If anyone knows me, they know that I am a picky eater! The summer before I came to Korea, I was slowly (a little emphasis on slowly) coming out of my pickiness. My boyfriend at the time was really good at getting me to try new things. And I also learned that I’m not too bad of a cook either! (There were only a few stressful nights in the kitchen.) This page is all about my food adventures… And trust me, there are a lot!
A couple friends of mine are fascinated with all the foods I’ve never had or have just tried. We have played the game where they say a food and I say whether I’ve had it, just tried, or have never had it. (“Have never had it” was the most popular answer.) If you want to join in on the fun, send me a message on the form below with a list of foods and I’ll write about them on if I’ve had them or not or just recently tried them. Bon appetite!
*In a society where they use chopsticks, it surprises me that they don’t take the meat off the bones before cooking/serving it. I quickly became very good at using chopsticks, but I must say, they are not the most logical, user-friendly utensils to eat with.
Let the Shock & Awe Begin!
Another grill-your-own restaurant! This time we had barbecued pork with the fixings and it was really good!! Karima found this restaurant with her nose! She was walking by one day and smelled it, so we tried it out and it did not disappoint!!🙂
Did my mama come to Korea to make me pancakes?! Unfortunately, no. But I had the next best thing! Her recipe and Karima! We had breakfast for dinner one night and Karima used my mama’s recipe for pancakes… They weren’t quite the same (just missing one ingredient… Mama’s Love!), but they were still delicious!!! We also had bacon, eggs, and grapes! And I am looking forward to many more breakfasts for dinner!🙂
Udong looks like a giant noodle on a stick. It’s actually a processed fish noodle, and surprisingly tasty! This is another one of the delicious street foods Korea has to offer!
Yuuuummmmmy!!! I’ve tried a few different flavors and they never disappoint… Green apple, mango, and yogurt.
Beer Battered Fish & Chips
It has only been on special occasion fried fish (working in the kitchen for Grandma & Grandpa for Friday night fish fry at Riverside), but it was mostly just little bites here and there. I also had some at the sushi dinner with my co-teachers. One night my friend and I went to Gun’s Seafood, because we had heard some really good things about it. And it was good! I got the beer battered flounder fish and Karima got the beer battered king fish. Both were really good and the fries… I can’t find the words to describe how amazing they tasted!!
Duck & Octopus Soup
Say whaaat?!? Yes, octopus! We went out for another teacher dinner. We ordered (well my co-teachers ordered) the duck and octopus soup. To my complete and utter amazement (and probably to yours too), I LIKED IT!! The soup was really good and had a little bit of spice to it, but not too much that I couldn’t handle it. The duck meat was delicious, and I was surprised that I actually liked the ocotpus too! When we were half done with the soup, we threw some ramen noodles in there and cooked them up. Then when the soup was nearly gone, we through rice in the pot and had fried rice. A surprisingly delicious meal with the co-teachers!
Stuffed Pastry Wraps
I really don’t know the correct word to call these, so I’m just going to call them stuffed pastry wraps. I had them in Osaka at the hotel and on Jeju at the rotating sushi restaurant… They have a wrap on the outside, that is kind of like a crispy crust, with warm veggies of some sorts inside. They’re very small and oh-so-good!! Wish I knew what they were called so I could make them someday!
At the beach volleyball tournament, Miriah was selling fajitas. I had a chicken fajita and a tofu fajita. Both were VERY good and VERY JUICY!
Yes, I have had strawberries back home (very rarely, I may have tried them once or twice)… But the strawberries here are 10 times better than any strawberries back in the states!! They are so juicy and SWEET!!!
Sweet Potato Cake
I got a gift from a parent of a couple of my students… A sweet potato cake! It was really good! (Besides the fried sweet potato slices on top… I expected them to have a little bit of a crunch to them. Nope, but it didn’t ruin the cake for me, so it’s all good.)
Yes, it is a new thing for me. Never had it til I came to Korea. Haha… Yea I’m not sure what to say either. It’s not bad, I’m just not a fan of the feeling it leaves on my teeth.
