White Day–King Cupcakes

King Cupcake

What is White Day?

Think Valentine’s Day.

The boy buys a girl a few things. Chocolates, movie tickets and flowers are usually a good route. However, I have heard that only candy is given on this day. In any case, a good way to show your affection for your 여자친구 (yojachingu–girlfriend) is to buy her something.

What about something different though?

This year, consider taking your girlfriend to the ultra-romantic destination–Coffee and Cupcakes. The place is as simple as it sounds. They serve an assortment of coffee and a variety of cupcakes.

Their simplicity helps with their product–simple and delicious. You can get many flavoured cupcakes (mocha, cheesecake, carrot cake–just to name a few) that go great with their Americano’s, Cafe Mocha’s and Latte’s.

The location is easy enough to find. Tell your taxi driver Ilgokdong 일곡동 (Google Maps link) Mart ‘n Mart, turn right down the block a few steps and it is close to Oh Ggu Dak 오꾸닭 (a common chicken restaurant in Korea).

IMG_0048 IMG_0049 IMG_0050 IMG_0058IMG_0052 IMG_0059 IMG_0060

 

–ShayM

 

Unexpected Takoyaki

-ShayM

You may have no idea what Takoyaki is.

Don’t feel alone. I had no idea what it was either.

However, it was this understanding of not understanding that made me want to go. As I soon found out, Takoyaki is a Japanese word that means octopus balls. The word itself isn’t as descriptive as it might appear though. Instead of the expected caviar like serving, I was presented with a deep-fried, bread encrusted, cheese covered outer layer with a small piece of octopus meat as the filling.

This was an initial shock to me, but a rather pleasant one.

This particular restaurant, located downtown Gwangju, is a tiny establishment. The total capacity of the place can hold maybe 10 people. Also, don’t mind the waitress bumping your back with her behind…she doesn’t seem to care. There are post-it notes covering the walls, ceiling lights almost touching the tables and the kitchen is located near the front…facing the street. Everything you might expect is certainly different here.

Having said that, the entire experience is really enjoyable. The ocotballs are delicious and the atmosphere is great. You will enjoy your time! Be warned though, the balls are extremely hot!

Save room for all four flavors (original, cheese, spicy and curry).

The small restaurant is located near A Twosome Place, across from a hotel and a Tous Le Jour Bakery. You can find the rough location here:

Spicy Restaurant Review Time!

–Shay M

Koreans love their spicy (맵 다–mebda) food. In fact, when coming here to Korea you will notice that many Korean’s might even boast about their ‘ability’ to eat spicy food. As a spice lover, I felt that their boasting was simply ill-informed and an illusion.

I was wrong!

Recently, I went to a new restaurant in my neighborhood (Yang San Dong). The restaurant served beef and pork dishes on various levels of spiciness. The scale was based on 10 to 100. The hottest level was 100 and 10 was the weakest.

At first, I viewed the scale as a challenge. I wanted to take on the world (the restaurant) and show that I can handle my own. At this point, the challenge grew from surviving the spice to an ill-advised, conceived level of being accepted. I inflated the challenge.

As soon as I inflated the situation, I was sooner humbled by the spiciness of level 50. Actually, humbled is too nice of a word to put it. I was blown away by the fierceness of the fire.

I simply found it to be way to 맵 다 .

Though, during the brief moments of clarity I did enjoy the beef dish (쇠고기 찜) and recommend anyone with a boldness for bravery to try it out!

I don’t recommend levels 30-100! Consider this a warning!

Directions–Tell your taxi driver to go to Yang San Dong Lotte Sooper (sound it as it is spelled). From there, walk away from the 4-way a few blocks, cross the street, and it will be on your right. Look for the logo on the menu. Also, it is directly across the street from Mart.

안녕히가세요!!

 

German Bar–Restaurant Review

Shay Meinecke

Brew Master Song

 

Though talked about before, German Bar is an outstanding way to explore the foreign community while in Korea.

