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Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken soup for the Seoul

^There's just no end to the number of puns you can make with Seoul. I love it.

Something about chicken soup must have curative properties. Have a cold? Some chicken soup will clear that right up. A headache? Try some piping hot chicken broth. Tired and freezing in winter? Nothing like some warm soup to make you feel cozy.

Some of my friends swore they knew a "magical" chicken soup place in downtown Suyu and seeing as we have an insanely busy week ahead of us, Melissa, Jeanette and I headed there after work tonight to see what the soup could do for us.

This restaurant serves only one thing: chicken soup. You know a place is gonna be good when it specializes in just one dish.

They start by placing an entire chicken into a pot of water at your table. The chicken slowly simmers and cooks while you wait.

As you wait for the chicken to finish, you eat greens (green onions and grass? I'm not sure) and make a sauce from hot peppers, spicy mustard, soy sauce and garlic. Delicious and just spicy enough to wake up the taste buds.

When the chicken is done, you add noodles to the chicken broth and eat. Delicious, simple and cheap. The perfect meal.

Overall my only complaint is that Korean food in general is always under-seasoned, and this was no exception, but it was certainly a good cold weather meal and hey, maybe this will be the cure-all for all of Korea's aches and pains.

After dinner, it was impossible to pass up a trip to our favorite Ho Dduk stand -- also known as the greatest Korean food ever with our favorite street food vendor. Ho Dduk is basically an inside-out pancake -- pancake on the outside, brown sugar and nuts and other delicious things baked into the middle.

The vendor is a complete sweatheart. When she sees us approach (remember, there are very few foreigners in my area so our faces are hard to forget), she breaks into the biggest smile and immediately waves. It's absolutely adorable. The benefit is that she always makes us fresh pancakes -- even if there's a huge stack sitting on the counter, she goes out of her way to make a fresh batch.

It's completely simple but by far my favorite food here. And at less than 70 cents, it's just too good to pass up. If you're planning a trip to Seoul, plan to visit here at least once, but that's definitely being conservative.

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