Most tourists coming to Korea are open to trying Korean food. You wouldn't go to China to eat Japanese food, right? But I live in Busan. I eat awesome Korean food every day. Everyone coming up to Seoul from Busan was looking forward to getting some Western food.
As an American, I miss Mexican food the most. But not enough to let Taco Bell stain my esophagus with their diarrhea potion. Baja Chalupas are dope, but every ingredient in their kitchen is dehydrated and frozen; I don't fuck with space food unless I'm in the Museum of Science and Industry or Space.
I've never found it hard to find a good place to eat, no matter where I am. All you have to do is ask someone who doesn't look like a complete asshole, and then calibrate using common sense. I asked Panda, the host of Bibimhouse and he recommended a restaurant for Modum Jeon and Dak Dori Tang.
The most familiar jeon is pajeon. Although Pa translates to Leek, you'd be hard pressed to find a pajeon without at bits of octopus, peppers, maybe even jalapenos, mussels, and other bits of seafood if you're lucky. Modum jeon translates to Everything Pancake, so you can expect an even larger variety of ingredients.
Well it turns out, Modum Jeon looks nothing like a pancake at all. Instead of the usual form of Jeon, it's just a platter of veggies, pork, and fishy things in egg-batter. Altogether there were at least six different items, all of which were delicious.
Modum Jeon is delicious, but I don't think it could ever beat kimchijeon or Pajeon in terms of taste. Some dishes just have a ceiling on how good they can get, and Modum Jeon is one of those greasy, simple foods. Everything we were eating was obviously drunk food, not just because of it's greasiness and simplicity, but because this restaurant was open past midnight and everyone around us was drunk.
The other half of our meal was Dak Dori Tang, spicy chicken soup. It was spicy, which is very unusual for spicy Korean food. It's really hard to go wrong when you combine chicken and potatoes. Don't worry if you're a picky eater and you like to complain; The chicken is not boneless or skinless, and most of it is dark meat so you'll still have a reason to be unhappy and unpleasant to everyone else around you. It's also got Ddeok in it, not to be confused with Dak/ Dalk. Ddeok, as in Ho-[Dd]eok is that pounded rice cake shit that's pretty hit or miss with white people.
Kind of like how Gamja Tang (literally: Potato Soup, actually: Pork Spine Soup) isn't about potatoes, Dak Dori Tang isn't actually soup. The red shit is a sauce. A delicious, spicy sauce that goes great on the Modum Jeon.
How to find this restaurant: Ask someone in Hongdae where you can eat either dish. It's in central Hongdae, and there are platters of Modum Jeon chilling outside the door.
Now if Western food is what you crave, I know one restaurant that'll really put some suck in your dick. I walked across the fucking galaxy to get to this place, and I ended up eating here three times. The two guys I came to Seoul with were more than happy to eat lunch here two days in a row. I alluded to it in an earlier post.
Fortune Cafe is a Russo-Uzbek restaurant that uses a lot of lamb, onions, meat, potatoes, and bread in their dishes. There are a lot of things on their menu, but out of the dishes we tried, the Samsa (Camca) and Shiz-Biz were our favorites.
Samsa, Somsa, Camca, is an Uzbek samosa. In the 'stans, they bake their samsas rather than fry them. Fortune uses pastry dough and for filling, minced lamb and onions. The result is a layer of flakiness on the outside wrapping together a hearty filling. If you are used to heavier flavors you might find this bland. Fortunately, it's served with some Russian salsa which definitely holds its own against traditional Latin salsa.
Bro, how sweet do these pictures look? How hungry you is? This shit is called Shiz-Biz. It's a pile of fries beneath a pile of lamb beneath a pile of onions beneath a pile of dill. I don't even like dill but I was going balls deep on this so hard. The fat of the lamb is so damn juicy it tastes almost like heavy cream. Oddly, I wasn't blown away by the simple flavor at the first bite, but by the time I got to the end I was in love. It goes very well with the salsa or white vinegar.
Some other shit we got was meat kabobs. a chicken steak breaded in an omelette and the sauceless meat pasta. Just go with the Shiz Biz and Samsa. The kabobs were great, the chicken steak and pasta were good, but bland.
The orange shit you see is oily slivered carrots. These are complimentary, and I don't like anything about carrots, but whatever this dish is called, it's very flavorful and goes well with every single dish I had. I'm a big meat eater but I could make a meal out of the bread and carrots alone.
I was very impressed by Fortune, especially at how they managed to make something so delicious with such few ingredients. The food was simple in both flavor and ingredients and that was a very welcome change from Korean cuisine where every single dish is a combination of salty, sweet, spicy, savory, and sour. It's exhausting man.
I consider this restaurant to be a must-eat. It's cheap and not hard to find. Eating here should be the first and last thing you do in Seoul.
To get here, go to Dongdaemun History and Culture park subway stop, exit 5. Take a right, then the immediate left on the main road. Look for Fortune Kebab on the left, it'll be upstairs.
Read this for more information about restaurants in the area and better directions.