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Food allergy testing

Does anyone know where I can get tested for food allergies? I think i'm allergic to eggs now and maybe soy. I'm dying over here since I am a veggie and that's all I can eat sometimes. If they speak English, even better but I can bring a Korean friend with me. I live in Busan but would be willing to travel a little bit.

Roman Candles

I left the apartment early this morning to find a cake for my wife's birthday before she woke up, and discovered that my favourite local bakery didn't open until 9am. I'm used to Koreans working very long hours, and since many British bakeries are open much earlier in the day, I'd assumed the same would be true here, but it isn't.

Avoiding the Paris Baguette chain as being too manufactured and clichéd, I located an alternative that was open, and for once was rather glad to have a staff member hover over me while I made a selection from a large array of choices. My new best friend ventured to tell me the ingredients which met with my approval, and after telling her "I'd like to buy this one", we proceeded to the checkout.

Fast Food

Delivery bikes are a fact of life in Korea - and not just on the streets - apparently being the owner of such a vehicle entitles you to ride on the pavements/sidewalks at speed weaving your way in and out of pedestrians, which by some miracle, you usually manage to miss. Although not quite always, as I finally found out a couple of weeks ago when a wing mirror connected solidly with my arm.

A Piece of Cake

I had only my second birthday in Korea recently, but while the first offered few surprises, and while I thought I understood the essentials of Korean cake design from the large number of small bakeries that exist here, I was not ready to discover that the large cherry-like objects sitting in the cream atop this example are in fact... tomatoes. I know, to the unseasoned observer the size should

Event Horizon

"Chuseok is one of Korea’s most largely celebrated holidays. It is a time when families and friends gather to share food and enjoy their time together, giving thanks to their ancestors for the year's bountiful harvests." - Korea Tourism OrganizationBut there was no bountiful harvest for me on Saturday - except of misfortune; Chuseok will now also be known as the day I caused the Great Internet

October 2009 calendar of events

For better or worse, quite a few festivals have been canceled due to swine flu fears or financial considerations. This makes it hard to keep up with which events are still on and which ones have been canceled - therefore, double-check to ensure things are still on before making the trip.

Compiling a list of events is necessarily a community-oriented endeavor, thus I attempt to give credit where credit is due. Special thanks go to 10 Magazine and for their work in compiling more events than have been listed below.

Looking for Hummus or Tahini

Hi All,

I am looking to buy or make hummus. I can find most of the ingredients in Korea except for tahini. If you know where I can go, especially in the Busan area, to get hummus or tahini, I'd appreciate it. If you make it, would you consider a trade? I make the best brownies ever!



A Foreigner's Mini Guide to Korean Ramen

See video

 From Simon & Marthina at

It's a cheesy infomercial for ramen in Korea! Sure, our tastes are different than a Korean's taste, which is why we made this video, SO PLEASE DON'T CONSIDER US INSULTING AND INFIDELS FOR NOT LIKING THE SAME RAMEN AS YOU! Otherwise, Bon Appetite!

Mountain Goat

Every so often the elements conspire to throw a meal at you that surpasses mere mastication and enters the realm of the truly memorable. Few and far between, these meals usually rely as much on location, company and conversation as they do on food, and can be elusive prey even for the ever-conscious food freak.

On Saturday however, the planets were definitely aligned as a few friends and I ventured into the mountains at the back of our apartment building, ostensibly to get some exercise, but really to do a little good old-fashioned Saturday afternoon eating and drinking. With this in mind our real goal for the day was a goat restaurant by one nestled by one of the old gates that used to guard a fortress from the Japanese, but now serve as a focal point for some of the many hiking trails that criss-cross the hills like ancient pig runs.


Last Tuesday night was my birthday, and to mark the occasion we shuffled and coughed our way through the freezing cold to the Novotel Ambassador Hotel on Haeundae Beach. The hotel does a legendary buffet, and having eaten there the week before in the company of our Director and Manager, we were determined to make this visit a little less restrained.

