Before I dive in though, here is a very useful gem I printed off in my first week here. It's a translated menu for a kimbap restaurant. They almost always have the same things on offer so use this as your bible, or check-list of things to try, when eating in these fantastically cheap diner style eateries.http://maryeats.com/2006/11/16/kimbap-nara-menu/
Right, let's get stuck in.
By far our favourite place to eat is a barbecue restaurant next to David's apartment. It was our first real experience of Korea food and we are now regulars. Having tested various things on the menu, we highly recommend the 우삼겹 (oo-sam-gyeop). This is strips of thin bacon-esque pork that you dip into a bowl of marinade before putting on the grill. You can get it without the marinade but we think it makes a huge difference in taste, with little difference in price. You get unlimited sides (green onions, sliced onions, salad, lettuce leaves) and have to order a minimum of 3 portions of meat but at the low, low price of 3,000 a portion, it's a bargain!
|9,000won = 5 whole English pounds!|
For all of this - can you believe it?!
|You put the meat in the marinade and eat it all up!|
|Meat, 2 kinds of onions, garlic and David's favourite|
red chilli paste, wrapped in a sesame leaf.
This is called "sam-gyeop-sal" and is delicious.
|I loved this photo so much I had to use it again|
and I don't think I ever mentioned where it's from...
That's right - our fave restaurant has free ice cream!
Proper Korean barbecue is cooked over burning coals, and our favourite place to eat this style of food is a chain restaurant called 서래 (so-ray). It's a beef restaurant, so more expensive than the above restaurant. Two people can be fed for 15,000 and this includes unlimited sides of onions, salad and bean sprouts. In a large group, with beers and soju, it usually averages out at 10,000 per person. The great thing about barbecuing beef is that you can cook it exactly how you like it, and these bite-sized chunks of steak are delicious!
|The salad has a really tasty, spicy dressing -|
last time I went I ate 3 bowls to myself!
|You can put the onions and bean sprouts on the|
grill to change things up a bit.
|Memorise this sign and keep your eyes peeled!|
Koreans love fried chicken. Who doesn't?! The only thing I don't like about it (aside from having to deal with bones) is the "fried" element. But Korea has that covered. There are a couple of chains we've seen that do oven-baked chicken. It's so good and the fact that there is no f-word means it's guilt free eating! We like the chain called 오꾸닭 (O-koo-dak) and HIGHLY recommend you spend a few extra won to get a dish with sauce on, rather than plain with dipping sauce. We love the teriyaki one and tend to go for the whole chicken, rather than just thighs or wings. The free side dishes are limited to pickles and radishes, and there is a disappointing lack of chips on the menu, but it's still a great place. The portions are huge, with a very pleasing meat:bone ration, so sometimes even Dave doesn't manage to finish it all - but fear not! They will seal your leftovers in a nice plastic box and it's great in a sandwich the next day.
|Here's what it looks like from the outside, |
so you know what to keep an eye out for.
|Saucy chicken selection!|
|They give you forks!!!|
Our research in this area isn't extensive, and so I don't claim our recommendation to be "Busan's Best Burger" - it's simply the best one we have had. It's a place called Farmer Burger, and their menu consists simply of 8 different burgers: Texas, Illinois, New York, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Cancun, Tokyo and Farmer's.
The menu has a description of each, which all sound delicious and all come with a drink and some wedges, for around 12,000won (depending on which burger you get). I had the Honolulu burger, which was so juicy and sweet! It had a slice of pineapple and a fab balsamic dressing. Dave had the Illinois burger and that was amazing too - sweet and juicy with a dead good mustard kick. Anyway, definitely try it next time you get a burger craving!
|Erm...yeh...I didn't manage to eat it like that!|
I'm not entirely sure of the exact location but there are 2 in Nampo-dong. I have stolen the following directions from www.busanhaps.com so hopefully they are accurate."Directions to location 1: from PIFF square, walk north 1 block; turn right on Gwangbok-ro (the big shopping street) and you’ll find it on the left. Directions to location 2: walk up the street from the ABC Mart; walk about 100 meters and turn right. You’ll be able to see Busan Tower directly above you."
Cheap and cheerful
We love Han's Deli. They are located all over Korea and are great for grabbing lunch or a relaxed dinner. Just look for the green signage and white English writing saying "Han's Deli" - it's a dead give-away! The place is nothing fancy, and food isn't mind-blowing but there is a good selection and nothing to complain about. Plus the prices are very reasonable and the free refills on your drinks make it even better value for money!
|Tabasco and Parmesan! |
Plus unlimited pickles, kimchi and radish.
|Dave's favourite - barbecue chicken. Be warned though,|
the 5 fries they give you often arrive cold.
|My chilli chicken and a side order of chicken balls.|
We were feeling greedy!
Chinese food in Korea is nothing like it is back home...or in China for that matter. You will hear people insist that "black noodles" (noodles with boring black bean sauce) are the be-all and end-all of Chinese food, however there are a couple of alternatives here and they can be found at our favourite Chinese chain restaurant 홍콩 반점 (Hong Kong Banjum). They are dotted all over the city so just look out for the sign (see below). There are 3 dishes to choose from - seafood noodles in a really spicy sauce, sweet and sour pork, and fried dumplings. They all come in 2 sizes, and for a party of 2 the smaller size is definitely enough. Last time we got the small portion of pork and the large portion of dumplings (10, as opposed to 5). The noodles are a meal in their own right so we couldn't get everything at once. Anyway, it came to 14,000won and we ended up taking enough home with us for David to have for lunch the next day. Well worth the money.
|Menu, prices and the logo.|
|Pork - YUM!|
|We do love our dumplings.|
|Oh and of course, the side dish - |
raw onions with a strong, salty, black bean dip,
and slices of pickled radish.