KFC = Korean Fried Chicken

I heard so much about Kyochon when I was planning for my trip, and it did not occur to me till much later that it’s actually the same brand as Bonchon everywhere else in the world! I LOVED Bonchon when we were in New York a few years back, and I was so excited to try the original version from Korea! While I didn’t like beer then, I quite enjoy Korean beer nowadays! (It’s pretty much the only kind of beer I like.) Tried CASS beer for the first time and went so well with the chicken! The thing about KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) is that they somehow manage to fry it such that the skin is somehow detached from the meat, which gives it a delightful crisp texture and amazing flavour, without it being too oily.

img_0292_zpsevdw2pjfThe two flavours that Kyochon shot to fame for was its signature Kyochon series, which is a soy garlic glazed flavour, and the Red series, which comes with a red-hot chilli pepper sauce. There are also a few other flavours, including the honey series which we wanted to try. The unfortunate thing is there is only one size that you can order, which presents a problem when it was just the two of us eating. There were  We ordered the Half & Half Whole Chicken (17,000 KRW), which allowed us to try both the Kyochon and Red series, but this is the only combination available. You can also choose to have just drumsticks, or wings & drumlets, which I actually feel is worth the additional 2,000 KRW, because the “whole chicken” was really more like random, awkward bits of the chicken which did not have as much meat. Especially with the batter that made the piece look way bigger than it was, I was a little shocked at the lack of meat. Nevertheless, I’ve got no complaints because the skin was so scrumptious!!

And the portion was HUGE by the way. But the original soy garlic was just mind-blowingly yummy that we couldn’t resist it!!! The batter was crisp and light, almost airy, yet had a satisfying crunch. The marinade was amazingly tasty and addictive and we absolutely LOVED IT. The red hot flavour shocked us with its spicy kick, with a fieriness that grew in intensity and became unmanageable after two pieces.

img_0294_zps26o8hy79So we gave up on it and…decided to order the Honey Whole Chicken (16,000 KRW) instead. Haha. It was definitely an overdose of chicken that day, and we couldn’t finish everything (obviously), but we really liked the honey flavour as well! The slightly sweet sauce on the signature batter was delicious and not too sweet. Though I’d still pick the original as my favourite for its addictive garlic flavour.

A point to note is that the waiting time for the wings is really, really long. Apparently it’s pretty well-known from all the reviews, but we had absolutely no clue! And our server didn’t inform us as well, so we kinda starved from a late lunch of 3pm all the way till nearly 4pm when we were finally served our food. *faints* It was worth the wait though!

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img_0293_zpsdxjd4dpxKyochon can be found in most of the main areas in Seoul, and we happened to chance upon it in the Sincheon area! I believe there is a delivery option as well if you like!

img_2037_zpsepkvld9sIn fact, ordering KFC into our apartment was an experience that we really looked forward to on our trip to Seoul. Our Airbnb host was really the kindest host ever, and obliged to helping us place an order for KFC (because we couldn’t speak Korean). We ordered from BBQ Chicken where we had a mix of two flavours as well! The original crispy fried chicken was somewhat like KFC’s (as in Kentucky Fried Chicken) extra crispy chicken, and we also ordered the version with the sweet-spicy sauce. The chicken went well when washed down with Hite beer, which helped to cut through the greasiness and gave us a reason to finish up the lot.

It’s definitely an experience to have this when you’re in Seoul! Which is your favourite KFC brand? Let me know!

O’Sulloc

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOriginating from Jeju, O’Sulloc can be found in many of the main areas in Seoul, including Myeongdong, Apgujeong and Samcheongdong. Specialising in green tea, it is a heaven for matcha lovers, and is one place that you cannot miss when visiting Seoul. We were hooked from our first visit on day 1, and revisited numerous times during our trip.

Our first visit had us trying the Green Tea O Freddo & Green Tea Cheese Tiramisu set (10,500 KRW). The green tea O freddo was a smoothie with ice cream that blew our minds and taste buds the moment we took the first sip. We loved the robust matcha flavour and slight bitter aftertaste, which helped to balance out the drink so that it wasn’t too sweet or milky. The green tea tiramisu had a nice cream cheese flavour, reminiscent of Japanese cheesecake! It was light, yet creamy, with matcha powder on top and a fluffy sponge cake base. Absolutely delectable!

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The next visit, we had the Green Tea Roll Cake (5,000 KRW) with vanilla cream. It was quite similar to the tiramisu, but with slightly heavier cream that went well with the incredibly fluffy swiss roll.

We also had the Houjicha Latte (5,500 KRW for hot) which had a nice smokey flavour. However, we realised that the cold versions (6,000 KRW) are way nicer than the latter! While the hot lattes tasted like regular matcha/houjicha and weren’t significantly different from the norm, the cold drinks had a much deeper aroma that we enjoyed much more.

img_9797_zpsjvkq1jymThere are so many outlets around the city that there’s simply no reason to miss this out! You can check out the list of locations here. Let me know which are your favourite items here!

And for more desserts in Seoul, check out my previous post (:

Sweet treats in Seoul

Korea is known for its plethora of dessert options as much as its piping hot stews/soups and other yummy food. It’s no wonder that we were eating constantly throughout the day, since in-between meals were peppered with desserts, and those tantalising street food options as well!

