Monday, 18 May 2015

Lotte Mart Seoul Station Branch (롯데마트-서울역점)

Ginseng - must buy item in Korea | by Meheartseoul
Aw Aw yo... Sorry for taking so long to write this posting. I've to blame K-drama for this delay. Ups sorry~! I mean to blame myself for K-drama marathon watching.

After finished 'Angry Mom' my fingers were itchy and searched for Ji Hyun Woo's profile, and found that he's the leading actor in drama 'Queen In Hyun's Man'. It's Saguek drama, so I decided to watch. And after completed QIHM, I'm curious to know more details about why she's exiled, I found another drama 'Dong Yi'. Pondering for few minutes whether I should watch it because it's 60 episodes long.

Ok, you knew the answer already, right? I didn't regret to watch Dong Yi. It's really worth my 60 hours to watch this epic historical drama! I even delay watching others airing dramas such as 'Sensory Couple', 'Hwajung' and 'Missing Noir M' because of 'Dong Yi'.

Anyway, I just completed Sensory Couple episode 14 this afternoon. So decided to write this first before watching the others two dramas.

Ok, back here... May I know what do you usually do or spend the last night in Seoul?

For us, we always go to Lotte Mart Seoul Station to shop for Korean Ginseng. It's one of the must-buy items in Korea.

Korean Panax ginseng root resembles to human body. It's the most valued variety of ginseng therefore it's named ‘Panax’ which is derived from Greek word Panacea meaning ‘Cure All’.It's known not only for its healing powers, but also warding off diseases and helping to maintain physical strength.

Korean Ginseng is recognized for its superior quality. It's believed to be the best of ginseng in the world because of the right climate and soil and best techniques for cultivation.

Actually we wanted to buy it when we're in Punggi. Punggi ginseng grown in the Sobaeksan Mountains is widely known for its superior quality. However, it's not easy to distinguish good ginseng from lower-quality ones. Even my Korean friends advise to shop in department stores or duty free shops for guaranteed quality.

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
Bought different age of Susam (수삼).

The plant can also be classified according to the processing methods:
  • Susam is unprocessed ginseng in its natural form. While it is used for freshness in various dishes, it is not suitable for long-term storage because Susam is over 75%  water content.  
  • Baeksam which is four-years-old sun-dried ginseng, is usually used as a medicinal herb. 
  • Hongsam is four-to six-year-old ginseng, which has undergone a process of repeated steaming and drying,  which gives it a  blackish-red color. Because the moisture  has been  eliminated, hongsam  can be stored for over 10 years and provides eight additional beneficial ingredients.
  • Sansam  has the same  medicinal  properties as Insam, but is much  more  effective  than the other ginseng. Sansam is grown naturally in the mountains and is called ‘Bullocho (herb of immortality)’. Because of this, Sansam costs from millions to hundreds of millions of won as it's very rare to find. 

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
The counter Ahjumma suggested me to buy this big ginseng
after seeing me buying so much ginseng. 
Only KRW 39,500 for 500gr.

Sigh... we didn't see it earlier, else will just grab few boxes. It's nicer presentation as gift, but we not so nice to tell her to unpack those we selected.

Actually wanted to buy more things, but it seemed that our luggage weight not allowing us to shop. My husband took Scoot budget airline and no baggage check in, and I only have 20 kg luggage allowance. 

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
My Korean friend gave me Market O-Brownie when he visited Singapore,
 and my kids love it so much.

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
Therefore, we only bought ginseng and brownie for gifts and own consumptions.
Ginseng is for cooking our favorite Samgyetang.

As usual, Lotte didn't provide plastic bags for your purchased items. But, there are empty boxes available at packing counters.

Wait~! Need to pack others unnecessary items together inside the box. Let's retrieved our bags from storage locker first...

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
 I really love this free storage locker facility!

Shopping at Lotte Mart Seoul Station |
 It's free for the first 3 hours! 
Normally, we only spent 1 hour or so for shopping.
It's so convenience and FREE :)

Please check this Youtube video on how to use it...

Lotte Mart Seoul Station
432, Cheongpa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 청파로 426. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)

Recommended Food and place to chill in Seoul: Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae by Meheartseoul
Who can resist Korean savory, salubrious and spicy stew~?!!

Though my tolerance of spicy food is low, but I don't mind bear the spiciness and pain inside my ears for yummy foods. Especially in Korea, they've so many type of stews as they are part of almost every Korean meals. It's easy to find too as they are mostly available at food stalls or restaurants. 

We'd tried these famous stews like:  Kimchi Stew (김치찌개), Korean Bean Paste Stew (된장 찌개), Soft Tofu Stew (순두부찌개). We'd tasted Maeuntang and Samyetang which can be considered as stews because they're thicker and tangier.

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |

Must eat foods in Korea: Stew, stew and still~ stew!!!

But... we never tried Korean Army Stew (부대찌개 = Budaejjigae). Not that I don't know this famous stew. But, this stew is more like fusion Korean-American dish because they put Spam and cheese on it. I just couldn't imagine the taste. Therefore, I got this mixing feeling to try and not to try as I'm quite picky on food and don't really like weird mixing taste~!