 

 

Once here, you will certainly miss the Western ways of home. German Bar 1 and 2 are both an exceptional place to entertain those missed memories of late night, friendly fun and entertainment. The beer, which varies from a Dunkel, Weisse and Berry Weisse are brewed from Brewmaster Song. He received his diploma from Munich Technich Universitat and knows quite a few things about brewing great beers.

The Dunkel is a light-bodied, dark complexion beer that is both refreshing and satisfying for ‘dark beer’ lovers and ‘light beer’ causal drinkers.

The Weiss is exactly what you would imagine a German Wheat to taste like. The body is light and there is a certain amount of refreshment reminiscent of a ‘banana’.

The Berry Weisse are why people come. This beer offers the same body and taste as the Weisse, but with more of a crisp berry taste that is certainly worth-while on those hot Korean summer days.

All three beers are great for a casual night-out with newly-found friends once in Korea.

Google Map:

View Larger Map

Directions:
From German Bar 1: Walk out of the bar and take a left towards the post office. At the post office (first intersection) take a right. Take your next left and walk straight until you see the German Bar orange sign!

From YMCA: Walk out of YMCA and take a right. At the first intersection take a right. You will see a parking garage and German Bar 2 is directly across from it.

Restaurant Review: Thai Food in Gwangju

By Lindsay Nash

You probably have heard of this place..the Thai restaurant somewhere on the outskirts of town near the Gwangju Airport. Some have ventured out there, some have even found it, but everyone who tries it loves it.

My husband and I ventured out on a recent Friday night to find the place. Bad idea, it turned out, as we were in our car, and the best directions we could find was, “it’s near a pink castle hogwan and says ‘Thai Food’ on the green sign out front.” We got close but we eventually gave up in the midst of Friday night traffic and went back on a Sunday afternoon.

Once we finally found the place we were in heaven: green curry, pad thai, and lots of great options for cheap. The menu is easy to read and offers photos of everything, just in case you’re not sure what to order.

The owners are kind (even holding our baby while we ate) and the small restaurant offers a small selection of Thai ingredients in back (including the very delicious green curry mix).

I definitely recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for something other than kimchi for your next meal. It really brought me back to my visit to Thailand (and if the food doesn’t, the sparsely placed kitschy decor definitely will).

How to get there: Take the subway out to Songjeongri Train station (송정리역). If you come out at the train station, you want to be across the road from the train station, walking along the main road back toward Gwangju.You will turn right after about two blocks and cross over a pedestrian-looking shopping street (though, of course, there are cars). Stay straight over this intersection and the Thai Food restaurant will be on your right with a green sign. (Yes, across from a pink hogwan.)

Awesome Truck hits the streets of Gwangju with L.A.-style Korean tacos

By Whit Altizer

While I was home this summer I discovered the joys of the food truck. These days in the United States, chefs are taking their gourmet skills to the streets in renovated FedEx and bread trucks. You are to check Twitter or Facebook for their location. One can find curry, burgers, crepes, ice cream among other more exotic cuisine on these trucks.

Just months after I got back to Korea, I happily discovered the Awesome Truck on Facebook serving the food truck holy grail: the Korean taco! A Korean taco uses chicken, pork, beef and/or tofu marinated in those wonderful Korean marinades. Imagine the taste of galbi, chicken galbi or bulgolgi mixed with cilantro, cabbage (sometimes kimchi), red onions and cucumber in a tortilla! It is a culinary delight.

For a while their locations were too far away for me. Sangmu, Gwangju Women’s Hospital, Chonnam. My whereabouts never seemed to match up with theirs. But as I sat in a local ex-pat bar one Saturday night, word that the Awesome Truck was just blocks away swept through like wildfire. I quickly made my way toward their location in front of Grand Hotel.

