FOOD TOUR! by O’ngofood.

October 8th, 2014

maybe it is a little weird that I am actually participating in a tour while actually being here for my 3rd year now.

it isn’t any tour though. it is a FOOD TOUR. wait.. what? does a tour like this even exist?

YES!!!

many people participate in this tour because their friends told them what a blast they had. and I was there to find out!

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so for all the foodies like myself who love going for the local food and also cooking classes to learn how to make authentic Korean dishes! not just Kimchi, but something that’s actually filling. as for myself, I attended the night dining tour =3. I would love to try everything! given if I have time too. T_____T. see how much I am contributing to write all these posts for you people?

well you might think a food tour isn’t needed but it was a really good experience which I’ll never have without going for this tour and I think it’s a small price to pay for such great happiness and experiences.

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although I only participated for the night dining tour, my tour mates whom had participated on the morning cooking class told me how fun it was! and it makes me want to join them sometime too! above’s the kitchen! I’ve participated in a few cooking classes back when I was in Yonsei and I’d take a chance every single time to participate despite having to pay (after paying that expensive school fees!!! we still had to pay!).

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so my tour began at 6pm but I reached a little earlier so that my other tour-mates wouldn’t have to wait for me =3. it was nothing complicated coming to this place. just take exit 4 from Anguk station, walk straight for about 5 minutes and turn left when you see some overhead building on your right. and O’ngo academy is right opposite Prince Hotel!

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so we started our tour with BBQ. although I know where to go for good meat and all, I had never been to such an enjoyable place which had it all. the environment, the food.. everything complete.

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the wide array of side dishes/banchan was amazing. they even had my favourite pickled squid! you don’t get to eat that often in many places because it is one of the more expensive banchans. =S.

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they had two sets of banchan to feed 5 of us! how generous! that “ssamjang” or beanpaste sauce here was super special. they had nuts in it! so it’s pretty chunky and very yummy! definitely one of a kind. first time seeing it after living here for so long!

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and here’s our beef BBQ yum yum yum.

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our tour guide of the day, Jemma, explaining about the Korean culture, the food, how we eat them, why they are named that way and etc. I got to learn so much from her! and in this picture, she was making us some Korean shot drinks! after turning into an alcoholic here, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this drink.

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so it is called sweet after bitter. half a shot of coke, a shot of soju and filled with maekju/beer. you have to down it like how a Korean would! ONE SYAT ONE SYAT! (one shot, I mean. hehehe)

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CHEEERS! what a way to start a dinner. but I must emphasize how it helped us in bonding. we turned into instant best friends by the end of the dinner.

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cheers selfie =D. they don’t accept super big groups but I was happy with the number of my group. just enough to get to know each other well!

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how I like my SSAM (wrap) to be. and the chili that’s not in frame. that pickled squid was the bomb. literally. LOVEEEEEEEE!

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we then headed on to our next location. at first when she told me we’re going to have Ddeokbokki, I was like… meh.. I had that way too many times since it is a common street food. but to my surprise, Jemma brought us to a quiet alleyway and we found ourselves in a place where there was no foreigners spotted despite being in the foreigner filled Insadong area. well why that place was special.. read on!

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we then started out second feast with a shot of “meihwasu”. I’d like to call it the girly soju but it’s actually plum wine!

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and here’s my table’s Ddeokbokki!!!

so errrr….. wait. isn’t ddeokbokki supposed to be red?

yeap. but according to Jemma, in olden times the royalties would like to have snacks too but the colour red was not allowed for their food. so they had to change their ways of making this amazing street food into a royal banquet. which is why this dish is called the Gungjung Ddeokbokki 궁중떡볶이 which translate to royal ddeokbokki.

don’t worry, you’re not lacking in Korean food education, even I myself have never heard of this before. even my Korean American friends when I told them about it!

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the dish was actually pretty simple. they had ddeokbokki with fish cakes, mandu and beef. but there’s something in the base where it made it sweet and addictive. I am actually craving for some of these right at this very moment. it was so yummy.

