea, street breads are very popular.  These waffle-like breads are usually filled with red bean paste, chocolate, or flavored custard.  They come in all different shapes like fish shaped (bungeoppang) or even poop shaped (dongbang)!   In this simple recipe, I show you the technique for making your own Korean street bread at home.

Below, I am enjoying  some dongbang!  It’s cute isn’t it?

DongBangBread1   DongBang2

Apple Bread

Imagine a cinnamon roll, apple fritter, and apple pie… this bread is like a mixture of all three.  I chose to bake mine, but you can by all means fry these up and they will really taste like apple fritters!

Apple Bread

Apple Bread

Servings: 9


For the Apples:

-1 large apple (green or gala/fuji work well), peeled and diced into small chunks

-3 Tbls ground cinnamon

-1/4 cup brown sugar

For the Dough:

-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

-1/2 cup white wheat flour (all-purpose)

-1 tsp salt

-1 Tbls sugar

-2 Tbls ground flax seeds (optional)

-1 egg

-2 Tbls butter or palm oil shortening

Tamale Bake

Like I have said before, my number one craving in Korea is for Mexican food!  In this recipe- shredded chicken, beans and salsa are mixed together with a flaky cornbread topping  to create a fiesta (that’s Spanish for party) in your mouth!

Tamale Bake2

Servings: 4


-2 chicken breasts

-1 tsp olive oil

-1 can of black beans or pinto beans, drained

-2/3 cup salsa (I used pace medium)

-1/2 onion, diced

-3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

-1 chicken bouillon cube

-2-4 Tbls taco seasoning

-1/3 cup water

Pineapple Buns

Pineapple buns are a popular treat in Hong Kong.  They get their name from their shape and look, which resembles a pineapple.  What makes these buns so special is the sugar cookie topping, I had never tried anything like them before.  I made mine unique by adding cinnamon sugar on top, like a snicker-doodle.  These are delicious as a breakfast pastry or a snack, serve with Hong Kong Style Milk Tea for an authentic taste!

Pineapple Bun

Servings: makes 8 buns


For the Buns:

-1 cup white wheat flour

-1 cup whole wheat flour

-1 tsp salt

-2 Tbls sugar

-1 egg

Macaroni and Cheese Mandu

Here is another awesome recipe from my friend Stephen Elliot.

The best part of fully engaging with another culture, while being fully from another culture is the weird combinations of the two you can come up with.

These mandu (very similar to Chinese dumplings, or pot stickers) are filled with a homemade macaroni and cheese with a slight sesame flavor to help match with the flavors of the dipping sauce. They do take a long time to prepare, but they also add a bit of a WOW factor to any potluck or gathering of friends on either side of the Pacific. Just make sure you give yourself a few hours to prepare, or you’ll run out of time and have to be the person who brings pizza to the potluck.

Coconut Milk Bread – Cinnamon Rolls

Merry Christmas! A tradition my and my husband’s family share is to eat cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  For these cinnamon rolls, I made coconut milk bread with a simple cinnamon filling and frosted them with sweetened condensed milk.  The coconut milk makes the dough nice and fluffy.  They pair perfectly with hot chocolate or coffee.

Coconut Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls2

Coconut Milk Bread – Cinnamon Rolls

Servings: 16-18 rolls


For the Milk Bread:

-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

-2 1/2 cups white wheat flour

-1 1/2 tsp salt

Homemade Holiday Butterfinger Candy

Butterfinger Jingles – bell shaped chocolates with chunks of butterfinger inside only come around once a year during the Christmas season in America.  They are my favorite stocking-stuffer candy!  Recently, I posted Homemade Butterfinger Bars, but these are even better!  They taste identical to the real-thing, but they don’t make your teeth hurt because there is less sugar and you control the quality of the chocolate :-)  These will really blow you away!

Nacho Cheese Sauce

The following is a guest article by my friend, Stephen Elliott, another fellow English teacher in Korea. You can follow his adventures in painting/illustration at

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, there comes a point in a man’s life when he must take a stand and say “enough is enough.” For me, that day came at a buffet dinner with my co-workers where I was served a “nacho cheese” that was thin, not at all spicy, and sweet.

Sweet. I know, right?

I knew that there had to be a better way. Won’t you join me in my delicious revolution? This cheesy, spicy sauce uses processed cheese for the flavor, and a butter roux to thicken it. I know that sunds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple and painless.

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