Run by friends Hanul Cho, Kwang-Ho Jang and Jun Hyuk Yang, the Awesome Truck runs like a well-oiled machine. Kwang-Ho usually stands out front spreading the word and taking orders while Hanul and Jun Hyuk work tirelessly within the truck making their delicious tacos and quesadillas.

Hanul spent a while in Guatemala learning Spanish and trying the local cuisine. About a year and a half ago a friend of his got him thinking about opening a Korean taco truck in Gwangju. “We wanted to provide Korea with a different cuisine than what they’re used to,” Hanul said about starting the Awesome Truck, “by providing them with authentic cuisine from Latin American countries with a little flair.” Hanul went to work obtaining a truck and his equipment while honing his skills working at Outback Steakhouse. About a month ago, the three got the griddle fired up, the engine running and the tweets tweeting.

Within 10 minutes my friends and I were eating our tacos. The Awesome Truck offers chicken galbi or bulgolgi beef. The meat has a subtle taste but goes well with the cheese, cabbage and pink Korean salsa that gives their tacos a nice kick. The quesadillas consist of cheese and your choice of meat topped with the Korean salsa. They do justice to the Latin-America-meets-Korea cuisine.

Follow Awesome Truck on Twitter and Facebook and expect to find them between 12 to 2pm for lunch and 5 to 11pm for dinner. Be on the lookout for their new menu items: a burrito, burritos bowl, the awesome hotdog and chicken tomato soup. Awesome Truck does not disappoint.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/awesometruck

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/289197304425011/

Restaurant Review: Bottle

By Emma Dooley

Bottle Cafe and Bistro is an Italian restaurant tucked away on a side street in downtown Gwangju, and thought by many to be the best Italian in town.

Having been there a couple of times now, I have to agree. The menu is extensive and diverse, and includes everything from soups and salads to pizzas and risotto. I have visited Bottle for both lunch and dinner and there are a couple of big selling points.

Their sandwiches are amazing. It is extremely difficult to find a decent sandwich in Gwangju, but the one I had in Bottle was delicious, and made perfect by the fact that it was served on lightly toasted, homemade, wholemeal seed bread. While it was not the club sandwich advertised by the menu, it was still very tasty, using real bacon and a lovely honey mustard dressing.

The salads are not drowned in the yogurt dressing so ubiquitous in Korea, but drizzled lightly in oil and vinegar. In addition to bread, Bottle also makes their own drinks: the lemonade and orangeade are pricy, but to die for. There is also quite a substantial wine list and they even serve the Italian beer Peroni to complete the Italian experience!

Best of all though, Bottle serve homemade desserts, a definite rarity in Gwangju. There are several options, from chocolate brownies to affogato, and they will also make large versions to cater for parties.

Second only to the food at Bottle is the ambience. Bottle is decorated in an eclectic style, full of ornaments and mismatched furniture. It’s a look that could come off as pretentious but, at Bottle, it really works. The staff is friendly and helpful and the service was prompt and attentive. Another bonus is that the entire menu is in English, so ordering is a breeze.

While a meal in Bottle is perhaps not as easy on the wallet as a trip to your local Kimbab Nara, if you want to enjoy simple food, cooked well, in a relaxing setting, then Bottle is definitely worth a visit, whether for lunch, dinner or just cake and coffee.

How to get there: Take any bus going downtown and get off at the YMCA. Walk past Starbucks until you come to a crossroads with a Mini Stop on your right. Walk through the crossroads and Bottle will be on your left, on the second floor, after about 200m.

Details: Bottle is open from 12noon to 1.30am on weekdays and 12noon to 12midnight on weekends. There is free wi-fi. You can contact the restaurant at 062-227-9002

Cost: Lunch: two sandwiches, an orangeade and a lemonade cost 30,000won. Dinner: spaghetti carbonara, roast chicken with risotto, a beer and a lemonade cost 37,000won.

Restaurant review: Gosoo Dak Galbi in Gwangju

By Emma Dooley

Dak Galbi is chicken marinated in a spicy sauce and fried on a grill right at your table. Kimchi, rice noodles and other vegetables are also added to the mix.