This is NOT a new food. I just wanted to share how unbelievably messy (and not that easy) it is to eat spaghetti with chopsticks… Was not a good day to wear white to school.
I am not a fan of oranges, but hallabongs are sweet and DELICIOUS!!! They are part of the citrus family and look like oranges, except they have a knob at the top. It is one of the many things that Jeju Island is known for… And for good reason.🙂
Yes, you read right… Sushi!! I’d never thought I’d see the day either. The English teachers like to go out to dinner every once in a while. Our first dinner happened to be a sushi restaurant. And we had a 5-course meal. To my surprise, it wasn’t too bad. We started off with the appetizers.. There was quite a variety of choices. I had the shrimp and some other things that I don’t even know how to describe. I didn’t try everything, but I gave a few things a try. Then we had the main course… Some type of white-meat fish, which came with the fixings, like lettuce leaves and such. It wasn’t too bad. They also fried up some of the fish for us, which was much more to my liking. The next course was fried and smoked fish and fried sweet potato slices. I passed on the smoked fish, but the fried fish and sweet potato slices were good. Then we had a seaweed soup with dough-flake noodles. Eun-mi forgot to warn me that the little green things in there were jalepeno peppers… My mouth was instantly on fire!!! I recovered and ate some more, always cautious of jalepenos. After that, there was dessert. Bingsu… It’s crushed ice with fruit and red bean paste. Since I’m not a huge fan of red bean paste, and the fact that my button was about to pop off my pants, I kindly passed on the bingsu. There will be many more chances for me to try it I’m sure.
Jajang is this dark, almost black, sauce. The soup also has some chunks of veggies in it. It’s tasty, but… umm… Let’s just say it cleans out your system pretty good. I’d like to avoid it, but when it’s for school lunch, I can’t really avoid it unless I want to go without lunch.
These are sometimes called macaroni snacks, which are more commonly known as a bar snack. I love them! There’s nothing special about them, I just really like them. Haha
My favorite Korean meal!! I may have mentioned this before, but it’s good enough to mention more than once. I LOVE IT!! The meat is brought to the table and we grill it up ourselves on the little grill in the table. It comes with many little side dishes and lettuce leaves. The idea is to put the meat in the leaves along with some other little sides provided. My favorite bulgogi restaurant also brings out steamed eggs… Which are fabulous!!
Vegetarian Meals (Yoga Retreat)
As some people may know, I’m not a big fan of vegetables. In fact, the only vegetables I ate before I came to Korea were cold carrots, corn, and potatoes (mostly in french fry form though). This does not include the vegetables I was forced to eat every once in a while when I was younger. So for one whole weekend, I had to eat vegetarian meals. I wasn’t too fond of many of the meals (absolutely no offense to the people that made them!). Although, there was one meal that I really liked! Karima made some marinated tofu that we cooked up for burritos… It was DELICIOUS!!! I will be eating that again for sure!!🙂
Bean Paste Pastries
At festivals, it is common to see little pastries being made with batter and some dark things. I was curious what they were, so I bought some. Turns out the little dark things put in the batter is red bean paste. I wasn’t a big fan of it, but I’ve been trying it at school a few times and it’s starting to grow on me.
Or bomal kalkooksoo. It’s this soup with a thicker, slimy sauce (doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it’s pretty good) and little shellfish. Supposedly, these shellfish are only found on Jeju. Not one of my favorite meals, but not too bad. The principal of the school likes this place, so usually when the school does dinner we go here… Conveniently across the street from the school.
Sooo good!! Dak means chicken. The dak galbi we had was pretty spicy, but I think my tongue is getting better at handling spicy foods. Dak galbi is made by stir-frying chicken marinated in gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce with cabbage, sweet potato, onions, and tteok (rice cake noodles). Normally, the customers cook it at their table (or so I’ve heard), but they just bring it to us already cooked. Maybe because we’re foreigners and they don’t think we can handle it or don’t feel like explaining, or because they always bring it out already cooked… I’m not quite sure.
