A Taste Of Home: High Street Market in Itaewon, Seoul

Looking for a taste of home? Try the high street market in Itaewon district of Seoul

Moving to Korea opens us up to a whole new world of food options. In fact, the first month or two is an attack on the culinary senses with restaurant after restaurant lining the neon lit streets serving everything from Korean bar-b-q to live octopus! Korean food is fantastic and there are hundreds of delicious options to choose from that you will never run out of dinner ideas – after over 5 years in the country I am still finding new dishes that I wish I found right at the start!

But… picture this. It’s a cold night in February and the long winter seems to be dragging on forever. Ice covers the sidewalks and your lungs feel as if they have been attacked with razor blades when you take a breath of the freezing air. You’ve just had your first Christmas away from your family and friends and you are feeling further away from home than you’ve ever felt. You crave something that reminds you of home, you lust after an old chocolate bar or sandwich or condiment or potato chip that you used to take for granted… and you can’t find it anywhere!

That’s how things used to be in Korea “back in the day” but now we are very lucky to have a superb option to provide us with that much needed taste of home – High Street Market in Itaewon!

High Street Market in Itaewon offers us foreigners a wonderful option when we are craving home comforts!

High Street Market in Itaewon offers us foreigners a wonderful option when we are craving home comforts!

High Street Market was opened in late 2010 by enterprising foreigners who wanted to provide Korea’s foreign residents with food they missed from their homelands. A recent trip I took to Seoul saw me pop in to the store see what all the fuss was about and I can tell you that I’m glad I went in!

Friendly staff, a huge range of options from cold sliced meats, gourmet cheeses, chocolate / candy and the most important… wine and beers from home! I went a bit crazy and spent more than I should have but the buyer’s remorse was washed away with REAL CHEESE and delicious wine! What I loved about the in store experience was how “homely” it felt – it was almost as if I had left the craziness of Korea and found myself quietly shopping away at home.

Perhaps the best thing about HSM is the nationwide delivery which sees them deliver to anywhere on mainland Korea for just W3,000! (Jeju and other islands W6,000) No longer do people living outwith Seoul need to trek to the big smoke to get their hands on this delicious fare – they deliver it quickly right to your door! Visit their website at High Street Market to view their extensive range of food and beverage options. Their website is fully in English and easy to navigate. If you have any issues placing an order or have any item specific questions, their friendly online support will help you with no hassles.


Store Info:

Hours of Operation : 10:00 AM – 09:00 PM
Shop Telephone : 02-790-5450
Online Help : 02-2201-0652
Fax : 02-790-5457
Address : 2F, 737-24, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
WebsiteHigh Street Market
Email : hsmonline@authenticgroup.co.kr

Getting There:

  • - Take subway line 6 to Itaewon Station, exit 2.
  • - Walk down about 5 minutes until you pass IP Boutique Hotel on your left.
  • - HSM is located on the 2nd floor of the next building.

Korean Tortilla

Korean TortillaWhen you think of tortillas you probably think of Mexican food, as you should. However, and as I recently discovered, Koreans also have their own version of tortillas.

The Korean tortilla I recently ate is called 밀전병(Mil Jung Byoung). It is a wheat tortilla used to wrap a fried pork cutlet and served with vegetables and pork sauce. Of course, the restaurant, Daisy, offers great side dishes as well. Of those, you can get pumpkin soup, a salad, rice and kimchi.

You can find the restaurant in 봉선동 (Bong sun dong) 1071-5 Nam-gu, Gwangju. Their number is 062-671-5673. You can find the exact Google Map directions here.

Go there for a good time. The restaurant is nice, the staff is friendly and the open is exciting. Even though I was at a Korean restaurant, the experience felt more as if I was back home in the States. I had a nice overall experience and recommend this place.

IMG_20130224_191546 IMG_20130224_191813 IMG_20130224_191444 IMG_20130224_191619 IMG_20130224_191611–Shay M


KoreaBites: Food delivery for expats!

By Lindsay Nash

If you’re any thing like me, you LOVE Korean food. And if you’re even more like me, you love it delivered, hot and fresh at your door. But this isn’t always an easy task in Korea. Especially if you don’t speak much Korean.

Well, now, there is a new business—owned and operated by two Korean Americans—that is making it a lot easier for expats to order in.

KoreaBites, owned by Jonathan Yoo Carfield and Daniel Keeyeon Warren, is based out of Seoul. The company, operating on their very user-friendly website, helps expats see menus online, order from them, and have the food delivered to their homes within an hour (if it’s going to take longer than that, they let you know.)

“I moved here from New York City, another city that is a high delivery environment,” Carfield said. “I had everything delivered–groceries, meals, dry cleaning, etc. I know that Seoul is the same. But the language barrier prevented me from doing this.”

So about nine months ago, the two friends came up with the idea of this company. Currently, they only operate out of Seoul. But they work off of demand. This summer, they plan to expand to Daegu and Busan.  And in the future, they’ll work in any city where there is demand.

“We really designed this service for the English teacher,” Carfield said.

The website is self-explanatory. You can pore through menus of both Korean and western restaurants, order online, and have the food at your door soon after.

The service even works for restaurants who don’t typically deliver. KoreaBites uses third-party delivery services to go to the restaurant, pick up your food, and delivery it to your home. They currently have a network of 1,200 restaurants in their system. And, of course, they’re looking to expand.

Already, they have plans to expand their business to help expats do everything from open koreabites1bank accounts (through partnerships with banks), order flowers from flower shops, set up cell phone accounts (they are working on a partnership with Olleh KT), and even work with travel agencies to help expats plan vacations.