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Jemma and Jaime’s table had the seafood ddeokbokki! those aren’t pasta by the way, they are chewy Korean noodles! made out of.. sweet potatoes? this one’s more basic but special because of the seafood.

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so the sweetness (normally ddeokbokki ain’t sweet!) from the ddeokbokki sauce here is made out of fruits and it’s all au naturale~ ^^.

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we then headed to this street called “west pimatgol” which reads as seopimatgol in Korean. apparently it was one of the oldest foodie street back in the days and people riding horses have to park their horses somewhere else and come here just for food. there’s a history behind it. attend the tour and get to know more about it!

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she then walked us to an even more narrow alley and we found ourselves in one of the rarest things I’ve seen in Seoul. a Pojang-Macha.

remember when you watch Korean dramas, they’d dine outside at some tent restaurants? well they still have it as a small scale and you can see it if you go to none touristy areas. but in the all developed areas, it’s like a penguin in the dessert.

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firstly, drinking and eating in a pojang-macha/tent restaurants is a part of the Korean culture but the country is trying to get rid of it for a silly reason that it downgrades the country. but we foreigners love it. because many of us would rather go to these cute tent restaurants than to dine at a fancy Italian restaurant when we visit Seoul.

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hello Bradley! I really did made some cool new friends from this!

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look how cool the tissue roll is hanging from above. very convenient haahah.

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the menu’s all hand written and it can’t be any cooler.

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so the guy on the picture actually had his hand held up like what I’m doing except there was nobody beside him hehe. meet Jaime. I rarely met anyone from America with the same name as me who’s a girl! so we were really glad to have found each other hahaha. although with a different spelling, it’s still a huge coincidence!

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as for our third meal, we had Dalg-bokkeum-tang. Jemma explained everything so well it’s all in my head hahaha. I was wondering what’s the difference between Dalg-dori-tang and Dalg-bokkeum-tang. and she clarified it all for me. they are the same. the name changed for many places because dori is Japanese and some Koreans just.. don’t want a Korean dish to be associated with a Japanese name.

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Jaime said she didn’t like taking pictures. but I think she look beautiful in every one of them! no?

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with our Magnae (youngest of the group!) tourguide!

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so here’s Bradley, Christina, myself, Jemma and Jaime doing the “rawr” gesture. because we think it is sexy! hahahaha. Bradley and Christina’s actually touring around many countries for their honeymoon! super envious. and their friends whom had their honeymoon and had participated in this tour recommended this amazing tour to them =3. Jaime was recommended by her friend who enjoyed it as well. although none of my friends participated in this, I was lucky enough to stumble across it and be part of the group =3.

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another selfie! we were all really chatty and we got so carried away that we missed the opening hours of that gorgeous Patbingsu place Jemma wanted to take us to. but she already have an alternative plan plotted out!

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and that is… *drum rolls*…. green pea pancake! or Bindaeddeok! that pancake you eat on a rainy day because the frying sound of it sounds like the rain. Korean logic. but it goes amazingly well with Makgeolli. one of my personal favourite Korean eating habits. I love it more than chicken and beer. I just love my green pea pancake and makgeolli the best=3.

I’ve actually wrote about this place before one my Gwangjang Market post. and my 19 years older Korean senior from my uni told me how this place is the best of the best in the Market. even Tim Burton came here!

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my tour ends here and it was quite a bittersweet moment as we had to part after having so much fun and getting to know each other. but all the best to your honeymoon and work my new friends!

AND ALSO, if you’re Muslim and is sad because you think you can’t participate in such a tour. fret not because.. this tour is all personalized and they actually have another set of restaurants set for our Muslim friends! being Malaysian, I care a lot for people of other races and cultures so.. I asked and I’m glad I did.

well, they have many tours as well so check them out at www.ongofood.com

OR

fill in the form below!

if you register on their website, I’d be grateful if you would mention my website as your referral if you ever do sign up!

I am also very attracted to their Running Man tour which is held from Jeju to Seoul! it looks super interesting and it is one of their upcoming tours!

