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.
I love Mexican food. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up in California. California is basically Mexico, northern Mexican. Living is Korea can get frustrating if you love Mexican food. First of all the so called Mexican restaurants in Korea leave out certain ingredients. Cilantro and lime. These two key ingredients are lacking in most Korean tacos and burritos.
We are in Seoul, South Korea. Don’t see a lot of Mexican faces here. I get it. It’s different from Mexico…errr….California. But i don’t even expect real Mexican food. I would gladly settle for Tex-Mex style food like Chipotle. I love Chipotle. There are a few Chipotle clones here in Seoul. But they don’t come close in taste. I’ll talk about Tomatillo and Grill5 here in this blog post.
Tomatillo in Seoul has the look of Chipotle. The interior of the one at Gangnam Finance Center is basically a poor man’s version of Chipotle. They just need to slap some Native American art figures (made of steel and wood) up on the wall. But the taste is something different. Considering that we are in Seoul, the chicken burrito that i ordered wasn’t half bad. Wasn’t that good tho.
Grill5 in Sinsa dong seemed like a nice little Mexican restaurant. I walked in with mild to semi-high expectation. The restaurant was packed. It was Sunday around 5pm. Galosookgil is always packed. Anyway, i walked up to place my order and i saw 8 guys working in the back. Nice. They are going to wrap up my burrito real fast right? Wrong! I waited like 8 minutes for my burrito. And the thing was tiny. Did i order half a burrito? Nope i paid 11,000 won for a whole burrito and a cider to wash it down. The burrito was wrapped in aluminum foil. Check. I open it up and take a bite. The fuckin thing is cold. Nuff said about this place. They should take the “grill” out of the restaurant name. Just called the place 5.
Well if you haven’t guessed out of the two, i pick Tomatillo.
I’m too tired after this rant to write a positive review of a good Mexican restaurant in Seoul. I will review some other places later.
When i was a little kid, i didn’t really like patbingsu. Same goes for deonjang jjigae. But now as an adult, i love them both. Patbingsu is a shaved ice dessert with sweet red beans and condensed milk. Don’t really know the history behind patbingsu, but I’m thinking it’s at least a few hundred years old. Give or take a few hundred years.
Anyway, Mealtop is different from the patbingsu that you may have tried. When i first tired it, i thought it was a great idea. Genius even. Why not shave the ice into super small pieces. It’s almost like ice cream. So smooth and creamy. You wouldn’t think that it was shaved ice.
Mealtop serves different kinds of patbingsu. But if it is your first time, try the original patbingsu. These delicious treats are only 6 bucks a pop. I’ve been to the one at Hyundai Department store in Apgujeong dong and the one in Mokdong Hyundai Dept. store. If you go to the Apgujeong one, plan on waiting a while. The place is always packed with ajumas.