Dak galbi is served with dough cakes and various cold vegetables, usually sweetcorn, white cabbage and some radish, as well as rice. I had heard it was delicious and so went in search of a restaurant where I could try it.

Amongst the plethora of restaurants and bars in the Chonnam University Back Gate area, I found Gosoo Dak Galbi. It’s a cheery, colorful restaurant with a great atmosphere, and the food is pretty tasty too!

The menu is limited to dak galbi and its side dishes, but it doesn’t suffer for that. We simply said ‘Dak galbi’ when the waiter came to take our order and hoped for the best. When it arrived, it looked great, sizzling chicken on a hot grill…but where was the rice? Cue an extremely confusing conversation with our waiter, where he kept telling us ‘rice is later’ and we kept saying ‘rice please now’, but it thankfully ended with him bringing a bowl of rice to our table.

We weren’t expecting what happened next: he turned on the grill, split the chicken mixture in half, added hot sauce and water, and started stir-frying the mixture in a most elegant fashion with what looked like two metal wallpaper strippers.

We looked on in amazement, and proceeded to tuck in the second he left the table, wallpaper strippers in hand. In a word, it was delicious. Spicy without being dangerously so, and the side dishes were a perfect accompaniment. You can also order a cheesy chicken galbi and there are various noodle-type side dishes available.

After a few minutes we figured out why ordering the rice was such an ordeal: normal sequence of a dak galbi meal is that you eat the chicken mixture alone first, then someone will come along and fry the rest up with rice for you. Foreigner blooper alert! Luckily the waiting staff is so helpful that our ignorance of dak galbi etiquette wasn’t a problem. The service is quick and with a smile and the place was jam-packed on a Sunday evening.

If you are in the area, make it your business to check this place out!

How to get there: Buses 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 34, 51, 52, 60, 80, 102, 745 stop at the Back (East) Gate
How to find the restaurant: Cross the street from the back gate and turn left, walk past Baskin Robbins and you will see a Paris Baguette on the corner. Turn right and walk up the road. You will find Gosoo Dak Galbi on the on your left hand side after about 200m.
Cost: Dak Galbi for two, a side of rice, a beer and a coke cost 19,000Won

Gwangju’s Kebab Scooter

Say Kimchi News recently had the chance to interview the owner and operator of Gwangju’s most popular foreign mobile food vendor, Carlos Vegas. 
Here is the interview.

Tell us about yourself.
I am from Paterson, New Jersey. I have been in South Korea since Febuary of 2009.

What is The Kebab Scooter?
The Kebab Scooter is a 125cc scooter that I modified into a mobile food cart. I serve traditional style Turkish Doner Kebabs.

When did you start it?
The Kebab Scooter has been a work in progress for over a year now, but I was officially open for business on March 12, 2011.

It seems to be very successful in Gwangju, What do you think is the secret of your success?
I couldn’t be happier with the success that The Kebab Scooter has had. From the first day I opened I had a huge line of foreigners and Koreans alike. I would say the secret to my success is that I use local fresh ingredients along with traditional Middle Eastern recipes that I have picked up over the years. On top of that, I am the only one serving Kebabs and my location is perfect.

Where/when do you usually vend?
You can find The Kebab Scooter outside of Bubble Bar Friday and Saturday nights at around 1a.m. I usually stay out there until everyone has gone home or my meat runs out. Recently, I have started to participate at The Kunsthale Flea Market on the last Saturday of every month, starting at 6p.m.

Do you think this fills a gap in the variety of food offered (or not offered) in Korea?
From my first trip to Seoul, I new that Kebabs were needed in Gwangju. There is no other place in this town to get a traditional style Doner Kebab, so I do believe that I am filling a gap in the food you can’t get here in Gwangju at least.

