Tag Archives: Korean food

Downtown Food & drink restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #23: Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면)

Pyeongyang Naengmyeon Restaurant, Downtown Gyeongju

Pyeongyang Naengmyeon Restaurant, Downtown Gyeongju

I’ve probably use the phrase “hidden gem” on this blog way more often than any decent writer should.  However with Pyeongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면) the phrase doesn’t fit any better, as I’ve literally walked by the place for years without realizing it was even there. The restaurant sits at the end of long, narrow corridor leading into the courtyard of a traditional “Hanuk” style traditional house; a hidden oasis in the middle of one of downtown Gyeongju’s busiest blocks.  But just because it’s is hard to find doesn’t mean that Pyeongyang Naengmyeon isn’t popular.  In fact the restaurant’s been open for over 65 years, which is probably a record in these parts, and is actually quite famous among locals and Korean tourists alike. read more »

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Chunghyo-dong Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #22: Handmade Kalguksu (손칼국수) at Kim Yu-shin’s Shrine

Son Kalguksu Restaurant Kim Yu-sin's Tomb, Gyeongju

Son Kalguksu Restaurant Kim Yu-sin's Tomb, Gyeongju

The kalguksu (칼국수) restaurant at General Kim Yu-shin’s memorial shrine is one of those hidden gems of Gyeongju; the operative word here being hidden.  It’s actually located in one of the side buildings of Sungmujeon (숭무전), the Confucian Shrine venerating the spirit tablet of the famed Silla general Kim Yu-shin (595~673 C.E.). The shrine itself is a bit hard to find as it’s tucked in a little horseshoe valley down from Kim Yu-sin’s Tomb hidden by the train tracks.  The restaurant is in a nondescript farm house to the side with just a small placard advertising 손칼국수,  or  ”hand-cut wheat noodles.”  If you didn’t know where it was, you’d probably never find it.  For as hidden as it is, it’s usually busy, which is a good sign. read more »

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Andong Bomun Resort Buddhist culture Food & drink Gyeongju Gyo-dong Hwangseong-dong Music & dance tips for tourists Uncategorized

Fall Events in Gyeongju: Temple Food, Hallyu Dreams, Liquor and Rice Cake, Marathons and more

Gyeongju Liquor and Rice Cake Festival, 2010

Gyeongju Liquor and Rice Cake Festival, 2010

The official start of fall is less than a week away, meaning it’s time again for some of the best weather in Korea and its accompanying  frenzy of festivals.   Here in Gyeongju we can look forward to a few old favorites plus some changes and special events.  First off, both vegetarians and Buddhist culture aficionados will want to check out the first annual Sachal Eumshik (사찰 음식), or Temple Food, Festival out at Deoksungsa Temple (덕숭사) next Saturday, Sept. 24th.   Contrary to popular belief (of many Koreans, in fact) Korea has a rich and delicious tradition of vegetarian cuisine rooted in the country’s numerous Buddhist temples.  Sachal Eumshik can be savored at several restaurants around Gyeongju, like Baru in Seondo-dong or Ssukbujaengi near Bomun.

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Bulguk-dong Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #19: Bomun Does Vegetarian Part 2- Ssukbu Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) Restaurant

Ssukbu Jaengi Vegetarian Restaurant, Gyeongju

Ssukbu Jaengi Vegetarian Restaurant, Gyeongju

If you’ve read any of my restaurant reviews on here on the blog, you’ve probably noticed  I don’t bother ratings restaurants with crap like forks, stars, or hearts.  I’m a busy guy.  I figure if a restaurant’s blasé or bad (and Gyeongju ‘s got its share of those) then it’s not worth writing about.  Also, everyone has different tastes, especially when it comes to cuisine as unique, flavorful (and sometimes challenging)  as Korean.   Giving a sundae (순대)restaurant four out of five stars (or toothpicks or whatever) doesn’t mean much if thought of blood sausage turns your stomache. All that said, for its combination of quality food, reasonable prices and tasteful traditional décor, I’d about give Ssukbu Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) five out of five stars.  It’s just that good, and it happens to be vegetarian. read more »

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Bomun Resort Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #18: Bomun Does Vegetarian Part 1- Dayoo (다유) Restaurant

