Have you ever tried Kimbap?
It’s the Korean version of sushi, although it does not have raw fish like its Japanese counterpart. In fact, the only things in common are the shape, rice (밥), and seaweed (김). All the other ingredients tend to be quite different!
The photo above is that of “Yeonhidong Kimbap”, many people's favourite Kimbap place. It is almost like an ajumma (아줌마), which means "older married woman." kimbap factory because there are usually 3-4 ladies sitting, making and rolling Kimbaps and these huge mountains piling up in front of them!
The Kimbaps in the pile in the far left called are “Yeonhidong Kimbap”, which is also the name of the restaurant. This flavour is actually cheaper (1,500 KRW) than the other flavours (up to 3,000 KRW) which is a pleasant surprise because in general, specialities are more expensive than regular items. Take note, this place is for take-out (포장) only!
You are given wooden chopsticks with your order, which is convenient, but you do not receive any banchan (반찬), which are Korean side dishes. Usually danmuji (단무지), which are bright yellow pickled radishes, are eaten with kimbap. The menu is on the wall and only in Korean. So, here is the translation.
연희동 김밥 = Yeonhidong kimbap (speciality)
꼬마 김밥 = Ggoma kimbap (mini)
오징어 꼬마 김밥 = Ojingeo ggoma kimbap (squid mini) * be careful, very spicy!
치즈 김밥 = Chijeu kimbap (cheese)
산더덕 김밥 = Sandeodeok kimbap (grilled deodeok)
참치 김밥 = Chamchi kimbap (tuna) my personal favourite
장조림 김밥 = Jangjorim kimbap (beef boiled down in soy sauce)
오징어 김밥 = Ojingeo kimbap (squid) * be careful, very spicy!
고추 김밥 = Kochu kimbap (chili)
멸치 김밥 = Myeolchi kimbap (anchovy)
And voila! There it is. This place is worth a try because they have a few flavours that are rarer to find, such as the Jangjorim kimbap (장조림 김밥). Plus, the ladies there are very nice even if it may be difficult to understand each other due to a language barrier.
If you’re in Seoul, you must visit this quaint little Kimbap restaurant. If you spend time in Seodaemun/Yeonhidong (서대문/연희동) area in Seoul, you have the opportunity to try a lot of great restaurants around here. It is about a 20 minute stroll from Yonsei University (연세대학교). Yeonhidong has many popular and favourite restaurants to eat out at for lunch. Seriously. It has some great authentic and delicious Korean foods. Perhaps this is because it is less of a tourist-y area. There is less shopping around here and mainly Korean and some Chinese people live in this area. It is basically homes, businesses and restaurants.
Happy eating :-)
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