Seoul-Busan Backpacking 2011 – Food (Part II)

Hi everyone.

It’s a super busy day at work (school), but I feel the urge to blog about this today. So when the idea comes, I should quickly put it into writing, or else it will go missing. LOL. Plus, this weekend I will be busy with some Kpop related event (shall enlighten that to you soon), so I hope I can finish this post today.

As I said in my previous post about food, finding Halal food is not an easy task in Korea, unless you’re in Itaewon, but it’s not an impossible task to do too. If you know how, you can actually find food that Muslim can consume.

Be confident of what you’re eating, if you have a slight doubt about the ingredient and/or the utensils used in the process of making the food, then I suggest you not to consume it. Of course, avoid the obvious, such as meat (any kinds), ham, et cetera.

Korean Halal Logo

I am inspired to write more about this after reading Zarina Jani’s travelog. She’s like a GURU of everything Korean! I strongly advise you to check out her blog too because mine is of course, lack in many aspects compared to hers.

Before I share with you the local food that you could eat in Korea, let’s learn some simple (but VERY useful) phrases that you can use when you want to order food or when someone offered you food which is not Halal. I took this from Zarina’s blog, so all credits goes to her okay! I just corrected some romanization for the Hangugo pronunciation.🙂

I can’t eat meat
저는 고기를 못 먹어요 –
cho neun kogi reul mommogo yo
I don’t eat meat
저는 고기를 안먹어요 –
cho neun kogi reul an mogo yo
Please don’t put meat
고기를 넣지마세요 –
kogi reul nohjimasae yo
Please don’t put ham
햄을 넣지마세요 –
hem eul nohjimasae yo
I don’t drink alcohol
저는 술 안 마셔요 –
cho neun sul an mashyo yo
I can only eat vegetable and seafood
야채와 해산물 요리를 먹을 수 있어요 –
yache wa hesanmul yori reul mogelsu isso yo
I am a vegetarian
저는 채식 주의자 예요 –
cho neun cheshik juweeja ye yo

Make full use of these phrases. It’s really helpful if the seller doesn’t speak English at all.

So shall I recommend you to some local food that you SHOULD try when you are in Korea? Mind you these are just suggestions from me and if you’re looking for food with certified halal sticker/logo, you’re gonna be disappointed. Though IMHO,  in order to know more about a country, eating the local food is the best way to do it, don’t you think? LOL

Bibimbap (비빔밥) – Mixed Rice

Dolsot Bibimbap!

I have blogged about bibimbap in my (unfinished) 50 Things About Korea. It’s #9 in my list. You can read about it here. I have made my own version of bibimbap and that was my first and last time making it. Reason being, preparing for it took a lot of time (which is totally my fault, as bibimbap is actually just MIXING the rice with any ingredients) and I could not finish the whole bowl of bibimbap by myself.

I wanted to try the bibimbap but to be honest, we just could not find time to eat it. When we go to the restaurant near our guest house, me and Shambie just ordered kimbap, because it was simple, and not too much (in quantity). Most of the time we were too tired to eat, resting our fatigue legs was way more important than filling our tummies at that time. Hehe.

If you want to eat bibimbap in Korea, ask for a vegetarian one. Or just ask the ahjumma to put away the meat for you.  Same like we did when we bought kimbap-minus-the-ham. Opt for dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥, “dolsot” meaning “stone pot”) if you can because eating a hot bibimbap, to me, is yummier.🙂

Fizzy’s bibimbap. Hehe

Pajeon (파전) – Green Onion Pancake

credit: insanitytheory.net

Pajeon is a simple dish. It’s just a mixture of flour,rice flour,eggs and green onions fried in a form of pancake. Anyone can make this simple dish, though authenticity is crucial. Eating pajeon in Korea, made by Korean cook, is a different experience. Exaggerated but it’s a fact. Hehe

Plain pajeon might just taste like Malaysia’s own lempeng or cucur. So, if you are in Korea and want to eat Pajeon, opt for Haemul Pajeon (해물파전) which is a seafood pajeon, or Kimchi Pajeon ( 김치 파전)  made from what else, KIMCHI! There are pajeons made from beef or pork too so check the ingredients before you eat.

Yummy Haemul Pajeon (credit: ifood.tv)

Tteok (떡) – Rice Cake

Sweet and colorful tteok!

You always heard of tteokbokki which is the spicy version of rice cake. But have you ever thought of eating tteok (rice cake) as desert? When I was in Korea last year, I found a Halmoni (grandma) selling a variety of home made tteok in Dongdaemun. She was just sitting in the cold (it was even snowing at that time!) beside other people’s stalls with her tteok displayed on a big tray.

Looking at her made my heart ache, but even more so, her tteok looked super delicious to me. Too bad I forgot to take her photo with her homemade tteok. All I could remember was that Halmoni was shocked to see a scarf-clad foreigner like me wanted to buy her tteok. LOL Awww.. Halmoni!🙂

My knowledge about the variety of tteok is limited. Wikipedia has quite a lot of info, but most of them are just the list of tteok, with no photos. You can read it here.