Da-yoo Vegetarian Restaurant, Bomun Resort

Da-yoo Vegetarian Restaurant, Bomun Resort

Although it’s not quite enough to call a trend, a couple vegetarian restaurants have sprung up around Bomun Resort (보문단지) in the last few years which, for a country that generally considers eating meat equal with common sense, is a pretty big deal.  Perhaps the frequent media scares over livestock-borne diseases, like mad cow, foot and mouth and avian flu, are beginning to turn some Koreans off from their gleefully carnivorous diets.  Whatever the case, it certainly helps the vegetarian cause that both Dayoo (다유) and Ssookboo Jaengi (쑥부쟁이) restaurants near Bomun serve excellent traditional Korean vegetarian food.  And, contrary to the popular belief among Korean school kids, this is not a contradiction in terms. read more »

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Food & drink restaurants Seonggeon-dong tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #16: Chowon Samgyetang (초원삼계탕)

Chowon Samgyetang Restaurant, Gyeongju

Chowon Samgyetang Restaurant, Gyeongju

Few local foods beat the chill of Korean winters quite like samgyetang (삼계탕).  If you’ve not had the pleasure, samgyetang is a Korean ginseng chicken stew that’s warm, hearty and filling.   The stew is served in individual bowls with an entire chicken (minus the head thankfully) in each.  The chicken itself is stuffed with rice, ginseng, jujubes and assorted nuts and boiled until tender in a savory broth.   Samgyetang has mild flavor so you’re welcome to add salt and gochujang, or hot pepper sauce, to taste.  I dump in a lot of both, but that’s just me. read more »

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Food & drink Hwangnam-dong restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #15: Dosol Maeul (도솔 마을)

Dosol Maeul Traditional Restaurant, Gyeongju

Dosol Maeul Traditional Restaurant, Gyeongju

I apologize for being a bit slack with the restaurant reviews here lately.  It’s been long overdue that I post on one of the classic tourist restaurants in Gyeongju: Dosol Maeul (도솔 마을).  And, unlike a lot of over-hyped tourist restaurants around here, Dosol Maeul is well deserving of its reputation. read more »

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Downtown Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants shopping tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #14: Ah Sa Ga Tea House (아사가찻집)

Ah Sa Ga Tea house, Downtown Gyeongju

Ah Sa Ga Teahouse, Downtown Gyeongju

As we’ve been on the topic of tea lately, I figure it’s about time that I post on Ah Sa Ga Tea House (아사가찻집).  Ah Sa Ga is in the middle of Gyeongju’s downtown shopping district, on Bonhwang-ro Culture Street (봉황로).    It’s been open for almost a decade, though I only discovered it a little bit ago myself.   For years, I thought it was a pottery shop, which I hope is excusable as they do actually display and sell tea sets in the front of their shop. read more »

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Downtown Food & drink Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #13: Sam-po Ssam-bap (삼포 쌈밥)

Sampo Ssambap Restaurant, Gyeongju

Sampo Ssambap Restaurant, Gyeongju

Looking back on my blog I realize that it’s been months since I’ve posted any restaurant reviews.  To make up for this oversight, I hope this will be the first in a series of reviews that focus on restaurants both unique and accessible to tourists.

Sampo Ssambap Restaurant, Gyeongju

Sampo Ssambap Restaurant, Gyeongju

To start off with, I have to mention group a of “Ssam-bap” (쌈밥) restaurants just east of the Daereungwon (대릉원) parking lot.  If you’ve not had “Ssam-bap” before, it is a culinary force to be reckoned with.  Any Ssam-bap joint worth its salt will bring out no less than 20 plates of Korean side dishes: all known manners of kimchis, veggies, fermented fish, spiced squid, marinated tofu, pickled eggs, and peppered salads along with a couple of dishes of soup and pork or beef. read more »

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East Sea Gyeongju restaurants Sites to see tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #12: 100 Years Tea House (백년찻집)

100 Years Tea House, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

100 Years Tea House, Mt. Tohamsan, Gyeongju

Perched on the ridge of Mt. Tohamsan (토함산) , looking East over the Churyeong (추령) Pass is one of the best kept secrets of Gyeongju:  the Beak Nyeon Cha Jip (백년찻집) or “100 Years Tea House”.  Whether you’re a dedicated  tea aficionado or you need a break on the trip over to the East Sea and King Munmu’s tomb (문무대왕릉), Beak Nyeon Cha Jip is well worth the 30 minute drive from Gyeongju. read more »

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