Or galbitang… It was a soup with shaved beef, some vegetables, and glass noodles mixed with rice. It came highly recommended by one of my co-teacher’s daughters. And it was GOOD!! For those that don’t know what glass noodles are, they are like spaghetti noodles, but a little thicker and kind of see-through.
In America, the typical picnic food is a sandwich of some sorts. In Korea, it is Kimbap. I’ll do my best to describe it… It is vegetables and/or some type of meat surrounded by rice all wrapped gim (I think that’s the word for seaweed paper). It’s pretty good. I had this for the first time when I went on the class field trip with the 6th graders. As I walked around during lunch, I noticed that almost EVERY student was having kimbap. It’s pretty tasty too.🙂
I’ve also had Indian food for the first time. I’ve had chicken makhni (which was a bit spicy for my first time) with garlic nan, butter chicken curry (amazingly delicious!) with nan, and samosas. Pretty tasty!
Corned Beef & Cabbage
As shocking and crazy as this may sound to some people, considering I grew up in New London (where St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal), my first time ever having corned beef and cabbage was here in Korea! A friend of mine made it and invited a few of us over. It was delicious!!! She also made some Bayley’s bread… Yum! Thanks Miriah!!
Shrimp Chips & Banana Puffs:
I was a little hesitant to try the shrimp chips, but they turned out to be pretty tasty! Banana puffs on the other hand… Fail. Banana should NOT be a flavor for a chip! When I bought these, I just saw the puffs and thought they would be good. I didn’t notice the monkey holding the banana in the corner of the bag until I got home. Koreans do have their weird combinations for foods… Some work out and some don’t.🙂
School Lunch in America=Nothing to brag about… School Lunch in Korea=Yum! My first day at school, the previous English teacher was there and he was telling me some stuff about the school and how things work. He also told me that the school lunches are really good… Yea right. Turns out he was right! Every lunch consists of rice, soup (usually some variation of a seaweed soup), kimchi (which I tend to turn down- SPICY!), a meat or tofu portion (gotta get that protein), and either some kind of cold vegetable with spicy sauce or fruit. My favorite is this shaved meat that reminds me of bulgogi with veggies! And I love when they give us lettuce leaves to wrap the meat in! The only meals I really don’t like is when there is fish that still has the bones in it. My favorite soup is the dumpling soup… Oh so yummy! One meal (that I am now going to try to avoid) is jajang stew. Jajang is a black sauce. This jajang stew also has a meet and veggies in it and it’s pretty tasty. Let’s just say it’s also very good at cleaning out your intestines… I do believe no further explanation is needed. There are just so many different meals that I’ve had at school, that it’s hard to cover them all. Plus I don’t know the names for half the stuff I eat there anyways. So what I’ll do is create a school lunch page and post a picture every week of one of my school lunches from that week.🙂
Ramen noodles might as well have their own zip code here… There are TONS of different kinds of Ramen noodles! And there is a whole aisle dedicated to just Ramen noodles at both E-Mart and Lotte Mart (the “Wal-Marts,” although E-Mart is more like the Wal-Mart and Lotte Mart is a Target… My opinion anyways). The first time I made Ramen noodles at my house, I was very tempted to call 119 (emergency number in Korea)… My mouth was on FIRE!! After that, I brought the packages of the different kinds of Ramen I bought to school to ask my co-teacher what kinds they were. On the kind that set my mouth on fire, Eun-mi kindly pointed out right away the cut-up jalapeno pepper I failed to notice. No further explanation was needed for that package. (Fyi: this package was the one I originally thought didn’t look like it would be spicy.) On the other hand, the other kinds that I got turned out to be quite good! They have just enough spice to give me a little kick but not set my mouth on fire.