“We have already been contacted by several investors who want to expand our business model to other countries,” Carfield said.
Maybe the most interesting thing about this business is that both owners don’t speak fluent Korean (although I’m sure they get by fine!).

They have come up with the technology to translate Korean restaurant menus, offer them in English on their site, and then order in Korean to the actual restaurant.

“And voila! It’s a bit of magic,” Carfield said. “We’re excited about it.”

The company will roll out their marketing campaign next month. They’ve started out small, yet, their website received 6,000 visits last month, with zero marketing.

Make sure to check out their site. There is a place to request your neighborhood to be included in their coverage, as well as a live chat feed, if you ever need any help or have questions.


What: KoreaBites, a company and website offering help to expats who want to order in
Where: Based in Seoul, but currently expanding
Visit the site: http://www.koreabites.com.

Food Review: Bibimbap

bibimbapBibimbap, for many of us, is the first Korean food we eat on our first flight to Korea. At least if you fly Korean Air or Asiana it is.

But, did you know, there are many versions of this dish? There are cities that are known for their bibimbap–that wonderful bowl of mixed vegetables, the occasional beef, fried egg (sometimes raw) and colorful rainbow of healthy ingredients.

It’s no wonder the advertisement on the right showed up in the New York Times recently.

This is a great dish–and foreigner friendly (if you are careful about the amount of gochuchang that goes in there).

While the standard form is usually the most popular,  don’t be scared to branch out and try some other versions. For example, one of the most famous types of the dish is Jeonju bibimbap.

The dish is said to have originated from the local custom where all the leftovers from New Year’s Eve were mixed together in a single bowl. The main ingredient of Jeonju bibimbap is bean sprouts, which grow well in that area. Another main ingredient that makes Jeonju bibimbap unique is the minced raw beef, which also blends well with the other ingredients.

There is a story that people butchered a cow every day for the minced raw beef in Jeonju, even when people were worried about famine due to a bad harvest.

Bean sprouts and minced raw beef are the two main ingredients of Jeonju bibimbap, which was once called “Jeonju Kongnamul Yukhoe Bibimbap (Jeonju bean sprout minced raw beef bibimbap).”

Another secret in the recipe for Jeonju bibimbap is that the rice used is cooked in beef head stew. When you cook rice using beef head stew, the grains are not sticky, but instead mix easily with the ‘namuls’ (sautéed and seasoned vegetables).

Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap, all variations of the above. As people become more interested in the well-being trend, more varieties of the dish are emerging.bibimbab

Dolsot bibimbap is another variation of the traditional dish. It is served in a hot stone bowl in which the rice is cooked, topped with vegetables, seasoned beef soboro, raw egg and mixed with hot red pepper paste. It is also fun, and rather tasty, to scrape off the lightly scorched rice stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

Bibimbap first appeared in a cook book called “Siui jeonseo” at the end of 18th century. There are a variety of views about its origin, such as it was a sacrificial offering, a leftover treat, Donghak Revolutionist meal, a busy farming season meal, royal court cuisine, or a meal while a king was fleeing from the palace.

According to the Hi Seoul website, Bibimbap brought Korean people a sense of unity by throwing a variety of vegetables into one bowl and sharing these vegetables mixed with rice with a bunch of people.

Bibimbap was everyone’s favorite, from palace to hovel.

Restaurant review: Just your friendly neighborhood Korean diner

Picture3On a budget? Join the I-came-to-Korea-to-pay-off-my-debt club.

But there is a restaurant to fit every budget, especially in Korea.

As my students often write, “Let me introduce you to” the budget-restaurant of Korea: Kimbap Nara.

You might hear people refer to places like Kimbap Nara as a Korean diner, but don’t let that turn you off.

They are always clean and tasty and offer a vast menu. The food is also far healthier than the double cheeseburger, fries and hush-puppies back home.

After leaving lunch or dinner at a Korean diner you and your wallet feel healthy (as the average item on the menu rings in at about W4,000.)

Back home, you are looking at a triple bypass for that price.

The dining experience can be quite easy if you know what you are looking for. But, you need to know some basic Korean.

You usually order verbally to the ajumas working in the kitchen. But you can also fill out the menu sheet, which is al-ways written in Korean (see the complete menu decoded here!).

There are pictures on the wall to help guide you, but don’t be afraid to look at the guy next to you to and point. The old fallback.

You can find a Kimbab Nara—or some-thing just like it— in just about every dong in Korea.

Here are a few items you can always find on the menu:

원조 김밥, Wonjo Kimbap—Korea’s California Roll. Your basic radish, ham, egg and rice wrapped in nori. The price for one ranges from W1,000 to W1,500.

비빔밥, Bibimbap, W3,500: A staple. Rice in a silver bowl cov-ered with various veg and gochujang (red chili paste). Carrots, mountain weeds, cucumbers, sprouts, etc.

순두부 찌개, Sundubu Jjigae, W3,500: Sometimes fiery bubbling cauldron of soft tofu, freshly cracked egg, chili peppers, mush-rooms, a couple clams, onions and deunjang (Korean miso) paste.

갈비 탕, Galbi tang, W4,000: Short rib soup with garlic and green onion.

다슬기 해장국, Dasolgi haejangguk, W4,000: Hangover soup, usually made with ox bones and soybean paste and fresh water snails.

떡볶이, Ddokboggie, W2,000 : Sim-mered rice cake (log form) in a sea of spicy pepper sauce with odang (processed fish), cabbage, carrots, onions and leeks.

된장 찌개Dwen-jang Jjigae, W3,500: Sometimes slightly spicy bubbling cauldron of dwen-jeong paste, mush-rooms, onions, clams and tofu.

Whit Altizer can be reached at whit@saykimchirecruiting.com.