FINALLY, I’d also like to thank Daniel Gray, the Korean food critique, radio radio personality and power blogger of www.seouleats.com, for this amazing opportunity to try this tour out!

Cooking Mate, Hongdae

October 3rd, 2014

for those who watch Korean dramas, this Italian restaurant have appeared in an episode of “lets eat” which I really liked because I loveeeeeeeeee eating. as you might’ve already known. teehee.

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located in the middle of Hongdae, near Club Cocoon, this place is super easy to find. very convenient.

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the interior was really pretty though. kitchen concept.

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a very good place for dates though. over looking Hongdae and pretty white concept!

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there was quite a range of Pasta’s and Pizza’s and they were illustrated with a drawing showing what’s in there which I thought was really creative. apparently, this store uses good ingredients hence it’s kind of like a healthy good quality restaurant.

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the pasta’s were around 14,000won. definitely not cheap.

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but the coolest thing about this place is.. you can charge your phone by just putting it on the table! how cool is that!!!

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there’s this envelope with mouthwash and other stuff. but really, a mouthwash?! they got you all prepared to stay fresh even after you dine there!

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hungry Jamie.

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AND THE FOOD ARRIVED!

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curry pasta. I took a bite of my friend’s pasta and it was goooooooooood. I didn’t know curry and pasta go together.

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prune gorgonzolla pizza. okay. this. is. weird. I like the prunes. by itself. and I like the gorgonzolla.. by itself too. the combination made the prunes out power the cheeziness of the pizza and really all I could taste was the prunes which was good but.. not exactly a good match. so what happened was I ate them separately after hahaha. I guess this appeals to Korean taste buds.

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my passion fruit drink. decent.

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and the famous Hedgehog Pasta!!! this was pretty good really. the bread soaked in the pasta got.. soggy but other than that it was all good! although it was 14,000won. for the presentation, the location and the ambiance, it was quite reasonably priced. if you wanna bring a girl out on a casual date? you know where to go to now.

oh, there was actually a few tables of people who looked like they came for a sogaeting (blind date set up by friends) and that was pretty funny hehehehehehehe.

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I LOVE this spoon. it’s sold at artbox! but restaurants and cafes just love using them. so cute right?!

New Years Day @ Fushimi Inari

September 26th, 2014

if you’re in Japan on December 31st, you MUST visit a temple/shrine. it isn’t exactly what all Japanese people do but I can guarantee you a huge crowd. in fact, I headed over to Fushimi Inari, my favourite geisha shrine. okay, it isn’t a geisha shrine but I call it that because it came out in “memoirs of a geisha” and I loved that scene a lot.

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we arrived around 4-5am on the first of January and half the stores were closed but you can imagine how crowded it was the night before. I wanted to go for the new years eve festival too but I chose to watch the first sunrise. it is similar in Korea too, where Koreans travel to the most Easten side of Korea to watch the first sunrise of the year.

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some random store. the food at festivals are really good. no idea if it is because I was in a festival mood or maybe because there was a lack of food and everything just tasted so good. but they are also much more expensive =(.

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see how most of the stores are already closed? there are less people too.

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alright, so I was really tired and I couldn’t hike up anymore. and this was literally my sunrise. with no sun. it was just like the whole sky lighting up. =S. there was a crowd of people behind me ahaha I was lucky to capture a shot of the peaceful Kyoto without anyone blocking me in front.

but it was rather misty that morning so.. =S.

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since I am Chinese, I really shouldn’t wear black on the first day of the year. but oh well, at least I had some red elements! I continued hiking and made hiking up Fushimi Inari my first new years resolution. hahahahha. stopped by at this stop to have eggs dipped in salt.

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I just love how the stores there are. very peaceful and Japanesey. and pricey =(.

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you know you’re halfway through when you see a lake. not in this post but you can see another Fushimi Inari post I had posted.

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I actually recommend you to take the way most people take to come down and not some random other way because it is not as pretty. as you go up, the tori’s will get further and further apart and it will also get steeper and difficult to hike if you have no stamina like me.

