Panda Express Opens a Store in Seoul!

panda-express-in-seoulI just got done eating my 3 entree combo from Panda Express. I got me some half and half, fried rice and chow mien. Orange chicken. Beef and broccoli. And Garlic chicken. It was so good. I brought it home so I could finish watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” before the Apple Keynote comes on. When I was living in the states, Panda Express was a regular visit for me. I’m super excited to have this as an option in Seoul. Anyway here are some photos and details of the just opened Panda Express in Seoul!

panda-express-seoul-entreesPanda Express opened its first restaurant in the B1 food court area of Myeongdong’s Lotte Department Store. It opened Sept 3rd. They are planning on opening a 2nd store in the Suwon Lotte Department store soon. The menu has pretty much everything you would find at any Panda Express in the USA. Prices are a lot higher. 1 entree combo was 7500 won, 2 entree combo was 9500 won, and 3 entree combo set me back 12000 won. Beef and Seafood will cost 1200 won extra.

panda-myeongdongThere was a line when I arrived. About 30 Korean Americans were waiting to get served. I got in line and could hear English dialogue. (“So excited” “Now all we need is In N Out”) Local Koreans were asking people in line what this was. (“is this a famous restaurant?”)

Panda-express-seoul-lotteI talked to the manager there. They had three teams. One spoke Mandarin or Cantonese, another spoke English, and the rest of the staff Korean. I’m thinking the Chinese speakers were from corporate. And the English were the trainers. I spoke with the Manager and it appeared that they were doing everything legit. They explained to me that the main items will taste the same. The main item being orange chicken. The rest might taste slightly different because they are using local ingredients. But from what I tasted, it all tasted the same.

panda-seoulBefore writing this post, I did some digging but didn’t find any official website to link to the new Seoul Panda Express. So I figured that I’d write a post with location and photos and everything.

Hungry Seoul Food and Life in Korea

Kimtaehee-songseungheon-hungry-seoulI started this blog way back in 2011. I originally started this blog to support a project that I started with a few college buddies. We wanted to create a Yelp for Seoul. Unfortunately that project got trashed long ago. But this blog survived. I’ve been neglecting this blog for a long time. I’ve received a couple of negative comments because I don’t update and because I tend to go off on a tangent. To those critics, I say blogging is hard. I should know because I’ve been blogging since 2007. And blogging without any traffic is crazy hard. And blogging without getting paid, that’s just stupid. But I still do this because I enjoy it. So get off my back!

I’m updating now because I logged back in earlier today and discovered that I got a few comments. And my traffic levels got a nice bump from Lonely Planet and other sources. Got me inspired to blog again. I also have to apologize for not replying to comments and emails.

And, I just visited the newly opened Panda Express in Myeongdong Lotte Department Store. That will be my next blog post above.

In N Out burgers again in Seoul!

It appears that the good folks over at In N Out are doing another market test in Seoul. 541-4 Garosu-gil Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul is the location. Feb. 27 11am-3pm. That last time In-N-Out did this, they sold out quick. By far the best burgers ever, In N Out burgers are fresh, simple, and just plain delicious. Check the flyer out for more info. Whatever they are doing, it’s a great Seoul marketing event.

Vatos Urban Tacos pricey but good

It’s pretty hard to find good Mexican food here in Seoul. I’m from California so i needs to get my Mexican fix every once in a while. This was a problem for me when i first started this blog. But i think i found my go-to Mexican joint.

Vatos Urban Tacos is a fusion Mexican restaurant located in Itaewon. They used to run a small hole in the wall establishment, but now they are huge. The story of how Vatos started is really interesting. Three regular guys saw that there wasn’t any good Mexican places in Seoul. So they saved up, researched, and went for it. You can check out the about us page for more info. They we’re pretty creative with their digital marketing efforts. Visit the kickstarter page and you will see what i mean.

Anyway, if you decide on going to Vatos, here are my recommendations.

1. Start off with some fresh chips and salsa. 2,000 won isn’t cheap. The first basket of chips and salsa is free. But you have to fork over 2 bucks afterwards. They should actually give free refills, but whatever, it’s pretty good.

