Gogung – 고궁 Delicious Traditional Bibimbab

How’s it going guys. Are you surviving this summer? I am not. I am dying. I woke up no less than 10 times last night due to the heat. I hope you’re fairing better than me.

Today we are going back to the roots of Korean food. If you ask a Korean what one food best represents traditional Korean cuisine, likely the majority will say Bibimbab (비빔방). Bibimbab literally means “mixed rice” and is a simple mixture of steamed rice, some meat, a variety of vegetables, and some chili pepper paste (고추짱). Often raw egg yolk is mixed in as well. Though almost any vegetables can be thrown in, typically used vegetables include julienned cucumber, zucchini, daikon, mushrooms, bellflower root, spinach, bean sprouts, and lettuce. Bibimbab can be served both hot or cold.

고궁 or Gogung, the restaurant featured in this post is famous for their… yes, bibimbab. Specifically they feature Jeonju (전주) style bibimbab. Jeonju is a city located in the center of  South Korea and is famous for iteration of this dish. As far as I can tell, Jeonju style bibimbab simply features a more diverse variety of vegetables.

For this restaurant review I was joined by the amazing Alia from Cooking with Alia. Alia has a popular cooking youtube channel, featuring mainly Moroccan inspired dishes so go check it out! Having just moved to Korea for work she contacted me for some food advice. Welcome to Korea Alia!

Alia insisted I need some more photos of myself.

Jeonju Traditional Bibimbab – 전주전통비빔밥 11,000w

This is the vanilla of Bibimbab. Which isn’t a bad thing. I love vanilla. Notice the wide variety of veggies and their magnificent saturated colors. If you’re a pansy you can remove the chili paste. The soup on the side is Bean Sprout Soup (공나물국).

Jeonju Dolsot Bibimbab – 전주돌솥비빔밥 11,000w

This one is very similar to the above, with the only variation that it’s served in a hot stone pot. The stone pot is served just off the stove so that the rice is still popping when it arrives at the tables. This allows the rice rimming the pot to slightly burn, giving it a distinctly awesome flavor and texture. Try to resist mixing everything for a minute to let the rice burn longer. Also this one will be a lot hotter than the above, so be aware that you’re getting a hotter dish. Something especially to keep in mind during this summer. By the way, this summer is murdering me.

They feature live traditional Korean music. This performer seemed bored out of her mind. I can’t blame her. This day must have been her one millionth time playing Arirang.

Two locations! One in Myeongdong, and one in Insadong.

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11-1, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울 중구 충무로2가 11-1
+82 2-776-3211

38 Gwanhun-dong Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울 종로구 관훈동 38
+82 2-736-3211


Nahed El BaouchiAugust 16, 2013 - 6:04 PM


Trip2tripAugust 28, 2014 - 7:40 AM


Le Alaska 르알래스카 – Cute Bakery and Cafe

My friend and ex roommate recently started working at this cute cafe/bakery in Apgujeong so I went to see her the other day. I didn’t know Le Alaska was going to be such an amazing little find. Located nearby Apgujeong’s bougie Rodeo Street Le Alaska has quite a few competitors nearby, but it still can get quite busy during lunch breaks. Apparently it’s got quite a reputation for great sandwiches and pastries. I went somewhat early in the morning and didn’t get to see the crowd, but I did see about 10 girls baking, which was an interesting site. I’ve never been the only person sitting in a place with 10 workers buzzing around.

Alaska Homil 9,500w

My friend recommended the Alaska Homil so I went with that, and my regular drip coffee with milk. The sandwich features turkey, bacon, egg, veggies, and a delicious mayo/olive spread. Highly recommended. Although next time I really want to try the baguette. I’ve been craving baguette sandwiches lately… really badly.

And of course, the pastries. Because I came early I wasn’t able to get photos of their full spectrum. I’ll have to return someday and shoot/eat some more.

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Le Alaska
653-9 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
서울시 강남구 신사동 653-9
Open Daily 9 a.m.-10 p.m.


