This series originally appeared on the now-defunct blog, Black In Korea in 2015. The story recaps a foreigner’s first trip to South Korea prior to becoming a resident alien in 2017.
Oh good, you’re back! Is your appetite ready for more? I’m glad to hear it, because we’ll be on the move, leaving the Capitol city and heading to the port city of Busan.
#4 God Touched My Ramen
Okay now, look, I know The Struggle has had you consume a packet or two (or six, who am I to judge?) of instant ramen noodles at some point in your life; and you might have found yourself wondering why there’s so much happening on the cover of the packet. Or, maybe you’ve experienced one of the hip Japanese or Korean ramen shops and feel like you’re on that new-new. I understand. I clank forks and spoons with you, fam.
In this case, I can only surmise that God came down into this pot of ramyeon, touched the hands of the cook, said “Blessed be” when the egg was cracked and then handed it to my friends and me in Seoul Station.
I went with a traditional style, they enjoyed cheese ramen, and all were pleased! Economical in price, this noodle soup was hearty and had a little kick to it from red pepper. A ticket on the KTX or not, if you get the chance to enjoy the food court in the train station, ask for this from Food Counter Number 8. I know my taste buds are likely naive, but if I ever make it back here, I’m sure to dive into more ramen options. (Editor note: the author is now strung out on seafood tofu stew at the train station and refuses to order anything else. Much better ramen’s been discovered as well.)
Foodie fact about me: Hotteok is my favorite Korean street food. The lovely staff of Dallas’ H-Mart and a small Houston bakery has witnessed me genuinely tear up with insane anticipation of one of these small fried bites. Fluffier than a donut and nowhere near as greasy, hotteok is a doughy treat with nuts, gooey brown sugar and cinnamon inside.
While in Busan, the first pojanmancha tent I could smell had a pan of them front and center. Although there are several Buddhist temples in the area, visit Haedong Yonggungsa and get your nom-nom on with 3 of these sweets for roughly 2 USD.
#6 Green Milk Tea
What is this madness? Why is the bottle so pretty? Is it really what is says it is? Yes, to all three questions, even if it technically only answers the last one. South Korean culture births literal people so Green Milk Tea is literally what it says it is. If you’re a “tap house” kind of person, this possibly isn’t new to you. However, despite enjoying drinks at American bubble tea shops for years, I’ve never tried the milk teas. Because of this find at a nearby 7-Eleven, however, it will have me on a Google search for a local vendor for a while.
I like my green tea warm and unsweetened. I don’t do gobs of macha. I barely do milk. So what was it about this drink that appealed to me? The smoothness of its blend. Aromatic, non-chalky, non-too-milky. Dissipated like tea. How, beverage maker, HOW DID YOU PULL THIS OFF?!? I suggest pouring it into a cup or using a straw–my nose kept getting stuck into the bottle and I was Jinju the Green-nosed Foreigner a few times.
Be sure to return for the final installment of my food recap. It’s almost time to close up shop!