Seoul Food: Homeboy – Pop-Up by Manimal & KiKi Chanting
Homeboy Seoul Pop-Up
Homeboy Seoul Menu
The menu was the perfect size for a pop-up. We were able to order everything from the menu plus a cocktail each. The total for 3 people was KRW 66,000 (cash only) and we were bursting by the time we finished up our last bites. Talk about wicked value!
Dan Dan Noodles (Homeboy Seoul – KRW 9,000)
Sichuan Chili Oil, Doubanjiang, Ground Pork, Garlic, Stem, Spinach, and Cilantro dazzled the Dan Dan out of me. The portion size looks deceptively small. Each of us took a healthy portion to start as the other dishes were arriving, and then again at the end of the meal. The noodles tasted homemade as I had had in Taipei. The ground pork was spicy and peppery. The sauce had a healthy amount of heat on first bite, but the creamy (and addictive) sauce balanced it out. Looking back, this is probably my favourite bite of the night. If it appears on a regular menu in Seoul it’s a fair bet I’ll eat it 75 % of my remaining frigid nights in Seoul.
Five Spice Braised Pork Roujiamo (Homeboy Seoul – KRW 8,000)
In close second was the pork roujiamo. Roujiamo or “肉夹馍” originated in the Shaanxi province of China. The literal meaning is “meat burger” or “meat sandwich”, and nowadays you’ll find it served up all over China…and hopefully soon Seoul. This sandwich was a lot less spicy than the noodles, giving us a little break we didn’t know we’d need. The pork was tender, juicy, and just fatty enough. The braised pork butt was served up on Chinese flat bread adorned with sticky soy sauce, chili oil, cucumber, and cilantro. After the heat of the noodles it was the sweet, salty, and refreshing bite I craved.
Juicy Cayenne Fried Chicken Roujiamo (Homeboy Seoul – KRW 8,000)
Holy mountain of fried chicken! This massive piece of fried chicken didn’t even look like it belonged on top of that comparatively meek Chinese flat bread. I couldn’t place all of the flavours described in the menu as the sauce was a symphony of ingredients. Lemongrass Pickle, Peanut Sauce, Mojo Sauce, Cilantro, and Apple Mint smothered this fried chicken sandwich. As a sauce boss, I was in heaven. Even with my favourites like peanut sauce, cilantro, and apple mint, there was something about the pork I can’t get out of my head or tastebuds. If they end up on a menu once Homeboy Seoul opens up, make sure to try them both. The pork was an unknown craving, but the fried chicken hit the spot, too.
Savory Ukoy Fries (Homeboy Seoul – KRW 9,000)
Truly, where else can you get proper sweet potato fries in Korea? Sweet Potato Fries, Dried Shrimp, and Cilantro were served up with a Carrot Ginger Dip. I (thankfully for my tastes) didn’t sense a whole lot of shrimp. The sweet potato fries were lightly crunchy on the outside with a totally smooth centre. If you’ve been craving yam, petition Homeboy Seoul to open a permanent spot.
Chongqing Wings (Homeboy Seoul – KRW 11,000)
Wings tend to be a fairly basic offering in Seoul with everyone trying to measure up to a certain RBS fave, Mix & Malt, Seoul. These wings were totally different, as they were tossed in plenty of Chongqing Spice Mix, Fried Chili (watch out – they’re big chunks of spicy stuff), and cilantro. Lime came on the side to add a little moisture to the dry rub. While these were hardly mediocre, in comparison to the other menu items they seemed to be very spicy and kinda of basic. On their own, I’m sure they’d taste perfectly crisp and moist. If I hadn’t had a chance to try other dishes I found far superior, I’d be pretty thrilled with them. I can’t wait to try out KiKi Chanting’s chicken to see how it all compares.
Homeboy Seoul Signature Cocktails
If the cocktail name doesn’t bring back memories of Jason Mraz, I won’t worry. This cocktail, priced at KRW 7,000, was made of ginger-infused Hwayo 25, Honey Syrup, Lemon Juice, and Pear Soda, and was garnished with Cinnamon Pear Chips (essentially making it a fruit salad, of course). A light and refreshing cocktail, it was the perfect pairing for the rich food served up with a kick of heat. I’d imagine the Real Housewives of Shanghai downing these while consuming plebeian food ironically on the Bund. Would certainly order again!
This cocktail was a little bit more “knock your front teeth out” than The Remedy. Made of Hwayo X.P, Sweet Potato Orgeat, and Grilled Chestnut Bitters, and priced at KRW 7,000, this cocktail tasted more like a Manhattan than a jolly little tipple with soju as the main ingredient. I wasn’t sure soju could be elevated quite in this way. Looks like Homeboy proved me wrong.
Getting to Motor City
Craving a Detroit-style pizza in Seoul? En route to the next pop-up by the culinary creatives from the Manimal Team? Head over to Motor City in Itaewon!
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