Okay, so anyone that has spent any ounce of time with me since my return from South Korea in November last year will be undoubtedly well aware of the fact that I've become slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It's a problem, don't worry, I know. All I can say is at least I've expanded my musical horizons once more… there was a period there around the Christmas season where only cheesy K-pop lyrics filled my ears. Slightly embarrassing to admit but true nonetheless. The food, however, is a whole other situation - in short, I feel like the period I spent in Seoul lay down the foundation for a lifelong obsession with Korean cuisine.
"But wasn't the food spicy?!"
My friends here in Sydney have questioned me on occasion as to the chilli factor of the food in SK to which my answer is this: "oh yes. But, bar one or two EXTREME spice memorable experiences involving a Korean menu that I couldn't understand and not enough rice, it was glorious." But really nowadays, spicy or not, hardly a day goes by where I don't crave some quality sam gye tang (chicken stuffed with rice in ginseng soup) or tteokbokki (rice cake with sweet and spicy sauce).
Having said all this, on my first night in Seoul, I was introduced to a delight that would change me for life and now back in Australia, I still long for every day. To be honest, pale as a ghost and not daring to venture any further than a block from any given subway station, I met up with a dear friend in the middle of Hongdae. Seeing a familiar face among the seas of people was the best that happened to me that day. Or rather, so I thought… we dined together, retreated to the cutest cafe, 405 Kitchen, and I tried... patbingsoo.
Mmmm. Milk iced shavings with red bean and mochi...
Oh, and my goodness, was it a nice combat to all the spicy food too ;)
Now, I had patbingsoo many, MANY (MANY!!) times after this in Seoul (yolo) but I actually think that 405 Kitchen had the best. I tried Oreo flavour and green tea scented but this one had the milk/sweet balance just right. And besides, there was indeed something deliciously cosy about sitting in a cafe late at night with an old friend over a shared bowl of a creamy, sweet dessert. Absolute perfection in the hotter months, not so much in the colder months… but that's why we have internal heating and in SK, heated floorboards ;)
The takeaway message from this post? Korean food is amazing. Patbingsoo is on the next level. You all know that I kinda have a thing for food (seriously!) so trust me when I advise, next time you're out - give K-food a try. Please stay tuned for the best Korean restaurants on the Australian East coast ;) (East coast because I literally have less than a fortnight left living in Sydney :( Bring on the Melbourne reviews!)