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?
many people participate in this tour because their friends told them what a blast they had. and I was there to find out!
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.
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!).
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!
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.
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.
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!
and here’s our beef BBQ yum yum yum.
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.
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)
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.
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!
how I like my SSAM (wrap) to be. and the chili that’s not in frame. that pickled squid was the bomb. literally. LOVEEEEEEEE!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
so the sweetness (normally ddeokbokki ain’t sweet!) from the ddeokbokki sauce here is made out of fruits and it’s all au naturale~ ^^.
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!
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.
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.
hello Bradley! I really did made some cool new friends from this!
look how cool the tissue roll is hanging from above. very convenient haahah.
the menu’s all hand written and it can’t be any cooler.
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!
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.
Jaime said she didn’t like taking pictures. but I think she look beautiful in every one of them! no?
with our Magnae (youngest of the group!) tourguide!
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.
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!
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!
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
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!