Hopscotch – AMAZING Gastropub

I never imagined finding a quality gastropub in Seoul. Eating here brought back fond memories of The Linkery in San Diego and Father’s Office in LA. Ahhh, guys, I’m missing America these days. I can’t deny it. I love Korea to death, but I haven’t been on American soil in almost three years and I keep having fantasies of riding my motorcycle up the coast on the 5 Freeway from San Diego to LA. Okay, digression ended.

Hopscotch. In short, this place is absolutely amazing. The food, drinks, atmosphere, music, presentation, even the people in there were good looking somehow. Even the music quality and volume were spot on. I’m very sensitive to music. When working in cafes and restaurants for about 5 years during and after college I was almost invariably in charge of the music and would nazi that thing. The perfect vibe and volume makes or breaks the mood for me. Hopscotch had it just right. Nice upbeat and funky melodies at a volume loud enough to bump your heart, but not enough to deter conversion across a table.

The interior has a modern industrial style design. There are couches on one side , and standard tables and booths on the other. There’s also a small bar near the kitchen but no one sat there and I can imagine no one does. The mood is set from the beginning with the entrance. The only sign is the Hopscotch logo so if you don’t know the logo, you’re SOOL, as I was. Actually my phone was out of commission when I came here and so I looked around for 30 minutes before finally having to find a PC room to message my friend for directions. It turned out that I drove past the place several times and just kept going because I was looking for a sign that said “HOPSCOTCH”. So, please don’t make that mistake, just look for this logo. I suppose they do this to keep it ‘trendy’ and ‘secret’. Bullocks if you ask me, but whatever.

The real highlight of this pub (and any gastropub) is the food. The food here is amazing. It’s pricey, damit, but worth it. I’ll definitely be back on occasions to impress. I must apologize. I normally get photos of the menus so I can have accurate names and prices, but this time I did not. Also, the photos are somewhat lacking in quality because it is remarkably dark in there. Believe me, I have the best photo equipment available, and this is the best I could do without flash and without driving my 4 impatient/hungry friends bonkers. Anyway, on to the food!

Mac and Cheese 18,000w

I would go back just for this. I would give up my first son for a lifetime supply of this. They use four cheeses, and bake it to a perfect crunchy on top. This is not your mother’s mac and cheese. This mac and cheese is not even quite reinvented, but perfected.  I believe there was bacon in there as well. There must have been, bacon makes everything better.

Duck Fries (~13,000w)

Apparently these are really famous for being boiled in duck fat. But to be honest, they didn’t taste much too special to me. They’re good, but didn’t live up to the hype I was hoping for.

Jambalaya (~18,000w)

The jambalaya had hefty portions of sausage, shrimp, and cheese, and was seasoned perfectly. Who knew we could find jambalaya in Korea? However!… And this is a big one, it’s made with pasta instead of rice. Yeah, it’s strange to be honest, but I give them props for nailing the sauce and serving plenty of protein.

Chicken and Potatoes (~20,000w)

Again, I don’t know the exact names or prices, so you’ll have to look it up when you get there. This is actually the one dish that I wouldn’t recommend. It’s beautiful and well seasoned, however the chicken was dry. If the chicken were good, it would be worth it. And to be honest it could have just been an off night. The chicken could have been old and accidentally overcooked, and maybe it’ll be better next time. But everything else was great. Actually the mashed potatoes were AMAZING – perfectly seasoned, plenty of butter. On the other hand, my buddy Dan from Seoul Eats highly recommended this.

Corn and Shrimp Salad (~17,000)

Again, I’m butchering the name. Apologies. By the way, in 2013 why doesn’t a fancy restaurant like this have a website with their menu on it? This drives me insane. Hopscotch doesn’t even have a website, oajsdfkljasdfkla;dsjf. Anyhow, this salad was also good. It’s a bit deceptive though, because it’s 70% corn down there under the top layer of shrimp and asparagus.

Hopscotch serves around 10 micro brew brews on tap, which can be had for 8,000w or 10,000w. On the left here is a pale ale that I was in love with. On the right was a friend’s white ale, which I didn’t like. But I don’t like white ale’s, they’re much to sweet for my palate. They also serve several Craftworks brews. It’s good to see Craftworks getting some well earned recognition and distribution around Seoul. Hopscotch also has several dozen bottled beers, a good selection of whiskeys, a small selection of cocktails, but no wine.

