Sunday, May 19, 2013

돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり) (Donburi)

Japanese rice bowls? Japanese rice bowls, anyone? You bet.

If you're walking down 어울마당로 (Eoulmadang-ro) in Hongdae, (you know, that popular street full of restaurants and shops with parking in between lanes of traffic) and you see a queue of people lined up in front of a small wooded entrance, then you may have just found 돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり). 

First off, do not be discouraged by the line. Let me repeat that, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT be discouraged by the line. All of these people are eagerly awaiting a table since this small, busy Japanese restaurant. It doesn't seem to matter when you go, there will always probably be so escort of wait. Menus will be distributed while you wait in line, and when you sit down, your food will be there, hot and ready to be devoured. 

Good luck making a decision on what you're going to order. Everything sounds delicious, and the price is very affordable as well. If there's a wait in line, I wouldn't suggest ordering an appetizer. I did when I went there, and it was delivered with our entrees. To start off we chose the Karaage, a Japanese friend chicken appetizer. The chicken, served in the form of breaded chicken balls, is juicy and moist. 

The rice bowls at 돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり) are what they're famous for. They're so damn tasty--and filling, as well! If you're a fan of caramelized onions, then the Kakiagedon is for you. It's described on their menu as having lots of onions, seven or four small lightly battered and fried shrimp (depending on whether you order a medium or large), a half cooked egg and donburi sauce. I don't know if I've had anything as delicious as the caramelized onions in this dish, in all of Seoul. The large size is super filling, and it'll make you forget every second you waited in line--and for only ₩9,000!

Kakiagedon (Large)
Another solid choice for a rice bowl is the Katsudon. Pork sirloin, sliced onions, two half cooked eggs and donburi sauce--if shrimp or seafood isn't your jam, you can't go wrong with the Katsudon. It's served in three different sizes, deepening on how many eggs your little heart desires. The largest size, the Double Katsudon will only set you back ₩9,500. 

Double Katsudon
돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり) very well could be the best Japanese spot in Seoul that isn't sushi oriented. Teppen, also in Hongdae, is a close second, but I'll leave that for another day. It's cheap, delicious, and well worth that wait in line. 

 Address: 마포구 서교동 366-18 (홍대본점)

Friday, May 17, 2013

틈새라면 (TeumSae Ramen)

Do you have a masochistic side? Do you like ramen? Well there's a place for you, tucked back on a dead end street in Myeongdong. Famous for their scorching hot ramen, or 빨계떡, 틈새라면 is the place to satisfy your masochism and your hunger.

If 틈새라면 looks familiar, it could be because their ramen is sold in convenience stores and packaged as single serving ramen bowls in addition to their physical restaurant. In Myeongdong, 틈새라면 serves two things--빨계떡, a spicy ramen, and the non-spices version called 계떡.

To find 틈새라면, you really have to know where you're going. Take exit 8 from Myeongdong Station, turing left out of the exit, continue to walk for about three blocks and swing a right. There in that dead end street you'll find just a simple sign that reads "틈새라면". The first thing you'll notice about the interior is the walls. Covered with thousands of testimonials written on slips of paper, it's obvious this place is something special. 

If you can handle the heat, order the 빨계떡--ramen served in a spicy liquid with sprouts, an egg, 김 (seaweed), and a few slices of rice cake. The 계떡 is essentially the same dish, minus the heat. Oh, and did I mention its super cheap? A bowl of ramen will only set you back ₩4,000!

As someone who loves spicy food, I have to admit the 빨계떡 was really a challenge to get through. Your mouth will burn. Your eyes will water. Your nose will run. You won't be the only one though. The small, windowless restaurant is a cacophony of sniffles, deep exhales and slurping.  

So try something new. Try something hot. Try to make it through an entire bowl of the spiciest ramen you may ever eat. Good luck. You're gonna need it.

Addresss: 4-1 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monster Pizza

Maybe you've eaten Monster Pizza before, but you don't remember it. Not because it wasn't delicious, actually quite the contrary, but because you were wasted. Located in Hongdae, Monster Pizza is a hit with the party crowd on the weekends. In the day time it's full of young college-age Koreans grabbing a slice with their friends. At night it's usually full of foreigners with their mind set on one thing--the best pizza one can buy, and it's open into the wee hours of the night!

With only three types of pizza, Monster focuses on getting massive slices of cheesy pizza into the hands of their hungry customers with little frills. It can get crowded inside, as the seating can't accommodate more than twelve or fifteen people, but that won't stop people from crowding in and eagerly awaiting a piece of pie.

Your pizza choices are simple--Cheese, Pepperoni, or Spice Girl's. The Pepperoni is easily your best choice. Lots of slices of pepperoni, stringy, hot cheese, and some of the best crust you'll ever taste make this easily the most delicious slice on the menu.

Pepperoni with parmesan 

The Spice Girl's is great as well. Topped, albeit sparingly, with ham, jalapeños, cheese and black olives, this is a great alternative to the Pepperoni if the Cheese is too plain for your tastes. Cover it with parmesan cheese or get yourself some garlic dipping sauce to make it even better.

Spice Girl's

A slice will set you back only ₩3,500 and a full pie ₩18,000. The slices are pretty big, a sixth of a full pizza. Good luck trying to eat more than two slices on your own.

Full Pepperoni
Grab a cold beer or a can of Pepsi or Cider to wash down the best pizza you my ever eat. I've eaten Mr. Pizza, had Brick Oven New York Pizza in Gangnam, and as much as I love myself some Pizza School, nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to Monster Pizza. It is truly the pizza to end all pizzas!

Address - Wowsan 73, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Phone # - 02-334-0322

Sunday, May 5, 2013


If you've ever been out to eat in Itaewon, you probably know that the street behind the Hamilton Hotel has just about ever cuisine you could desire. If you find yourself itching for some Greek, then Santorini it is.

Above The Old Stand and across from My Chelsea, Santorini, on the second floor, is clean, with a simple interior. If you're lucky you can nab a table by the window, but the view is noting to write home about. The smell coming from the kitchen on the other hand, will only make you salivate, eagerly awaiting your food.

The menu has a good selection of choices for the main course, and a few appetizers. If you're going to start things off with an appetizer, the hummus is superb. Served with a mini-loaf of fresh bread that you'll be bound to order more of, the hummus plate is a delicious way to begin.

Hot, fresh bread
For your main course go with the pork. The Pork Souvlaki, skewers of pork served with pita, tzaziki, potato wedges and a coleslaw-like salad, is a great choice. The meat is juicy and full of flavor. Add a little salt to your tzaziki and dip away.

Pork Souvlaki
Another great pork dish is the Pork Gyros with Pita. Served with a heap if potato wedges, pita, coleslaw-like salad, onion and tzaziki, the Gyros will surly fill you up. Oh, and the juicy, delectable, fat on the shaved pork is mouth-wateringly delicious.

Pork Gyros with Pita
The portion sizes are great, and you're certainly not going to leave hungry. Santorini can fill up during lunch and dinner hours, so plan ahead or check it out at off-peak hours. If Greek is your thing, Santorini is definitely the place to go!

Address: 119-10 Itaewon-dong Yongsan-gu Seoul South Korea
Phone: 02-790-3474