But there’s one particular place I like to buy my sweet tteok from  – when there’s no Halmoni around selling her home made ones (wow that sounds like I do this on a regular basis! Haha). The shop is called 빚은 (Bijeun/Bizeun). There’s an outlet at the Incheon Airport too in case you can’t find any in the city.

Bizeun Outlet

Inside Bizeun

Bung-eo ppang (붕어빵) – Carp Cake with Red Bean Filling

Bungeoppang! (credit: visitkorea.or.kr)

Not cupcake but CARP CAKE! Hehe. This pastry is delicious eat when it’s still warm, in the cool weather. Yumm yumm. In Korean, “bungeo(붕어)” means Carassius, a kind of fish, and “ppang(빵)” means bread.

Bungeoppangs are made using an appliance similar to a waffle iron. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold, red bean paste is added, then more batter to encase the red bean paste. The mold is then closed, and roasted.

There are also bungeoppang-shaped waffles filled with ice cream and pat (sweetened and boiled red beans or azuki beans). These waffles are usually mass produced and sold by retailers, not by open-air food vendors.

Chigae (찌개) – Stew

Kimchi Chigae (credit:303magazine.com)

There are two main stews that you can find in Korea. It’s Dwenjang Chigae (된장 찌개) and Kimchi Chigae (김치찌개). Dwenjang means soybean paste, which means the stew is made from it, and for Kimchi stew, it’s made from the fermented kimchi added with other ingredients.

Both stews are usually served with vegetables and/or tofu. For dwenjang chigae, the ingredients normally includes tofu and variety of vegetables. As for kimchi chigae, some restaurant add diced pork or sometimes seafood in the stew, so please be careful if you’re going to order this dish. If the kimchi chigae only has tofu and vegetables in it then it’s alright to consume this.

When we talk about “stew”, the Korean variant of stew is not too thick. In fact it’s almost like a soup and having at least one “soup-y” dish in their meal, for breakfast,lunch and dinner , is a must for Koreans.

Dwenjang Chigae (credit: k-popped.com)

Most of you reading this post might think that the food featured above are all very common. You might even eat it on a weekly (if not daily) basis at your local Korean restaurant outlet. But like I said, the food, no matter how familiar you are with it, eaten in the place where it’s originated, tastes different! Hehe.

And to those who are not familiar with these food, either you have never heard of them, or have heard of them, but have not actually tried them, then my advice to you is, don’t be afraid to try. Muslims who are not confident with these food,  I hope you can benefit from this  and know that there are options for us to eat authentic Korean food if we know what to ask for.

{ Concert Review.People.Seoul vs Busan }

-coming soon-

29 thoughts on “Seoul-Busan Backpacking 2011 – Food (Part II)

  1. true esp bout pajeon. i’ve already love with it by eating at Street Cafe & wonder how it taste like in korea. the secret == sauce. must know how to made it taste right~ ^.^

  2. Salam Fizzy,
    Ni Kak Zarina. ^^
    Love reading your posts and stumbled upon your blog while checking out the linking sites. Keep up the good work dear!! 수고 했어요!

    • Salam Kak Zarina!!
      Wah, what an honor to have you here.
      I love your blog too.. huhu
      I wish I could be as informative as you are.

      Thanks for dropping by, sis.

  3. salam sis fizzy,
    stumbled upon ur blog while googling more about korea…

    i’ve been there last jan and still hv the bijeun tteok in my fridge. ada 1 time tu rasa was-was tp after reading this post, i think i can finish it after this…

    thanks for sharing ^^

  4. i have a question. i use google translate to translate 야채와 해산물 요리를 먹을 수 있어요 but what i got is “can you eat vegetables and seafood”.

    • I don’t trust Google Trans 100%.🙂
      Sometimes that’s just how we say it in Korean, and yes, when translated to English, it’s weird.

  5. salam fizzy, nak tanye sikit boleh? sy cadang nak g korea next year with friends. Since Ktorg ni students , kalau boleh nk kurangkan sikit kos belanja. Ktorg still dilemma nk g with travel agensi or backpacking… Backpacking x bahaya ke?

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  7. I will be in Busan in October. Can you name any halal restaurants that served local food and how to get there? Preferably near Busan station because I stayed in Busan Inn. Thanks.

    • Hi, Shasha..
      Based on my Google-ing skills, here is the list:-

      – Kebab House at 30-1 Geumjeong-gu Namsandong, Busan.
      – Sangam Restaurant at Sasang-Gu 532-2, Gwaebeop-dong, Busan
      – Wazwan at Busan-siGeumjeong-guJangjeon 3(sam)-dong
      – Pak Asia Halal food at 532-26 Gwaebeop dong Sasanggu, Busan

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  14. Salam.. i wanna ask u.. can we eat any ice cream sell in store.. n i really wanna try bungeoppang ice cream.. we can eat that right.. ive searching in many korean food review website , fb.. but they never made a review on bunggeoppang ice cream yet..
    Thanks! 😃

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