Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yoogane Dak Galbi Marinated Chicken Bulgogi - One Word: Delicious! @ Myeongdong [Seoul]

In my entire Korea trip, i was generally quite disappointed with the food as only a few managed to blow my taste buds away; one was the kimbap from Gwangjang Market and another was the grilled mackerel and abalone seafood bowl in Jeju!

There's another one to add to the list; Yoogane Dak Galbi which already has two branches in Singapore (Bugis Junction and Westgate)! We didn't try their signature one with cheese as it was already 10.30pm when we stepped into its branch very near to Myeongdong subway station. 

Go ahead and grab as much side dishes as you want! Joyce, being on a no-carbohydrate diet, took a lot of cabbage! Note: as usual, take the quantity you CAN eat; don't waste food! 

Marinated Chicken Bulgogi - freshly served (as in raw) on a hot pan, i have had my fair share of chicken bulgogi in Singapore and wasn't expecting much from this. Honestly, how much different can it?! 

A staff member would help with the cooking right in front of you; so don't panic like the customers next to us who attempted and almost ruined the dish. Maybe i was too hungry as i could not stop swallowing the saliva when i caught the aroma from the sizzling marinated meat and vegetables on our pan!

Darn was the meat fantastic! The texture was much more tender than Singapore's version and although the marination used was of a sweeter taste, you would notice how intense it was with each bite bursting with flavour! 

These glass noodles were extremely appetising with each strand soaked in the marination's essence! My rule for meals was to have minimal carbohydrates after 8pm but i would have gladly asked for another serving of these noodles even though it was almost 11pm! 

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Location Map
There are two branches in Myeongdong and i went to the one nearest the MRT station (exit 8) and next to the building housing MCM. You may refer to the map as above where i have bordered the branch in orange colour. 

Operating Hours
An early 9am to a late 1am

Price
Marinated Chicken Bulgogi -₩10,000 a portion
(minimal of 2 portions are required)

Two Two Chicken (22치킨) - Authentic Korean Style Fried Chicken? @ Myeongdong [Korea]

Chicken Up and 4Fingers are two eateries in Singapore famous for their fried chicken and in case you don't know, both were notable for their Korean style fried chicken! 

Hence, it would not do Korea any justice if we didn't plan for a visit to one of their many fried chicken establishments! Louise did the research and identified Two Two Chicken in Myeongdong as the brunch destination.

For an establishment that was featured in quite a number of reviews and blogs, i was surprised it wasn't even crowded; with less than ten customers including us. Okay, maybe 11.30am was too early for anyone to have fried chicken! 

Do keep in mind the following when you order; each dish comprises of two servings and one serving has six pieces of chicken! We decided to go with half original + half sweet and sour and one garlic chicken; in all, twenty four pieces! 

Half Original + Half Sweet and Spicy
Thankfully, the pieces were not huge and we were hopeful it would not be a difficult feat to clean up the plate! Anyway, the original fried chicken had the things i like; thin, crispy skin and juicy meat which wasn't overwhelmingly oily. I was, however, quite disappointed to find the flavour a bit too bland. 

Sweet and spicy fried chicken was and should be better since the sauce would help to stimulate the taste buds. We were guarded by the word "spicy" as Korean spiciness can be quite hard to handle for people with low thresholds (like me) but it seriously was more sweet than spicy. 

Garlic Fried Chicken
These turned out to be the nicest of the lot with tonnes of aromatic garlic puree slathered onto the chicken! Although it continued to be a contributor to bad breath, the taste wasn't the garlic spiciness one would expect to get. Instead, it was rather sweet; which i definitely didn't mind! 

It's a pity that the texture of the skin was rather soggy and you don't get the satisfaction of hearing that crunch as your teeth sink into the fried chicken. 

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Twenty four pieces were still a tad too much for us to stomach! Our final conclusion was that the chicken were good yet not impressive enough to warrant a revisit. For original chicken, my heart still flutters for Arnolds' Chicken while 4Fingers Soy Garlic Chicken, despite their diminutive size, remains fondly on top for the most addictive non-original chicken ever.

