Cafe Tospia

Cafe Tospia

This little cafe in Beomeo has a good selection of toasted sandwiches or “press sandwich.” I prefer the sandwiches here to somewhere like ‘Isaac Toast’ as you there’s no hidden extras like pickles or sauce, for example. Ham and cheese is ham and cheese with no suprises.

Koreanized Fast Food Menus in McDonald’s, Lotteria, Burger King & KFC

Korean fast food store

Sometimes, when travelling in budget, you’ll probably have a moment when you miss the time of having a proper meal. Moreover, some restaurants have a break time, not receiving any orders. Then what would you do? I’d say “Fast food.” Even though fast food is infamous for being unhealthy, many fast food restaurants are alluring you with delicious and simple menus.

Do you know that there are some fast food menus suited for the taste of Koreans and sometimes only available in Korea as well? There are some localized or so-called “Koreanized” Fast Food menus in Korea that are rare in other countries. We will introduce the menus of 4 major burger fast food restaurants – McDonald’s, Lotteria, Burger King, KFC.

Best Korean BBQ (Samgyeopsal) in Seoul

I discovered this restaurant 4 years ago when I was out in the rain one day at Hapjeong Station and I saw some locals queuing on a street corner despite the weather. In other words, this place is pretty popular, so turn up early or prepare to wait!

Kimchi Fresh Samgyeopsal restaurant at Hapjeong station.

The speciality here is the samgyeopsal (BBQ pork) cooked with generous helpings of kimchi. There’s also “moksal” which is a different cut of pork. Don’t forget to try their mushrooms and also the steamed egg soup, which is a fantastic way to wash down all the meaty stuff. After all the meat is gone, you can order kimchi fried rice that is made in front of you on the hot plate.

If you hate soju, try cheongju

Soju may be the classic alcohol for a Korean BBQ dinner, but let’s be honest, it tastes like chemicals and leaves you with a terrible hangover.

Still, soju is a must-have when there’s samgyupsal (BBQ Pork) on the table, right?

Well my Korean friends recently introduced me to another liquor, cheongju, that looks like soju but is sweeter and cleaner of taste. If soju is compared to vodka, then cheongju might be closer to sake.

Cheongju at the beer can chicken restaurant.

Here’s a place where you can try cheongju: The beer can chicken restaurant in Mapo-gu.

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Fresh, wriggling seafood at Busan’s Jagalchi market

If you want to shock your friends with huge, squirmy octopuses and giant crabs, Jagalchi market in western Busan is the place to be. Forget Seoul’s Noryangjin market, Busan is Korea’s biggest port city and has far fresher (and cheaper) bounty straight from the Pacific ocean.

This is where you can try the infamous “san-nakji” or live octopus. If you’re not sure how to swallow it, it could be dangerous to eat it whole, so do ask the stallholder to slice it up for you. Even sliced into small bits, the wriggling pieces will try to avoid your chopsticks or stick their suckers to your teeth – anything to escape being eaten!

Crabs at Busan’s Jagalchi market

Fusion pastries at Paris Baguette

Just a quick intro to one of my regular staples in Korea. Paris Baguette is a chain bakery that you can find virtually anywhere in the country – it’s said that they are three times as big as MacDonald’s.

Pictured here is a really cool pastry – not sure what it’s called, but it’s basically coffee-flavoured bread filled with mochi stuffed with sweet red beans. As good as it sounds.

If you’re a frequent visitor at Paris Baguette, make sure you get the free Happy Point card that allows you to earn points. It also works for many other chain cafes and stores. Roughly you can get 1 free pastry for every 10 you buy.

And if you’re wondering what the difference is between Paris Baguette and Paris Croissant – they’re owned by the same company, but Paris Croissant is nicer and more expensive.

Café in the forest

Been really looking forward to writing this post as very few people know about this cafe. It’s in a rather quiet corner of Seoul National University and even some students don’t know about it.

Cafe Pascucci is quite a big chain but this outlet is special because it’s nestled in SNU’s Gwanak mountain campus and surrounded by beautiful pine trees. The counter is on the first floor and the second floor has ample space for you to lounge on the nice sofas and do your homework.

The first floor of Cafe Pascucci's Seoul National University outlet

Grub's Up at Gwangjang

Grub's Up at Gwangjang

Dinnertime at Gwangjang Market, Seoul.

Life from Above

Life from Above

Life from above, as captured in Daegu's sprawling Seomun Market complex. You can read the accompanying story here . 

5 things to do in Busan

There are many good reasons to visit Busan. The weather is always better, local restaurants are generous with their delicious seafood and pork dishes, everything is cheaper and the views are breathtaking. Here are 5 things to do in Korea’s second largest city.

1) Watch seagulls at Haeundae

Start a new day with a visit to Korea’s most famous beach, named “Haeundae” or “The Sea, The Clouds and the Rocks” by a scholar-poet more than a thousand years ago. Take in the salty fresh air and be rejuvenated but watch out for the seagulls, who are keen on shrimp crackers. To reach Haeundae, get off the train at Haeundae station (Green Line) and follow the sound of the waves!

The beaches are also worth visiting at night, read more here.

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