Friday, April 30, 2010

Not for the faint hearted....

Now I eat a lot of "strange" food here, but this was no feast for the faint hearted. The local blood sausage, a squid stuffed with squid and blood sausage, kimchi, peppers and garlic. Or as they say in Korea, "the breakfast of champions".

To top it off, what I ordered was 돼지불고기. Obviously, this is not 돼지불고기. I was very clear in my order that I wanted 돼지불고기. As it sometimes happens, the older waitress decided that I didn't know what I was talking about, and she could pick something much better for me.

Naturally, I ate it anyway. With a serious side of makeoli.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fuzzy Navel, Haeundae/Seomyeon

The very popular Fuzzy Navel in Haeundae has been serving quality mexican food for some time. Now that Busan is finally warming up, its one of the best places in Busan to spend a Sunday afternoon relaxing, drinking and enjoing some hard to come by quesadillas.

To make things even better, according to this advertisment, they will are currently renovating Fuzzy Navel 1 (not 2) in Seomyeon (and in my opinion, changing anything about that nasty foreigner ghetto err... bar would make it less painful to be inside). Furthermore, not only are they renovating, but they are bringing over the amazing mexican menu from Haeundae. Best news ever! Of course, no doubt Seomyeon 1 will still be Fuzzy Navel, which means crowds of English teachers and tourists, and slow food service due to crowding.

Fuzzy Navel
Locations (for the mexican menu): Seomyeon, Haeundae - other locations have limited food menus.
Directions: Just follow anyone speaking English in a loud and obnoxious manner and you will be there in no time.
Open: 11am-6am

quesadillas: 9,900 won
draft beer: 3,300 won

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kebapistan Turkish Kebab House, PNU

In so many places in Busan, the food is just a means to an end - its just on the table to get you beer. Now, we'll introduce you to a place with food so good, you'll forget you even ordered beer.That place is Kebabistan, near Pusan National University.

Turkish food is becoming more visible in Busan, but anything more than a kebab roll covered in honey mustard sauce is still a rarity. After all, how many sheep do you see grazing around Busan? The answer to that question is... significantly less after this review.
There is a number of dips and starters on the menu (although not all of them may be available at a given time). The hummus is just as good as it is in your dreams, and will reduce an entire table to silence and drool.
It was so good that I only remembered to take a picture after the plate was completely cleaned.
All the mains here are good value, quality lamb with hearty sauces and an assortment of sides. The sides are obviously adapted to suit Korean tastes but a nice addition regardless.
However, this review is getting sidetracked from what must be its main focus, the delicious, delicious lamb.
Its so delicious that every time you stop at a galbi joint for the rest of your stay, you'll feel a little empty inside. Despite the tasty BBQ'ed meat, something will still be missing, and you won't quite feel satisfied. That something is lamb. Mmmmmmm....

The interior was quite nice, tastefully decorated in the turkish style, but the manager told me the whole place is about to be renovated, so by the time you read this review it could look totally different. Apparently Kebabistan will remain open the entire time, because otherwise -according to one staff member- "people get angry if we close".

Kebabistan also offers you the chance to smoke a shisha (hookah), and sells some other little turkish treats like apple tea.

Directions: From PNU station walk out exit 1 and go up the hill. Walk past McDonalds and continue over the main street, you should find it on your left.
English Menu: Yes . Staff speak English too.

Vegetarian Option: Yes (Hummus!)
Open: 12-10.30pm

Mains: 9-13,000 (+4,000 will give you tea, dessert and sides)
Dips: 4-6,000

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Korean Food Survival (on Seoul Podcast)

In the new Seoul podcast, Joe from ZenKimchi discusses how to find unusual food in Korea... the lecture does not translate so well to a purely audio format (ie. At the start he discusses how to sharpen a knife), and there's lots of annoying questions/interjections/sidetracks, but some good suggestions here which I will summarise here...

- While we can't always get every ingredient we need here, some ingredients which would be considered gourmet back home, are available here cheaply... ie. mushrooms (as I discussed last post).
-Appliances and homewares like toaster ovens and coffee grinders are easily aquired 2nd hand online or at Homeplus/Lotte/Emart.
-Herbs are sometimes cheaper to buy as plants, than cut and dried in your store. So its often cheaper to buy the herbs from the plant shop... even if they don't survive very long.
-He talks about the foreign markets alot as well, but most of it is Seoul related. Of course, in Busan, the main foreign market is in Sasang.
-Open air markets often hide good bargains.
- "Be open to ingredient substitutions. Experiment with different things [...] be open to what is available." This includes meats.
Some of the substitutions he suggests:
Sesame leaves - fennel or basil
Yujacha- marmalade
Mandu wrappers - ravioli
-Soju is a good cleaner
-Get toasted is a good resource for using your toaster oven.
-A rice cooker can be used as a pressure cooker or crockpot... and more.
-It is possible to make your own food products.He also shows how to make your own goat cheese, here is one tutorial.

Most of the emphasis in the lecture is on food substitution - the more puritanical you are about your ingredients in Korea, the more they will cost you. It is possible to get good food locally, without heading to costco.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mushroom, mushroom!

I was lucky enough to find wild mushrooms on sale at the local market (1,500 won for a basket), so I've been cooking with them the last couple of days.

(Mushroom! Mushroom!)

On the left, you can see them sauteed in olive oil (perfect for tasting the wild flavour of the 'shrooms) and on the right, made into a spread. By the way, try finding a glass of wine that full in any restaurant in Korea. No matter how cheap the Jinro served....

Spread recipe

300g mushrooms (roughly chopped)

a dozen black olives (pits removed)

1 salad tomato, diced

a taplespoonful of onion, diced

a splash of red wine vinegar

olive oil

Sauté half the mushrooms in olive oil, and put aside. Be careful not to overcook them. Put aside. Sauté the other half of the mushrooms together with the olives, in olive oil and red wine vinegar. they are ready once the mushrooms take some of the wine's colour (be careful not to add too much vinegar.

Mix both sets of mushrooms, along with the uncooked tomato and onion, together in a dip bowl. Serve on crusty bread. Enjoy.