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well I made it to the top but.. I didn’t take any pictures there because the peak was.. sort of like a cemetery. not very appropriate. but I made it to the the peak of Fushimi Inari so my first new years resolution was checked on the first day!

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and on my way down.. it was around 9am and it was getting bloody crowded again. but I love being with people. make me feel less alone. =D. I was there with a friend so I liked it. but if you’ll be going there alone, you might want to invite a friend or two from your guesthouse/dorm or just look for some local friends to mingle around with!

Sinchon’s Famous ONE WHOLE CHICKEN! 공릉 닭한마리

September 23rd, 2014

공릉닭한마리 or Gong-reung-dalg-han-mari is said to be one of the yummiest of its kind! located in Sinchon, this famous place is actually pretty secluded and difficult to find. actually, most dalghanmari’s are hahahahaha. no idea why.

Japanese people especially frequents this place a lot and it was my Japanese friend whom had introduced me to all the famous Dalghanmari restaurants.

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but don’t worry because I’ve got you covered. I’ll provide you directions on how to get to gong-reung-dalghanmari. it is actually located in the middle of Sinchon and Edae but let me tell you how to get there from Sinchon instead since it’s nearer!

SO, get out from Exit 3 of Sinchon Station (line 2/green line). then, walk straight and turn right on the first right turn you find. it’s quite a small road but just walk all the way straight and you should be able to see buildings like the picture above.. it isn’t that difficult to find actually but because it is rather secluded so…

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here’s how the entrance look like!

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the Dalghanmari here is 1,000won cheaper than the one in Dongdaemun and is in my opinion, more delicious. it is kind of different. not sure how to express it but the one in Dongdaemun is much more famous. I guess people who prefer a sourish kind of sauce will prefer this one.

they state that it’s 19,000won for 2-3 people right? don’t trust them. unless you order noodles or is a small eater, you need 1 and a half for 3 people. because it is just THAT yummy. and yes, it’s possible to order half a portion for this store.

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the interior. nothing special. just like an ordinary Korean restaurant. and you sit on the floor!

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here it is! look very bland does it? but it’s not this pot that matters to me..

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is the sauce. look pretty.. disgusting? well I am salivating as I write this post. the sauce here is THE BOMB. only flaw is that they do not have all the ingredients on the table so that you can make as much sauce as you want like the dalghanmari store in Dongdaemun but the one here is YUMMAYYYY. they have different sauces and I guess that’s how they differ to me.

 

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their Kimchi’s really good too. similar to the one in Dongdaemun.

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it wasn’t my first time there and just look at the look of happiness on my face =3.

that’s how good it was. I cannot guarantee that it’ll taste as good as when I went there but it was good every time I was there.

 

Fat Cat in Gion.

September 22nd, 2014

for the first time in forever my blog, an animal post. hahahhahahaha.

I’ve never really liked cats.

I’d scream and yell if there’s a cat near me. I especially hate how their tails touch my leg.

and also when I slept over at a friend’s house in Korea whom has 3 cats and woke up with cats sleeping around me AND blood stains on my face (the cats scratched and walked all over me pfft). oh the door was closed. somehow the cats managed to open the door via the handle wtf.

I don’t know since when but cats DO seem adorable to me now. I still love dogs more but I start to think cats are really cute creatures. especially this fat cat I bumped into in Gion, Kyoto.

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apparently this cat was kind of famous in Gion. locals recognizes it! it was soooooo fat. and it kept rolling around.

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like KYAAAAAAAAAAA.

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just too cute.

here’s a video of it rolling! sorry for the ending part because I dropped my DSLR and my heart shattered T_T.

enjoy!

Gusto Taco, Sangsu/Hongdae VS. Vatos

September 14th, 2014

travelling in Korea but is sick of Korean food already? or have you been here too long that you’d like something else?

well, how does Mexican taco’s sound like to you?

recommended by Koreans who had lived in Latin America themselves, Gusto Taco is as close as it can get to the original ones in Mexico.

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located near Sangsu Station exit 1, this place isn’t difficult to find at all. just walk straight amongst the row of cafe’s and restaurants and you’ll definitely see it!