I’m salivating just thinking about it. I LOVE KOREAN PIZZA!! The first time I had pizza in Korea, Karima and I went to a little place down the street from her house. I believe it is called “The Mexican Grill.” We each ordered a whole pizza for ourselves. I, of course, ordered my typical cheese pizza with nothing else on it. To my surprise, there was also corn on my pizza. I thought this was quite odd, but after my first bite I thought it was a fabulous idea! (When I get back to WI, I am going to make a homemade pizza with corn… If anyone wants to join me, you are more than welcome!) We also noticed there was a green tint to the crust. Later we found out that it is a green tea crust. I also had a bite of Karima’s bulgogi pizza… Which wasn’t too bad either!🙂
Whenever the school takes teachers out for dinner, we always go to the same place. A restaurant that is conveniently across the street from the school and we seem to always have the same thing when we go there… Bomal Kalkooksoo. It is a little thicker soup, not like a stew but more like a slimy texture. It’s hard to explain. Then there are some thick, flat noodles and little shellfish that are only found in one place in the world… Jeju. Or at least this is what the teachers say. It’s pretty good. I’ll eat it again.
Korean Street Food:
You can find MANY different kinds of “street” food at the market. I’ll just talked about the ones I’ve had…
- Breaded meat on a stick- No idea what kind of meat it was, but it had some kind of breading around it. It wasn’t too bad. It was a little difficult to pull apart though to get it off the stick.
- Corn dogs!- There are many different kinds of corn dogs it seems.. The first one I tried had thick breading and on the outside of the breading were bread crumbs that reminded me of coconut shavings.
I’ve also had a corn dog that had little bits of french fries in the breading… Heaven.
*I should also note that a corn dog is called a hot dog in Korea, and a hot dog is called a sausage. In case you were wondering.
- Hoduk- Oh my! This stuff is amazing! Hoduk looks like a small pancake made of dough, but they put this brown powder inside that turns to a delicious, sweet, syrupy liquid as it cooks… Scrumptious and very sticky!
This is delicious! Samgyeopsal translates to “3 layered pork.” It basically looked like tenderized bacon… Not sure if tenderized is the correct word…? They bring it to your table and you grill it up yourself on the Korean grill in the center of the table. We also threw on some onions, garlic, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and kimchi. I steered clear of the kimchi, but I gave everything else a taste and it was pretty good! I’ve had this a couple times now, and it seems to get better and better.
First Meal on Jeju:
After we landed in Jeju, Sunny took us to a little Korean restaurant… Had I just walked by the place, I would’ve never known it was a restaurant. Beef bulgogi was on the menu!! My favorite!! We were also given all the traditional sides included in a Korean meal. It was a fabulous first meal!🙂
Basically all the foods that I ate orientation were new to me.. Except for the last day when they treated us with a bunch of delicious Western food!
New foods I ate at Orientation:
- Pork/Beef Bulgogi- My new favorite food! Grilled shaved meat in some meat juice…?
- Kimchi- There are several different kinds of kimchi that were served… Didn’t like any of it really.
- Quail’s Eggs- Yuck! The texture inside was very “sandy.” Not a fan.
- Fish Cutlets- Not bad, but probably not my first choice.
- Eggs (cooked in various ways)- From what I remember I’ve only had eggs once before I came to Korea and it was only because if I didn’t, my dad threatened to not bring us to Busch Gardens… This was years ago.
- French fries- Relax! I’ve had fries before and many know that they are one of my favs, but here they were served cold (or room temp… not warm basically) and they had a very sweet taste to them… Strange.
- Fried Squid- Not too bad!
- Galbi- Yum!
- Various types of soup- Yes, I’ve never had soup before coming here except MAYBE a spoonful here and there.
- Takoyaki- Japanese food.. A little pastry ball with veggies and/or squid inside. Not too bad.
- Various types of fish- This wouldn’t have been so bad if the bones were taken out. That pretty much ruined it for me.
- Bibimbap- LOTS of veggies, rice, and SPICY sauce! You figure it out. Haha (Keep in mind the only vegetables I’ve had before coming to Korea was cold carrots, corn, and potatoes.)
- Tofu- It’s better cooked, especially to make pajeon.