Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 1: Samgupsal (BBQ Pork) Dinner at Namdaemun

Namdaemun market is not unlike our Petaling Street or Hong Kong Women's market or even Temple Street. It becomes even more livelier after 5pm when vendors push their carts in a single file to setup shop right in the middle of the street.

It's quite a sight to behold when you see a long line of them quietly entering at the same time without any grand announcement.

Just like the markets at home, you can also find practically anything & everything here. However, Namdaemun is a market of a grander scale. With 6 entrance gates, it's definitely more extensive than the rest.

From the map it looks pretty oragnised, but in reality, when you're down there in the streets, rubbing shoulders with the crowd, & getting tai-chi'd by the aunties, it's pretty easy to lose your direction. But the good thing about tourist places in Seoul is that there will always be a few information booths around with helpful English speaking staff & lots of maps.

We spent the later half the afternoon surveying the site, marking down our targets - Korean souvenirs, Korean ginseng & Korean kitchen utensils. And as evening arrives, our priorities changed to food.

Again, unlike the time when we were in Hong Kong, we didn't have any particular food guide with us this time. So when that happens, it was more like 1) deciding WHAT to eat, 2) look for a place with that SOMETHING that we'd want, 3) surveying which stall had more customers & 4) scrutinising the menu & prices.

This place was located at an alley on the right as you're walking from Namdaemun Gate 6. There were a few BBQ shops here but of course we ended up at the one which seemed to have more customers. But actually we realised later that all of them were full.

The tables here were from a makeshift oil barrel, with a flat circular piece wielded onto the top. They had holes in the middle for the pots (which carries the charcoal) with the bulgogi plates sitting on top.

See hole? No hole! Sheer ingenuity.

And as with any Korean meal, it came with many side dishes, refillable & bottomless.

However we haven't tried pushing the limit before & do not intend to. If you really like something, you can afely ask for more.

This was the Chinese lady who served us. At 9,000 won per person (minimum set), we had BBQ pork wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves & finished up with a bowl of complimentary seafood soup.

The bill for everything came out to be 19,000 won (RM55). Absolutely satisfying!

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