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no doubt Gusto Taco is awesome as it is also the top rated Mexican food in Korea according to Trip Advisor!

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the outdoor view had a really nice atmosphere. really liked it. cozy and romantic =D.

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whereas it’s just very casual and pretty inside.

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we ordered a plate of Nachos with amazing cheese and other yummy Mexican style toppings. =D. don’t remember the exact price but taco’s in this shop ranges from 9~23 thousand won.

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meet my oppa! Kemal! (and the white guy smiling at us behind!) he’s so famous the white guy sitting beside us recognized him and asked him if he works at XXXXXXX store and said he’s actually well known amongst foreigners as the “foreigner who speaks Korean really well.” so proud to have such a famous friend! hehehe. Kemal used to sit beside me in class when we attended Yonsei Korean Language Institute and he had always taken good care of me in class =3. blessed to have such a lovely friend. oh! he probably writes better than me in Chinese. such a multilingual Turkish guy!

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and here comes our tacos! ordered beef. it was SO GOOD. you can add extra chilli sauce if you want to if I’m not wrong. so so so so so good U_U. the nacho’s was good enough but you MUST try their taco’s. I kind of like Vatos’ creative mix but this is yummy in another way. I had never been to Mexico so I’ll never know what’s authentic but this seems to me like the authentic version. while Vatos’ tacos are good because they have a Korean twist and it’s special like that.

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look! look how yummy it is! it’s quite pricey considering how it DOESN’T fill up your stomach. taco’s here costs around 6~7thousand won.

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a closer look!

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similar to Vatos, they sell Coronarita here. it’s a mix between Corona and Margerita. my biggest disappointment is that they served us Coronarita with NO SHAVED ICE. I mean, I understand that their machine was broken that day but they could’ve refunded us instead if serving us something that even I didn’t want to take a picture of. =/. but as for the taste it still tastes good.

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sorry for the blur picture but I just wanted to show you how the other side look. the whole place is pretty filled with foreigners but Koreans who value great Mexican food end up coming here too!

Gusto Taco’s website : http://gustotaco.com/

and now,

VATOS.

almost everyone’s favourite but with a Korean taste in it. it is slightly more expensive Gusto Taco’s and also a little smaller in portion for the tacos but great quality.

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I personally liked the design of the restaurant. they have one in Itaewon, one in Garuso-gil (above Giordano) and another one in Galleria’s food court. every table is served with free.. chips? with some salsa sauce. but what I really liked was the peach margerita (I think. whatever it was, it’s peach and it has an alcohol version.) WITHOUT alcohol. it was cheaper without the alcohol but the original price was 14,000won. they also have a super wide range of drinks (you can check it on their website) and drinks where they pop bottles of beers into a huge glass of ice blended margerita.

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their famous menu is the Kimchi Fries. indeed very yummy but not as worthy when you come to think of it. it’s priced at 12,000won. some of my friends think that it’s over rated but it was really good to me U_U. but of course, I wouldn’t want to pay so much just for fries. (this place is meant for working class adults hahaa)

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here’s their prawn taco’s. pretty tiny? I can chuck them into my mouth like ssam (meat and other food wrapped in lettuce/vege) and chew them in one bite if I want to. but they are so good I’d just eat them bite by bite.

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my personal favourite from Vatos would be the Galbi tacos. if you’re going to visit Vatos, make sure you order these yummy Galbi tacos! the Korean fusion is so perfect you’ll be craving for more!

the taco’s here are 7,000won for two and 9,000-10,000won for 3. quite expensive for such tiny tacos? oh well, they taste good!

here’s Vatos’ website : http://vatoskorea.com

verdict? I liked both Gusto Taco and Vatos but Vatos is definitely on the higher end side (and I just can’t get those galbi taco’s out of my mind!) and something you’ll only be able to find in Korea. but Gusto Taco’s more pocket friendly and tastes amazing. we all know how far Mexico is and personally, I don’t enjoy taco bell. so Gusto Taco would be one of the places you can go to when you have your Mexican food cravings! I’d go to Vatos more often if only it was cheaper.