Tag Archives: pork belly

The best Japanese ramen in Seoul at Ittengo

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The Tonkotsu Ramen at Ittengo, a Japanese ramen restaurant in Hapjeong, Seoul. SCREAMfmLondon

For months, my friends and I have been obsessing over Ittengo, a small Japanese ramen shop located in a hip dining neighborhood near Hapjeong station. Day after day, rain or shine, the line of customers waiting to dine at Ittengo never seemed to get shorter. We pressed our faces up against the restaurant’s small windows like stray cats trying to see what made this food so special.

After watching dozens of people brave Seoul’s humid summer nights and, later, the freezing winter ones just to eat some of this ramen… We knew we had to try it. And, finally, we did.

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The minimalist facade of Ittengo in Hapjeong. SCREAMfmLondon

There was, of course, a long wait when we eventually made it to Ittengo. And, of course, it was extremely cold out. But, at this restaurant, you write your name and your full order on the list out front, so you can kill some of that wait time deciding what to eat.

Ittengo is known for its special basil-based broth that comes out a kind of algae green color, but this was unfortunately all sold out when we dined there. There are three types of ramen served at Ittengo, all given animal names in Japanese depending on the broth’s color. Kitsune (wolf) is the lightest, a traditional tonkotsu ramen (7,000 KRW). Next on the list is the Midori Kame (green turtle), which is the aforementioned basil pesto-infused ramen (10,000 KRW). And last is the Kayomasa (red tiger), which is the spicy ramen (8,000 KRW).

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Ittengo’s Kitsune (wolf) ramen, named after its light-colored broth. SCREAMfmLondon

Once your party is taken inside and seated, the ramen is served almost immediately. The restaurant’s intimate set-up is, I’m sure, a main reason for the lengthy wait. The dining room is comprised of just one central table around which all of the customers sit and eat together. The room is dimly lit, and the counter is sprinkled with candles and small knick-knacks.

Another reason for the wait is, obviously, because the ramen is delicious. It’s absolutely the best Japanese ramen I’ve had in Seoul. The pork bone broth is beautifully rich and flavorful. The noodles are thin and mixed with green onions, served with tasty slices of braised pork belly on top. Every bite is excellent, and every element of this dish is done perfectly. Peppers covered in yuzu juice are served on the side to contrast the strong savory flavors of the ramen.

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Amazing thin ramen noodles at Ittengo in Hapjeong. SCREAMfmLondon

Ittengo
11 Poeun-ro, Mapo-gu
Hours: daily from 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

Food: Korean street food, nurungji bingsu and more

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Found this delicious snack on the streets of Myeongdong. Tasty pork belly wrapped around kimchi, bean sprouts, carrots, onions and other fresh veggies. Cooked up and served for about $3. SCREAMfmLondon

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Nurungji Sulbing at my favorite dessert spot. Nurungji are the crunchy rice crackers on top, which are served with chewy injeolmi rice cakes and sticky syrup. SCREAMfmLondon

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Freshly-grilled eel also from the street food paradise that is Myeongdong. SCREAMfmLondon

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Finally made it to WaraWara to try one of these soju cocktails made at your table using an entire pineapple. SCREAMfmLondon

Food: Samgyeopsal, galbi and more Korean BBQ

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Love this delicious samgyeopsal: thick, fatty slices of pork belly cooked on a grill with mushrooms, kimchi and bean sprouts. It is (obviously) one of my favorite meals in Korea. SCREAMfmLondon

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We came to this restaurant near Wangsimni Station to keep the party going after the last Big Bang ‘MADE’ concert. Ordered the samgyeopsal and galbi (marinated beef short ribs). They also carry the (amazingly delicious) pineapple-flavored soju! And we love how they cook egg on the grill inside of a slice of onion. SCREAMfmLondon

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I wrote about this restaurant in my first Korean food post last year, and I still love it just as much! Nothing beats that excellent little omelette that surrounds the grill and cooks alongside your meat. SCREAMfmLondon

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Can you tell that I really love samgyeopsal? This restaurant in Hongdae plays good music, has a serve-yourself counter for side dishes, and hands out free ice cream as you leave. Couldn’t get much better than that. SCREAMfmLondon

Food: Lamb skewers, fried cheese and more

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A new restaurant just opened up on my street specializing in lamb skewers on a cool rotisserie grill. Fun and delicious! SCREAMfmLondon

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I could not resist the strange fried cheese on a stick while wandering the streets of Myeongdong. It was surprisingly appetizing and mozzarella-y. SCREAMfmLondon