Straddling the seafront like a Neptunian colossus, the Ambassador does a fine trade as Haeundae’s premier Hotel complex and rocking up in my donkey jacket and trainers, I couldn’t help but feel the ominous onset of the Bums Rush. If being a foreigner in Korea means anything however, it’s your innate inapproachability - I probably could have set fire to the curtains and got away with nothing more than a tight grin and a bow. Luckily though, I was here to eat, and for 49 chun a pop (roughly 25 quid) including wine you can really get your moneys worth.

My Special Place

Years down the line a psychiatrist may well ask me to visualise my special place and when he does, I’ll probably be thinking of Jagalchi Fish Market. Centered around a huge sail-like building in Busan Port that evokes the Sydney Opera House, Jagalchi is billed as the largest fish market in Korea, and its easy to see why. Covering an area roughly 5000 square metres, a staggering amount of sealife passes through this place seven days a week, and I like nothing better than to wander the aisles gaping the ocean’s harvest in all its weirdness.

Bi Bim Bap - a loopa

Part of the fun of Korean food is how easily the names can be punned into western song titles. I’ve passed many an idle hour smiling to myself about the likes of Kim-bop, Galbi there and my personal favourite, Getting jiggae with it. However, while puns are all very well, most of the fun remains in the eating of the stuff and this is no less true of the quiet man of Korean cuisine, Bi Bim Bap.


I’ll never forget the first time I tried chocolate milk. It was New Years Eve 2001 and I was at a festival in the rainforest on Australia’s southern coast. I was on the tail end of a pretty serious bout of food poisoning that had seen the previous two days (one of which was my 19th birthday) either shivering in my tent or chained to one of the festival portaloos, and chocolate milk was the first thing I had ingested that hadn’t come straight out again in some shape or form.

Over the next weeks and months my friend Pete and I (who shared a similar love) became connoisseurs, tasting and grading every variety we encountered as we travelled from Melbourne to Perth in an ultimately fruitless search of work. For us, nothing else equalled the sensation of having just consumed a pint of cold, chocolatey liquid in less than ten seconds, and we started to really push the envelope, at one point drinking four or five a day.

Street Food

There are aspects of Korea that often make it appear to occupy a “third place” between the developed and developing world, and one of these is the prevalence of street food. While such food in the West is largely limited to a few after-hours burger vans or greasy hot-dogs stands, here it often seems like every intersection has something temptingly sizzling away for a couple of chun (1000 won) a piece.

Galbi glorious Kalbi!

On our first weekend in Busan, my cousin Steve and his girlfriend Vicky took us to a Galbi restaurant. Since then, the thing has kind of snowballed for me and the Duch, culminating in the infamous "day of two Galbis."

As you might have guessed, Galbi is damnably good, and a typical experience could be described as follows:

The job (including lunch)

Korea isn’t all Galbi and beer it seems, with a substantial portion of my time taken up trying to impart knowledge to our future Asian masters. This, as with everything else in Korea, is conducted in a pantomime of hand gestures and a great deal of fecklessness.

Our day begins at about 9:10am, when we start the slow, sweaty trudge to school from our “love motel” (which is pretty much exactly how you imagine it.) On one side of the road, huge apartment complexes dominate the skyline, while on the other side, convenience stores and small enterprises jostle for space with small restaurants boasting large tanks of docile fish and slithering eels. Here and there workmen clamour over building sites industriously, while pavement-mounted scooters zoom past perilously close and taxi’s pore out of every intersection.

Shabu Shabu

For me, Korean food started on Friday night. Up until then, my experience was moew or less limited to a few visits to Kokyoro, whatever it was Air Asiana served up somewhere over the Ukraine and a few so-so meals consumed in a haze of jetlag and apprehension. As such, baring some tasty deep fried mandu (pork dumplings) in the restaurant around the corner from my school one lunch time, my first five days or so in Korea were spent with the distinct feeling that i wasn't quite getting to the meat and potatoes of Korean cusine. Until I tried Shabu shabu that is, which had both.

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