Location
6-4 Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
[Exit 3 of Myeongdong MRT Station]

Map
As above with red star. 

Price
Half Original + Half Sweet and Spicy - ₩17,000
Garlic Fried Chicken - ₩18,000

Monday, December 29, 2014

Celebrating Christmas Eve 2014 with the Family

I know this is a few days late but late is better than never, especially when this post contains photographs of both my niece and nephew; it's always good to show their physical developments every few months! 

My family isn't Christian although this lack of affiliation has never stopped us from celebrating the festival. Frankly, it was just a nice excuse for us to have a family gathering and eat to our heart's content! Yesh, it was Arnold's Chicken once again! 

Aside from food, we were as satisfied to see the joy radiating from both their faces when they received the Christmas presents.

The anticipation as they slowly tore apart the wrapper was worrying for us as we could not be too sure if they would like the items we got for them. I personally prefer to give money as this would allow them to buy what they want.

Fortunately, both appeared pretty pleased! 

Jovyn, however, got bored with her LEGO set after a while. She could not quite get the concept of building blocks and kept asking me to help her! Jerald, on the other hand, was quietly enjoying himself.

Log cake for desserts! I am getting so fat this festive season! Should i accept my colleagues' challenge and wean off deep fried food for a week? Hm... only if there is a worthy reward waiting for me....

Grandfather - granddaughter happy moment. Affectionately known as Yishun Gong Gong to both kids, my dad was the accommodating grandfather willing to pander to their every whim! 

The above brat has moved out of my house for close to a year now and it's hard not to notice the transformation in her; she speaks a lot more and continues to charm people, even strangers, with her chirpy cuteness.

Physically, she has grown tremendously too; topping the scale at 19 kilograms! Guess her nickname, bulldog cheeks, would be suitable for long term usage. :) 

Must talk about Jerald too in case anyone says i am prejudiced again! He is now in primary school and i could see that he is assimilating well. Furthermore, he is always the kind brother to bratty Jovyn; giving in to her unreasonable demands most of the times!

This Christmas, i have also decided to prepare a present for my beloved mom (it has never been much of a culture in my family to buy presents for one another except for the kids). Want to guess what it is? A new Redmi Note 4G!  

On a final note, i would like to thank my friends and colleagues for their lovely presents! In life, i treasure meetups more than presents; hence, let's meet up if time permits and gorge ourselves crazy over a nice meal! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Day Five of My Korea Trip 2014 - Going Back to Seoul!



After an extremely restful sleep following two days of late-night early-wake-up, we packed up our stuff, checked out of Galeum Guesthouse and drove out of the narrow driveway.

Above is the view of Hallasan's summit; there was no way we could have squeezed in another attraction to visit before our 11.55am flight back to Seoul as we had been tasked to do something really important.

Change of dressing for our wounds! In case you have not been following this travelogue, we had a car accident in Jeju the day before and although we were not severely injured, it's still important to keep our wounds clean to prevent any infection.

For Louise, the goondu nurse who treated her wound didn't even bother removing her eyeliner and she had to endure a night of itch and discomfort! Luckily we were assigned to a way more thoughtful nurse this time who was also very gentle with us! 

Time to leave for the car rental company; estimation of ninety one minutes over a distance of fifty kilometers. We were given a new rented car after the accident but the GPS panel installed was in Korean language!! It's fortunate i was still able to aga-aga find my way to the section to input contact number! 

It's things like the above that made me even more careful on the road since my understanding of the Korean language is severely limited; i wouldn't know of any upcoming speed bumps, any speed cameras and heck, i don't even know what are the Korean pronunciation for stop, turn left and turn right!

Drove past one of the attractions which would interest me; think it showcases cadavers and body parts in various poses. If i am not wrong, a similar exhibition was held in Singapore once. 

