Dear 'China & Southeast Asia board', you've helped me tremendously last year when I came to Seoul (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/980009), and it resulted in some great eating (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/989692).
But now it's time for a new round, because I'm coming back baby !
So I will be in Seoul in September, and plan on revisiting a few favorites from my last trip (Wang Jokbal, Bong san jib, Gwangjang market, Gangnam Myun Oak...). Last time I chose Jung Sik Dang for a more upscale meal, so I will probably try Poom this time.
Since last year I've been learning a lot about korean food, cooking some of it myself, and drooling over some of it on the internet. So I come with a bunch of new questions and asking for a few new recommendations. Here goes !
- Pajeon (or other jeon). Aside from the great bindaetteok at the Gwangjang Market, the only jeon experience I had was in a random place with greasy pancakes, and one gochu-jeon which destroyed my intestines for 48 hours... Since then I've been making some pajeon at home, but I never had a truly good version of it in Korea, so I'd like to experience this to better calibrate my own recipe.
So, any recs for some good jeons ?
- Sundubu jjigae... can you believe I've never had sundubu jjigae ? Me neither ! Where should I try this iconic dish ?
- Gimbap. I've tried the great Mayak Gimbap at Gwangjang Market, but never went to a place specializing in the thicker/fuller kinds of gimbap. I realize this is more a snack food than a meal (although it's probably the most filling and healthy snack there is), but if you happen to know a place that do them particularly well, I'm all ears.
- Majang Meat Market. Should I go there ? Aside from picking your meat and having it cooked (like the fish at Noryanjin), quality-wise will I get anything there that I couldn't get in some other good meat restaurants (like Bong san jib or Gangnam Myun Oak) ?
- Pizza... Ok, so aside from the novelty value of eating a pizza that is as sweet as a dessert with some toppings that seem crazy... should I try korean pizza ? Is there anything really worth seeking out ?
- Jajangmyeon. For some reason I'm really looking forward to this chinese-korean dish (which is apparently nowhere to be found in China). Any particular place where I should get this ? Or is it pretty much always the same ?
- Cooking classes. As I said, since last year I've been cooking korean, and I love it (I just made my second batch of kimchi !). So I'd like to take one or more cooking classes in Seoul. My research has brought to my attention O'ngo and Food & Culture Korea Academy.
O'ngo looks more professional, but I like the fact that I can choose between a seemingly greater variety of dishes at F&CKA... Does anyone have any experience with one of them or both (or some other cooking class) ? Any feedback ?
- Bringing stuff back to France. Last year I brought back some samjang and gochujang from the supermarket, but I now realize that I can get those ingredients in France (and they're not that much more expensive). I also brought back some gochugaru from the Gwangjang market, and that was very nice as I'm guessing the quality is better than the ones sold at the supermarket, and it's very light so I could bring a bunch of it and give some as presents. So I plan on buying some more gochugaru, but is there anything else that you would recommend bringing back to France ?
And on a side note, when I bought the gochugaru, not knowing what were the differences between the different ones available, I pointed at the most expensive one, thinking it was probably the highest quality... The vendor refused to sell it to me, making signs to his mouth and miming a dragon, to make me understand that this one was very hot... I insisted, he insisted... he won, I bought the second most expensive.
So is there a way to know which quality and/or heat level I'm buying ? Should I be looking for a particular kind of gochugaru ? I got used to spicy food, but I would still prefer a very fragrant gochugaru which is not too spicy over a very spicy one that is not too fragrant... Any advice ?
I can't wait to go back, visiting a place for the second time is very different, I will be more relaxed to just enjoy the city, and get to know it's neighborhoods a little more.
Thank you very much for your help !
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