Saturday, January 4, 2014

Noms in Asia 5: Wrap-Up of Korea


I just got back to NYC a few days ago, but I still have so many things I want to share from Korea and Hong Kong, so I wanted to do a quick wrap-up post of the rest of what I had in Korea. I'll then move on to stuff in Hong Kong — a beautiful and delicious city, btw — with more comprehensive posts.

So here's the rest of my food pictures from Korea.

Ho Dduk (호떡)

Ho Dduk 
The streets of Daejeon

Ho Dduk is another one of my favorite winter street foods in Korea, along with the "goldfish bread." What it is is a ball of dough with a sugary and nutty center that is pan fried and flattened into a round disk. The traditional ho dduk is made with regular flour and brown sugar, honey and nuts, but the one I had was slightly different — it was a green tea ho dduk with a white-sugar filling. I prefer the traditional ho dduk (which I also had but didn't get a chance to snipe a pic), but the green tea one was yummy as well. This sweet and warm dessert/snack is not only delicious but also very cheap as it is sold on the streets — only $1 for two! (Usually. Prices vary within the country.)

Bo Ssam (보쌈)

Bo Ssam from Nolbu Bo Ssam 

If you love pork and kimchi, you'll definitely be a fan of bo ssam as well. Perfect for dinner, bo ssam is tender slices of boiled pork that typically comes out with a special kind of kimchi, cabbage and salted/pickled shrimp, along with several traditional side dishes.

The way most people eat this is to dip a piece of pork into the pickled shrimp and wrap it around the cabbage with some of the special, slightly sweet kimchi inside. Pop the wrap into your mouth, and you're in for one crazy explosion of flavor.

Some people just eat the meat and the kimchi with some rice or just the meat with shrimp and rice — there are endless number of ways to enjoy bo ssam — but either way, this is an awesome dish that has many depths of flavor.

Fake Cronut (Fronut? Phonut? There should be a name for these)

Knock-off Cronut from Cafe Schneeballen 
Hong Dae, Seoul

So I haven't tried the real Cronut yet because New Yorkers are still going crazy over them — and I'm not up for the challenge to wait in line for four to five hours and be sorely disappointed when the guy in front of me gets the last one and gives me a stupid smirk before saying something stupid like "YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE" while walking away — but I was curious to see what a knock-off would taste like, one from Korea at that. This one was from Cafe Schneeballen in an area called Hong Dae in Seoul, and it was ... interesting.

While this Fronut (I'm going with this name — it sounds better than the Phonut, I decided) had a similar concept to the real deal, it was very far from the original Cronut (from what I imagine/have seen). Instead of having the rich custard filling on the inside, the Fronut had the custard piped on the top, which made me feel like I was a bit cheated (although the custard tasted fine). The texture of the pastry was also not as pleasant as I'd hoped as it was a bit tough and stale.

While Cafe Schneeballen's Fronut was still a good dessert overall, and went very well with coffee, it's definitely not a good substitute for the Cronut (again, from what I assume. Although I haven't had the real thing yet, I'm quite confident that people wouldn't wait in line at 6 a.m. for a pastry on par with this Fronut).

Korea, the home of my family, is always a delight to visit as it is a beautiful country with great culture, amazing food and fun festivities (K, I may be a little bit biased...), and this trip was no exception. To all my foodies, I urge you to fly on over to get a taste of one of the most interesting food cultures in the world.

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