Due to unforeseeable circumstances, my winter visit to Seoul was cut short to only 4 days. With retrospect, I'm sure to say one will need at least a full week to truly explore Seoul and barely scratch the surface of its vibrant food scene. Here's a recap of how much fun I had during the first day!
Morning: Gwanghwamun - Gyeongbokgung - Bukchon Hanok Village
My first day was, of course, an overkill. I and a friend started out at Gwanghwamun, the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace only to find the Palace closed during Tuesdays.
Luckily Bukchon Hanok Village was only a short walk away, so we stopped by the popular landmark for a quick visit. The village is made up of traditional style houses ("hanok") and considered to be one of the most highly priced pieces of real estates in the city. Remember the 2010 K-drama "Personal Taste" when Lee Min Ho was trying to talk Son Ye-jin into selling him the house? That's what we're talking about.
After walking our legs off at the beautiful village, we decided to drop by Tosokchon for lunch. This place is super popular among foreign tourists for its Samgyetang, a Ginseng Chicken Soup cooked in a traditional stone pot. I was skeptical of the place knowing it's a reputable tourist trap, but the chicken itself was undoubtedly AMAZING! The tender white meat goes perfectly well with the sticky rice, sweet dates, and a very faint aroma of ginseng. If you've had ginseng candies as a kid, the smell can be quite overwhelming and unappetizing, which is not the case here at all. It also wasn't as heavy as I thought despite the huge portion, so you'll definitely have room for desserts.
As with any Korean meal, we feasted ourselves on the well fermented kimchi while waiting. Guests are expected to help themselves to the two jars of radish and cabbage kimchi on the table.
Stay tuned for Part 2 with more yummy food shots, poop cakes, and traditional tearooms!