Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bibimbap: Hell & Heaven

From my point of view, Itaewon in which a local landmark Hamilton Hotel can be found is the most non-Korean area in Seoul for tourists. Slightly similar with "Khao San Road" in Bangkok & "Pham Ngu Lao" in Ho Chi Minh, there are lots of stores, bars & restaurants earning money from foreigners. If you don't have much budget for sleeping, I recommend a sauna in the basement of Hamilton Hotel because it's cheap and near by the subway station. But the ceiling of sleeping area is so low that you have to watch your head, and you may lie next to a guy snoring loudly. In Taiwan, anyway, dolsot bibimbap is my favorite Korean cuisine. It is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg & seasoned vegetables with chili pepper paste is cooked against the sides of the bowl, and the layer of the rice touching the bowl is golden brown & crispy. I ordered this in Itaewon which is a colorful one but the most distasteful dish during this travel time.

Jeonju bibimbap is well-known across South Korea, and Gogung is one of the best restaurants specializing in this traditional food. This set appeared in Myeongdong. Before 7 delicate side dishes, including a few kinds of Kimchi and fried laver which is flavorful and crispy, served as accompanists, the soloist, Jeonju bibimbap, was sent in a brass bowl wearing a gorgeous dress, various unknown nuts & vegetables. One Japanese-speaking waitress helped me stir it professionally. Overall, a complicated concerto, a harmonic masterpiece, bravo!

Hamilton Hotel

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