2. The kimchi carnitas fries they have are very tasty. Fries. Kimchi. Meat. What’s not to like? This will set you back $10,000 won.

3. I recommend getting the Corona-a-rita to wash down the apps. 14,000 won.

4. Chili lime shrimp tacos are real good. Actually all of their tacos are solid. If you like Korean style fusion tacos, you’ll most likely enjoy these.

5. Skip the quesadillas. Not good and waste of money.

6. The burritos are pretty good but they are really small. So i’d much rather recommend getting a bunch of tacos.

Sorry for the lag in blog posts. I’ve been pretty busy lately. But i’m gonna try to keep posting on a regular basis again. I have a lot of restaurants reviewed in my head. And a lot of yummy photos. Just need to stop being so lazy and write and publish these posts. I think i’ll start doing posts as i’m in the restaurant. I’ll try posting right from my iphone.

New life north of the river Han

Hey guys. It’s been a while since my last blog post. I’ve been busy with a growing baby and i recently moved my fam to DBICD. That’s Dong Bu Ichon Dong for you layfolks. This is the neighborhood that i wanted be in. I think it’s a great place to raise a little kid. I also love the tiny Japanese style restaurants here. So much variety and so close to Itaewon!

I’ve also been busy setting up a new business with my wife. Hard to blog about food with so many things going on. And most of you non bloggers might not realize this, but blogging is super time consuming. It’s hard to keep posting. I have a lot of pictures on my iphone of new Korean Restaurants i visited but it’s hard to sort through it and get the post up. Especially with the new move. New school for the baby. New everything.

If this blog had a lot of readers, i might be forced into writing more. But with almost zero comments and my traffic at an all time low, im lacking motivating.

But, i’m a true blogger. I’ll start posting up some deliciousness soon. Thanks for reading my blog at hungryseoul.com.

Also, i was thinking about writing about non food, non restaurant related topics. Living in Korea in 2012 is no joke. A lot of things going on. Entertainment, politics, social causes, etc. I’ll spit out some opinion posts or rants about these things aswell.

Little Tokyo in Seoul

Koreans have a hate but respect relationship with the Japanese. They hate because of the atrocities that occurred during the Japanese occupation. But they look up to Japan’s rapid modernization and economic growth. Anyway, this blog is not about politics, history, nor international relations. It’s about Food. Stop that jibber jabber and talk about Restaurants in or around Seoul.

One of my favorite places to visit is Itaewon for obvious reasons. Itaewon is ghetto but it’s a great place to grub. For visitors of Seoul, Itaewon is like a home away from home. They have a lot of non Korean restaurants that are quite good. Better than anywhere else in the city anyway. Most visitors don’t know that that is a place called Dongbu Ichon Dong just a few block from Itaewon. Dongbu Ichon Dong is called the “Little Tokyo” of Seoul. This little strip of land in Yongsan-gu contains a plethora of eateries. The restaurants are all tiny. The variety is awesome. And you can find some really awesome Japanese restaurants.

I’ll probably write a lot of posts about the restaurants in this area later on. My wife’s sisters all live in Ichon Dong so we dine here quite often.

I Don’t know exactly why Ichon dong is called Little Tokyo. It doesn’t really resemble or have a Tokyo vibe. Maybe it’s because a lot of Japanese people live here. Maybe it’s because it’s close to the Military base. It’s not because of the Japanese restaurants. They have a few good ones, but it’s not like it’s filled with Japanese restaurants. You can probably find more Japanese restaurants in other area of Seoul.

But the restaurants are all tiny. It’s common to see restaurants that only seat like 10 people in Ichon Dong. Because these restaurants are tiny, you will find a whole mess of them. That’s what i like most about Ichon Dong. So many restaurants jam packed next to each other. It’s a diner’s dream. The only problem is that it’s a pain in the ass to get to Ichon Dong.

This post is rambling on without me mentioning anything about a particular restaurant. Oh wells, i’ll save that for another post.

Find Restaurants in Seoul at shikdang.com

One of the biggest problems about Seoul is that it really isn’t Foreigner friendly. Nobody really speaks English. Some do but you can’t really understand what they are saying because of the thick accent. All the signs are in Korean too. What’s an English speaker to do? For food lovers it’s especially hard to navigate the ocean of restaurants here in Seoul Korea.