Again, be careful with directions. If you find the Kia dealership walk behind it and make the first left.

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Some more photos available here.

서울시 강남구 논현동 113-20
Seoul Gangnam-Gu Nonhyeon-dong 113-20
Facebook Page

If you go, please let me know how it was in the comments below!


The Hanz Burger – 더핸즈버거 The Best Burger in Haebangchon

Formerly known as Two Hands Burger, The Hanz Burger has consistently been one of my favorite burgers joints in Seoul. Fortunately, it’s located right next to my house. Unfortunately, due to an abundance of western style restaurants in this area, The Hanz doesn’t gets the attention it deserves. I think it tends to get unfairly overshadowed by its neighbor Jacoby’s, but I can’t quite figure out why Jacoby’s tends to garner more customers. Here’s my take on the issue. The difference between Jacoby’s and Hanz are quite slim in terms of quality, but personally I give the nod to the Hanz, and here’s why. Jacoby’s burger’s are simply too massive. “Is there such a thing?” I can hear you asking. Yes, I say. The beauty of the burger is that it offers the perfect balance of each component in every bite. Each bite has some bread, meat, vegetables, and sauce, and the balance it what makes it beautiful. Not once have I had a burger at Jacoby’s that I’ve been able to eat without a fork and knife. Though I’m grateful for the quantity and quality at Jacoby’s, passing that maximum size threshold kills the deal for me. And so, The Hanz gets my vote for the best burger in Haebangchon. Also, I want to add, the ordering system at Jacoby’s is bloody annoying and the burgers take twice as long as they should. Also their servers seem like arrogant pricks. Okay, rant finished.

I can’t speak much for other items on the menu as I always just have the burgers here. If I ever get around to trying something else I’ll update this post later.

Avocado Burger 13,000w

Grilled beef patty, cheese, avocado, onion, mushrooms, lettuce, and tomato. I don’t I really need to say more. Oh, also in this one I added a fried egg for 500w. The ingredients are all perfect. The bun is nicely buttered and is both crispy and soft. It’s not overly buttered, not overly toasted. Perfect. The avocado, as you can see, is perfectly fresh. And the beef is cooked a nice medium, just enough to be slightly pink in the middle. Execution is rock solid. It’s a big burger, but just the perfect size to be able to wrap up in that grease paper and eat it with my hands.

Hawaiian Burger 11,000w

Grilled beef patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pineapple. My Hawaiian friend (now that I think of it, I should have asked her if she ordered it because of where she’s from) had the Hawaiian burger. I didn’t get a chance to try it, but she liked it. Her one complaint though was that the pineapple was too small. Agreed, there’s not much excuse for that.

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The Hanz Burger
Seoul, Yongsan-Gu, Yongsan-dong 2ga 45-10
서울시 용산구 용산동2가 45-10


Shin Seonn Seolnongtang 신선설농탕

Seolnongtang is oxbone soup where the bones are boiled so long that the broth turns a milky white. The flavor is a bit subtle and intentionally under seasoned and so it meant to be salted at the table. Generous portions of meat are served along with plenty of green onions, kimchi, and rice.

Shin Seon Seolnongtang is a very popular and numerous seolnongtang chain that can be found throughout Seoul. I’ve personally been to the locations in Shinchon, Hongdae, and Bundang. Though it’s a great lunch option, it’s 24 hour service and delicious broth makes it an especially attractive post drinking / sobering up stop.


Seolnongtang 설농탕 7,000w

Three types of kimchi are served. Two varieties of the regular cabbage sort, one being fresh, and one being older with a stronger flavor. The third is called gakdugi and is made from radish.

So nice of them to keep a mirror handy. It sucks walking around all day with some red pepper flakes stuck in your teeth.

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Shin Seon Seolnongtang
Hongdae: 354-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울 모포구 서교동 354-1) 02-337-6400
Shinchon: 5-38 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울 서대문구 창천동 5-38) 02-393-0040
Myungdong: 2-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울 정구 명동2가 2-2) 02-777-4531
(There are many more locations but I didn’t want to list them all. Just type 신선설농탕 into google/naver maps.)
24 Hours