What are your future plans for the Kebab Scooter?
My future plans are to start catering: parties, meetings, and events. I am currently putting together a catering menu that would provide everything needed for parties of 20 or more.

What’s on your menu?
My menu is really small but very delicious. On the weekends, I serve Chicken Kebabs. Recently, I have expanded to selling Hummus and Falafel Mix by the container for everyone to enjoy at in their homes.

Tell us more about your home deliveries.
Since starting to sell the Hummus and Falafel Mix, I decided to offer free delivery with all Hummus and Falafel Mix orders. The Kebabs however must be purchased directly form my stand.

Any plans to expand to other cities in Korea?
I would love to expand to other cities as well as open up more Kebab Scooters here in Gwangju. The ultimate goal would be to open up a small restaurant.

The Kebab Scooter would really like to thank everyone who has helped turn this little hobby of mine into a huge success. I really appreciate all of the love and support that everyone has shown me. It’s your kind words and continuous support that keep me coming back every weekend.

To invite The Kebab Scooter to an event or funtion, place Hummus or Falafel orders, place a catering order, or just to keep up with how I am doing and where I will be next, go to The Kebab Scooter on Facebook. Like my page and become a fan today.

The Funnest, Fastest, and Freshest Food in Gwangju is waiting for you.

Gwangju Restaurant Review: Go Vegetarian

By Whit Altizer

David Byun spreads the vegetarian gospel.

“I am a bit of an evangelist,” Byun confessed while taking a short break to talk about his restaurant, Chayon Chuwe, which literally means “naturalism‟, and to discuss the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
veggie
Byun has been serving delightful vegetarian food in Pungam-dong for more than two years now, but has been a lifelong vegetarian.

“There is so much pollution in the food now,” Byun said. “I serve natural food; it is better for people.”

Chayon Chuwe is a great respite for anyone who has eaten too much galbi and bulgolgi in Korea. Byun offers as much of the all- natural food and non-meat eats you can eat for W10,000.

Byun uses no artificial flavors, eggs or margarine. He cooks the food in natural olive oil and only uses organic vegetables.

Most of their vegetables come from a farm he owns outside of Gwangju. veggie2

Chayon Chuwe is definitely worth the trip to Pungam- dong if you live downtown. As it says on one of its signs, “You are the very blessing” and Byun certainly makes you feel that way when you visit.. “I am just happy to supply healthy food to everyone,” he says with a sincere smile.

veggie coverSome highlights:

Spaghetti: Byun says that the sauce is made fresh daily from organic tomatoes. Unlike the cafeteria school, don’t expect to find Spam in this sauce. Just a great tomato sauce that rivals the Italian‟s version.

Pizza: This is the only dish here that has any dairy in it. Itisa very good vegetable pizza made from scratch.

Non-meat meat: It‟s made with gluten, sunflower and pumpkin types of nuts. If you just have to have something with a meaty taste, you can find its flavor in several dishes, but it never moos.

Smooth tofu: This is a smooth, silky alternative to firm tofu. A great side dish.

Rice cakes:
Byun says they serve about eight different types of rice cakes. These are my favorite in town. They are not too sweet and do not ooze with sugary goo, but definitely act as a great dessert.

Homemade salad dressings:
They have everything from cabbage, tofu, and kiwi to beet dressing for all of those “hard-to-eat” raw vegetables. I mixed grape tomatoes with the kiwi dressing and thought I was eating a fruit dessert. Fantastic.

A vegetarian grocery store:
Just inside the door you can stock up on plenty of vegetarian goods such as flaxseed and honey from Jeju Island. Byun‟s mom even makes an all-natural grape juice.


THE DETAILS
: Chayon Chuwe
Cost per person: W11,000
Location: Pungam-dong, Gwangju
Hours: 12-3 p.m., 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday—Thursday. 12 to 3 p.m. Fridays

Whit Altizer is an American living in Gwangju. E-mail him at wpaltizer2000@yahoo.com.