There is a new website called shikdang that is trying to help out people like me. Shikdang.com lets you list, rate, and review restaurants in Seoul. The site is starting to grow and it seems that they are hard at work. I spoke with the admins of shikdang and they are currently working on a new iPhone app as well. We will see if they can bring a useful restaurant locator app to the Korean market.

If you need some help in finding restaurants in Seoul, visit Shikdang’s website.

Wish they had pinkberry in Seoul

I’m not big on dessert. To be honest, i’d rather eat a cheeseburger for dessert after a good meal. But, sometimes you want to fill you gut with some sugar. Before i moved to Seoul, my wife and i used to live in Chicago. There was this frozen yogurt place we used to frequent called berry chill. I loved that place because the froyo there was tart and tangy. But my first love of yogurt is pinkberry. I’m a purist. I don’t need toppings or anything on the side. Just give me a spoon and a bucket of white deliciousness. So fresh and so tangy. Just seems to melt in my mouth. Wish Korea had pinkberry. They have red mango but its not even close. I read that pinkberry started out as a US clone of red mango. At any rate the clone is a lot tastier.

Hungry Seoul visits the City of Angels

Sup guys, It’s the amateurish Seoul restaurant blogger hungryseoul. I just wanted to give you guys an update on what’s going down here on my end. A few days ago i packed up my wife and 5 month old and arrived at Los Angeles. I will be In LA for the next 3 weeks. We came to insa my parents. They haven’t seen the little one and were super excited when they picked us up at the airport. I plan on maxin and relaxin here in socal. Before the trip, i was on a little diet. I think i lost about 5 kg in like 6 weeks. I’m a few kg aways from my college weight. Woohoo! I didn’t lose the weight to be more pimpish or sexy or whatever. I lost it so that i could gain it back during my trip to LA without turning into a fat pig. I plan on gaining at least 8 lbs or so. Do not worry i will still be sexy.

Anyway i want to keep posting on this blog while I’m in Los Angeles. Keep the google crawlers from neglecting my humble food blog. I’ll post up some sweet ass pictures of the food that i throw in my mouth. (before i throw it in my mouth of course)

I’ll take in the glorious sun and do some mad shopping. And each day i plan on eating out at least twice. I told my lovely moms to not cook for us too much. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but at the same time, i needs to get my eats on. (me speech becomes mas ghetto when me in LA)

I love me some junk food. I love fast food period. So i already ate me some in n out and tommys. I had some panda express and chipotle as well. These are just apps to get me started. I’ll be doing some deeper grubbing after the weekend. Aites y’all, peace and word to the mother land.

Best thing about dining in Seoul, no tip no tax

I was having an interesting conversation with my friend over lunch earlier today. We are both Gyopos and we currently live in Seoul, Korea. My friend was saying that dining in the States is cheaper. I called bullshit! Food is cheaper here in Seoul. Scratch that. Restaurant dining is cheaper in Korea. Food, not so much. Going grocery shopping is a pain on the wallet, especially if you buy a lot of fruit and meat. But, going to a sit down restaurant is super cheap when you compare to the States. In this post I’m excluding fancy westernized restaurants.

Obviously i won the debate. The reason why i won the discussion? The two T’s, Tip and Tax. Restaurants in Seoul don’t know anything about tip or tax. I’m assuming that they lump the tax into the final price. Locals here would go apeshit if they had to pay tax on top of the listed price. And tipping? Doesn’t really exist in Korean culture.

Going to a restaurant in the states will run you about 80-100 dollars. Nothing fancy either. Just your run of the mill date dinner. Cause pasta with drinks and apps will cost about $60. Add the tip and tax and you have 80-100. That’s a lot of money. Here in Seoul, Korea, your average dinner date will only hold you back like 50k won. That’s around $45. No tip no tax!

But, Koreans love to ride the train. Can’t end the night with just dinner. You have to relocate to another place for round 2. 1 cha, 2 cha, 3 cha. This was the argument my friend made. He’s right if you factor in round 2 and 3. But, we were only talking about dinner.

Anyways, i just thought that i’d share a lil bit of Korean food culture with you guys. I will end the post here.