Monday, June 21, 2010

Whale... it's what's for dinner.

Today's JoonAng Daily discusses the nominally illegal trade in whale meat in Korea. The focus is on Ulsan, a traditional whaling city. Although I am Australian (and our people and government are well known for their strong anti-whaling stance), I don't really have a problem with whaling or people eating whale.

If you do want to taste the biggest creature in the ocean, there in this post by Brian in Jeollanam-do on how to find it in Ulsan. In Busan, lonely planet (and greenpeace) affirm that it is available at Jalgachi Fish Market, although I don't recall seeing it there myself. Might have to read the labels more closely.

Apparently, "It’s an open secret among restaurant owners that environmental activists from Greenpeace send undercover investigators to Ulsan every year. They come to check the origins of the pricey whale meat served in local diners. A news report last week revealed that local police had raided two unlicensed warehouses in the city’s main port, Jangsaengpo. The cops found 60 tons of minke whale meat" So it would appear there is some enforcement of the anti-whaling rules in Korea. Try dobbing in a whale-meat smuggler in Japan and you might find yourself in gaol, as two Japanese greenpeace activists recently discovered.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Morocco Casablanca Restaurant, Gimhae

I realise it is a bit out of Busan, but if you can get there on the local bus, then it counts in my book. And here is some great food worth travelling for!

The Morocco Casablanca Restaurant in downtown Gimhae serves an excellent variety of genuine Moroccan food, at quite agreeable prices.

The Chicken Tajine is to die for, and there are some great couscous dishes on the menu as well. Better couscouse, in fact, than I've been able to find anywhere in Busan. Of course, they serve lamb, and any of our regular readers knows we are big fans of lamb here. Furthermore, the bread, made in-house in the mornings, is incredible.

Service is friendly and fast, without becoming intrusive, and the atmosphere is, well, authentic - with verses from the Koran booming out from the cd player and soccer on the TV.

Definitely skip Gimhae's Clayarch Museum and head straight here for a culinary experience well worth the long bus ride from Busan.

Location: Downtown Gimhae ( Sasang-dong, 82-42)
Phone: 010 - 5631- 0539
Cost: Mains 7,000+

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Zooza, Seomyeon

Come hungry, leave happy?

Well, in any case, that the slogan of Zooza's, a new American-themed bar/restaurant. I don't think "leave happy" is quite correct... my feeling was more "leave wishing you'd ate somewhere else". This is Seomyeon after all. Unfortunately they've chosen to put Zooza's in Judie's Taehwa, which means you don't even have to leave the building to get better fare. Let me show you what I mean....

Ho-hum. Is this supposed to be carbonara? Make an effort next time, please.

OK, now what is this supposed to be. It looks kind of like a pizza. Well, not really. There are some toppings, most of which are onion, and some rather lost looking black olives. However, the real disgrace here is the crust. It's some sort of sweet pastry crust, like what you'd use it an apple tart or something like that. Seriously, I will happily eat pizza (even Dominoes) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week but I couldn't finish more than a slice of this rubbish. What were they thinking?

Well, the pizza was not the worst pizza I've has in Korea, but it was bad enough for me to say, don't risk it. Don't eat their food. Just eat somewhere else.

Some readers might think I'm being too harsh, but obviously they have not tried this crappy pizza. If you want me to say something nice about the place, well, they had some thick-cut french fries service that did not suck. There is a nice view from the windows and they have several TVs with different stations on them. And they have done a pretty good job of making it look like an Applebees or something.

Also, the staff smile alot, but they are really dim. They aren't even familiar with what's on their own menu. And service is painfully slow. You could order, get up, leave and order some real food, eat it and come back before your order arrived here. And that's what I'd recommend you do.

I suppose you could just come here to drink beer, if you were willing to wait for it.

Location: 4th floor, Judies Taehwa Building, Seomyeon.
Phone: 051-667-7666 (That explains the pizza!)
Vegetarian Option: Yes
English menu: Yes. Some of the staff speak English.
Pasta and Hof food from 7,000
Pizza from 13,800
Set: (2 pasta, 1 pizza and beer) 28,500
There is steak too.... um... yeah.. good luck with that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kitanachelin Kankoku?

Apparently there is a hit new food show in Japan, Kitanachelin, which recommends restaurants where the decor may be rock-bottom but the food is top notch.

 I reckon anyone who loves Korean food must be sympathetic to this idea. It has always struck me that, in Korea, the crappier the room: the better the food. Not to mention the price!

I always worry folks won't believe me when I come across another graffitti-filled, greasy, hole-in-the-wall dump with a menu full of scrumptious food where there's not an item on the menu that's over 5000 won. But they are about. And not just out in the dingy suburbs. There are fantastic and dirt cheap Korean places everywhere - 2 minutes walk from Haeundae beach for instance.

So don't fret about the wallpaper, the noise and the menus scrawled in terrible korean handwriting, just sit right down on the wonky plastic stool and enjoy some unforgettable food.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chicken champs?

Lately our favourite chicken shop closed down, and since then I've exchanged fried chicken for the roast chickens you can buy from the back of a truck.

Still, fried chicken perfect accompaniment to a cold beer, especially with both summer and the World Cup well on their ways. In that spirit, The JoonAng Daily has an article entitled "Who will be crowned chicken champ?"

The best part about the article is it breaks down which popstars promote which chicken chain. However, it fails to crown a chicken champ!

Nothing to stop us doing it though. What is your favourite chicken shop is Busan, and why?