My hubby googled popular foods in this district. Out of the listed foods,  he picked this stew quite  as we never eat this before. For the conservative me, I actually prefer familiar foods but...

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
It seemed like 18 번지 부대찌개 heard my hubby's selection, 
and quickly appeared in front of our eyes!
Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) | 
I left me with no chance and excuse to change to other cuisine
as he walked to 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae menu banner.

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |     Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
It's on second floor of this building...

 Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |      Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) | 
Just follow the arrows for direction...

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |       Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
Spicy taste or Soft taste or Beef or Hand-made Sausage Stew |
add-on ingredients for Stew and Duruchigi | Drinks.

 Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |       Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) | 
Pork Belly Duruchigi / Roll sausage / Grill minced Beef Rib /
Steamed potato Dumplings / Steamed Egg.

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |       Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
 Recommended Set Menu at cheaper price.

 Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
Ordered Spicy Taste Sausage Stew (18 번지 부대찌개) with 18 ingredients in it. 
The price is KRW 7,000 / person.

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
The waitress served rice, ice water and 4 types of side dishes: 
Fish cake (오뎅 = Odeng), pickled onion, thinly sliced pickled radish, 
and cubed kimchi radish (깍두기 = Kkakdugi).

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
Five minutes later, the waitress carried nicely arranged ingredients
on this large pan and a jug of broth on another hand. Then she put it on
top of the stove, poured the broth, covered the lid and on the fire to boil them.
Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
  Western ingredients such as SPAM, sausage, cheese, canned American beans, macaronis
mixed with local ingredients including kimchi, rice cakes (ddeok), tofu,
and gochujang paste, spring onions, minced garlic, sliced onion for seasoning.

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
Spicy savory Army Stew... Are you salivating? ;P
Ready to ATTACK~!!!

This stew was named Budae Jjigae (부대찌개), because it was most commonly found nearby American Army Bases. The soup was also called the 'Johnson Tang (존슨 탕)' combining surname of former American president Lyndon B. Johnson and Tang (탕 = Soup).

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
Budae Jjigae is one of Korea’s leading fusion dishes.  This dish also embodies 
the memories of the Korean War. It's originated during famine years of the war. 
They made this dish by combining leftover meat such as Spam and sausages 
discarded from U.S. Army bases with others available ingredients...

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
As usual, we never waste food!
Please remember how precious was this stew during the war time.

At first I was so worried to try this jjigae. You know I'd this peculiar principle of eating food. My first tasting of the food is super important that resulted either I'll continue to it or it'll be the first and the last time. For examples Durians and Singapore Laksa... I tried them once, but they failed or not suitable to my palate.

However, if I like that particular food at the first try, even the subsequent places not serving it as good as what I expected, I'll still give chances and keep eating it. It's like how I love Penang Asam Laksa!

Ok, my worry was unnecessary! Perfectly mixed and matched of East and West ingredients created  yummy and tantalizing fusion-taste stew. 
We actually wanted to add-on Samgyupsal, but they said pork belly only available for Duruchigi add-on and not for Budaejjigae. So, we skipped it since we don't really like to add others items available for Budae Jjigae. 

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
 Wow, there were so many celebrities had their meals and recommended this stew!

If you want to try Korean Army Stew, do come here! Maybe you can kill 2 birds with one stone. I think it's higher possibility to see the above idols dining here than on the streets :P

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
I'll be coming back for sure!!!

We really enjoyed this savory and satisfying Army Stew. It's affordable too and they even offer unlimited refill of rice and ramen. We didn't ask for refill, as that portion of rice is about what we eat normally.

Service was excellent too... the waitresses diligently checking and controlling the heat until it's cooked and ready for us to enjoy this tasty stew. Two thumbs up and highly recommended! ^^

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) |
 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (18번지부대찌개)
Add: 서울시 서대문구 창천동 18-1번지 2층
Seodaemun-gu, Changcheondong 18-1 (2nd floor)
Reservations Phone: (02) 312-0717
Sinchon Station (Exit 3)

Sinchon Snack Street Food |
I still not used to the dry and cold winter especially at night time.
Happy to see a cart selling hot snacks to chase away the chill~!

Sinchon Snack Street Food |
Cute happy Koi Bread (행복한 잉어빵): "I'm sweet!"
Me: "Want want you chu~ Want you I want you~!" (ala Entoi Want You Song).

Sinchon Snack Street Food |
We ate this sweet egg bread (계란빵) at Hongdae. It's one of my daughter's favorite snacks.

Sinchon Snack Street Food | 
Bought 2 cute Koi Breads with sweet red bean paste filling.
It's actually similar to Fish Bread (붕어빵 = Bungeoppang) or 
Chrysanthemum Bread (국화빵 = Gukhwappang). 
They are just varied in the shapes ^^

Sinchon Snack Street Food |
 Do you prefer to eat this Koi Bread from the head or the tail first?