Endless driving; strangely, the route i took on our first day in Jeju to Galeum Guesthouse in Seogwipo was a different one and seemed to cut across the Mount Halla with an initial uphill drive that had loads of turns!

I know for a fact that the airport was close to the car rental company but as luck had its way of making fun of us, i had keyed in a different contact number; i stupidly thought the number on the GPS panel would be the correct one! Wrong!! 

Anyway, due to our innate kiasuism, we had plenty of time to spare and managed to find the "correct" contact number, drove the rented car back to the leasing company and arrived at the Jeju International Airport two hours before our departure. 

For those who could not get enough of Jeju tangerines, it would please you to know that there were quite a few shops within the airport for you to make more purchases. 

Frankly, we didn't find the oranges fascinating and decided to check in earlier, hoping to find a nice, quiet place to have a cup of latte before taking the plane. 

Problem - the departure area was filled with too many people and most shop had limited space to put out more tables / chairs! 

Both sisters found solace in a duty free shop filled with notable brands for facial products and cosmetics! As for me, i guess i might as well make use of the time to try out Lotteria; Korea's very own fast food restaurant. The fried chicken i had was unimpressive. =_=. 

Boarding the plane at last! 

The B737-800 aircraft tasked to bring us to Seoul. I was in fact thinking if i should postpone the publication of this post as there is yet again news of another missing plane (AirAsia QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore). Guess at this moment, all we can do is to pray for the best for the passengers and crew members on the flight. 

Saying bye bye to Jeju with mixed feelings.

On one hand, i did have an unforgettable experience with the car accident; on the other, the excruciating time spent climbing the breathtaking Hallasan and the taste of what's arguably the best green tea latte remained deeply etched in my memory. 

Would i be back then? Likely even though the chance is pretty slim for me to attempt another climb of Korea's highest mountain; Mount Halla

Seat configuration is 3+3 on each row and with no in-flight entertainment, all i could do was to fixate my attention on the view outside. 

When Google Earth first came out in 2005, i spent time trawling through the many places i have seen from movies, dramas, travel variety shows etc. In the past, such a view could only be achieved by taking an airplane (for most humans, at least). The island in the picture is Cheongsando and you may read more on this beautiful island here

There was nothing much to see once the plane got to the mainland as we were too high up and the hills and mountains were seriously quite a bore after a while. 

Looking like miniature toy models, this view comprising of buildings in its entirety would mean we were nearing the capital of South Korea. 

Almost an hour in the air and we safely landed in Gimpo International Airport (contrary to its name, it serves mainly domestic flights). 

Since we would be in Seoul for the next three days, it made total sense for us to get T-money which is of the same usage like our EzLink in Singapore (cheaper), with the additional function to even pay cab fares and purchases from selected convenience stores! We got the card from one of the convenience store located within the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) at Gimpo Airport.  

Remember, you only BUY the card; topping up would be required at the machine with T-money on it. Do note the logo for T-money as some of the machines were unable to provide the "recharging" service. 

A familiar scene for all three of us! Not wanting to do the same as day one where we had to navigate the underpass, we proceeded to walk to Hotel Manu in the great open! 

I think we all agreed it was slightly faster! Once we collected the luggage in store at Hotel Manu and checked in to our new room (which was much more comfortable), our hungry tummies brought us to Kwangjang market where we stuffed ourselves crazy! Click here to see what our stomachs had! 

We also dropped by the nearby Dongdaemun without me realising there were two sections; of which we had the time only for the one featuring retail stores! As a penniless bloke, i am all for wholesale markets with their dirt cheap pricing!! 

It was closed to midnight when we reached Seoul Station. An interesting peculiarity lies with this big cabinet that stored gas masks and plain water. Guess the risk of an North Korea invasion is always there. That aside, kindly keep in mind that the underground walkways was filled with the homeless at night. 


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For the summary of my South Korea trip (Seoul and Jeju Island) and links for more details to the respective day, click HERE.

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