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This summer, YG Entertainment launched its first restaurant. Samgeori Butchers in Hongdae has since been visited by YG artists such as Psy, Big Bang, iKON and Winner. The menu features delicious thick-cut pork served with a variety of tasty dipping sauces, pork fried rice, jjigae and more. SCREAMfmLondon

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Check out this atmospheric, candle-lit burger at Burgeroom181 in Songdo. The selection there is a little lacking, but this was the best “cheese halo” I’ve ever had. It was not, however, the best burger I’ve ever had. It’s a good place for a solid, middle-of-the-road burger. SCREAMfmLondon

Food: Bibimbap, gamjatang and more

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This delicious dolsot bibimbap is found in Insa-dong. The stone pot is hot enough to cook a raw egg and make the rice at the bottom brown and crispy. Bibimbap is a force to be reckoned with. SCREAMfmLondon

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Very popular melon bingsu. The melon is hollowed out and filled with ice cream, pieces of cheesecake, shaved ice and condensed milk. It is served with a hefty knife you can use to slice the melon shell and eat it. SCREAMfmLondon

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Gamjatang is a spicy pork bone soup: this one is made with pork spine, vegetables and hot peppers. Very labor-intensive to remove the meat from the bones, but very rewarding. SCREAMfmLondon

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Found a new favorite barbeque restaurant specializing in perfect, thick cuts of pork. Tasty to eat with a sprinkle of salt, a drop of gochujang and some roasted garlic. SCREAMfmLondon

April 13: A collection of delicious things

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Bulgogi jungol in Bupyeong. SCREAMfmLondon

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Gorgeous kimbap that came with some delicious kimchi and soup. We intended to have a study session, but it turned into a food tour instead. SCREAMfmLondon

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This barbeque is everything that is right with the world. The samgyeopsal is surrounded by a ring of omelette: egg, green onions and spices that cook while you barbeque. I could eat this every day forever. SCREAMfmLondon

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I honestly love the Lotte Mart food court. Pork, kimchi jjigae, kimchi, spicy broccoli, rice and seaweed for 6,500₩. And you place your order on a computer screen, so you never have any human interaction. That jjigae is to die for. SCREAMfmLondon

Food: Cielito Restaurant in Santa Barbara

Vanilla bean cheesecake. SCREAMfmLondon

Aside from Los Angeles being cool in itself, there are a million cool places accessible for a weekend getaway. I headed up to Santa Barbara for a few days to do what I do best: shopping, eating delicious things and going to museums while everybody else is at the beach.

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Blackberry margarita. SCREAMfmLondon

One of our favorite dining spots turned out to be the Cielito Restaurant.

Cielito was awesome. It’s set back from State Street in a little courtyard with a little fountain full of little turtles. Very atmospheric. The vibe is super relaxing, the food is super flavorful, and the entire staff is super attractive. Nice work, Cielito.

I started with the blackberry margarita ($13), which is Peligroso Blanco Tequila, Leopold’s Rocky Mountain Blackberry liqueur and fresh lime juice with dashes of agave syrup. Fabulous! We also ordered some chips with salsa and guacamole to kick things off, which isn’t really necessary, but guacamole is always a good idea.

The pork belly quesadilla ($12) was delicious — just the right amount of spiciness and a beautiful presentation. It is served in four pieces on top of guacamole and filled with pork, cheeses, shaved cabbage, pickled onion and salsa. Although it’s a small plate, it’s quite filling, and every bite is filled with the perfect combination of flavors.

Also tasted the Huarache de Hongos ($15), which was also amazing. It’s a flatbread topped with mushrooms, oaxacan black beans, cheeses, salsa, white truffle oil and avocado. The taste of the truffle oil and mushrooms is strong and rich, and the creamy cheeses and avocado just make it completely delectable.

For dessert, we tried everything. (Not a hyperbole.)

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Pork belly quesadilla. SCREAMfmLondon

I loved the vanilla bean cheesecake ($9) with hazelnut crust that was smothered in fresh strawberries. It’s a small portion, but that makes it easier to try all of the desserts on the menu and still be able to leave the restaurant without exploding.

The chocolate caramel semifreddo ($10) is frozen chocolate mousse with salted peanut brittle ice cream in the center, and it tastes just like a fancy Snickers ice cream.

Also, be sure to ask about the signature dessert specials because our favorite dessert of the night was the caramel apple empanada with ice cream on top.

Altogether, Cielito will provide a sweet dining experience for your beachfront vacation. I ate pretty much everything there was to eat, and I would do it again.

Excellent meal; would dine again. And I was serious about the good-looking waitstaff, too. Sup.