‘Nuff said, let’s dive into some of the desserts that Seoul has to offer

1. Churros

I was stoked when Churros 101 from Korea came over to Singapore, and I was lucky enough to get the chance to try it without having to queue! Unfortunately this was one of the things I did not manage to squeeze into any part of my trip, which was such a pity :(

However, I did get to try a couple of other Churros stalls which were really yummy too!! I really wonder how Korea does these desserts so well! They definitely surpass any of those I’ve had in Singapore, and perhaps even those in Spain! The churros here all come with substance (i.e. not too airy), yet are not too doughy and taste light at the same time.

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img_9841_zps0mxx7zpi It seems like the Samcheongdong area is a melting pot for churros because we literally saw them everywhere. Both of these places we tried were around the area, and there was also a Churros 101 outlet! The first we tried was IQ84 Churros, which was tucked in a little corner off the main street. There was a selection of churros with toppings and we went for the Almond Churros (3,500 KRW) which was freshly prepared on the spot.

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img_0230_zpsflssa4kjThe second shop, Street Churros, took a bit more effort to find as it was a few streets away from the main Samcheongdong area. And I have to warn you that the photo angle is deceiving because I was a little taken aback by the seemingly tiny portion. We went straight for the Churros with Ice Cream and chocolate sauce (3,500 KRW) and the pairing of the piping hot churro fresh out of the fryer with smooth, creamy vanilla soft serve was so good!!!! It was worth the hunt, and I’m so glad that we found it!

2. Waffles

img_2129_zpscf5lwwocI can imagine you thinking that there is nothing about these waffles that looks especially outstanding. Especially when they replaced the strawberries with grapes because #wrongseason. It just makes these waffles look less photogenic. But Beansbins Coffee has one of the best waffles ever!! Made freshly upon order, the waffle was crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, served hot and topped with a really generous portion of fruit and a sweet/tart blueberry jam that I really liked! Finished with a dusting of icing powder and light whipped cream, this was a really good dessert in place of all the other cold treats on a freezing day.

Beansbins Coffee
Address: 10, Myeongdong 8na-gil, Jung-gu | Savoy Hotel 2F
Nearest Metro Station: Myeongdong

3. O’Sulloc

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If there is one dessert place in Seoul that you have to try, that would be O’Sulloc! Unless you’re not a fan of green tea, that is. Otherwise, from hot/cold drinks to ice creams, cakes and swiss rolls, there is something for any matcha lover out there.

There are too many items that are worth trying from this cafe that I’m dedicating a full post for it.

4. Kiss The Tiramisu

img_1938_zpspz3phbqnOn yet another cold day in Seoul, we stood along the streets of Hongdae savouring our Tiramisu Ice Cream (4,900 KRW). Temperatures were close to zero degrees celsius, but it was totally worth braving the wintry weather for this. The tiramisu ice cream was well-infused with coffee flavour, and was deliciously smooth and rich. Mascarpone cheese formed the base of the dessert, followed by the soft serve ice cream and drizzled with cream cheese sauce and cocoa powder. “Mix it altogether”, our friendly server told us, and so we did. The harmony of flavours was simply incredible.

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Kiss The Tiramisu
366-12 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea or
79-1 Eoulmadang-ro Mapo-gu Seoul

5. Mr Holmes Bakehouse

img_0329_zpsut1vxrmhCronut? Cruffin?? What are all these strange names that I haven’t quite heard of. The child of a croissant + muffin, I couldn’t help but get super excited when I heard that I could get my hands on the Cruffin in Seoul! Hailing from San Francisco, Mr Holmes Bakehouse is situated in the upmarket area of Seoul, along the backstreet of Garosu-gil. It’s one of my favourite areas in Seoul, for its hipster cafes, and super chill vibes. Definitely a place that I would head back to on my next trip to soak in more of the atmosphere.

We were greeted by an alluring display of pastries once we stepped into the cafe, but zoomed in straight to the cruffins. I believe there are just two flavours on offer daily, with the regular chocolate/nutella flavour, and another which rotates on a daily basis. We were super lucky that we went on the day that they had the Earl Grey Tea flavour which had a beautifully aromatic tea scent. The croissant-like texture was wickedly crisp, and the generously-portioned filling came oozing out the moment we sliced it open. This is hands down better than any normal muffin out there.

I can’t wait to go back already, and I’m going to pack home a bunch of those other pastries the next time I visit.

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Mr Holmes Bakehouse
34 Apgujeong-ro 10-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Metro Station: Sinsa
Open daily 10am-10.30pm

6. Softserve

img_0318_zpspqs4g1muOne of the things that Seoul seems pretty famous for is their soft-serve milk. Yes, milk, not ice cream, because the creaminess is so intense that it is much more than ice cream. Portions appear small, only because you won’t be able to stomach more of that richness even if they gave you more than that tiny cup. I really wanted to try Milkcow in Seoul, because I thought that’s where it came from. Unfortunately, F&B establishments pop up and close down at a rate that is too fast to keep up with, and we couldn’t find a single outlet wherever we went :(

Thankfully, we chanced upon Milk Gongbang while we were exploring the shops in Common Ground, and decided to give it a shot! I’m so glad we did!!! Though I don’t really have a point of comparison for this, I really loved the smooth, creaminess of the semi-solid milk that slid down my throat and tasted so soothing.

Milk Gongbang
Common Ground Container Shopping Mall, 17-1 Jayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea, Top level
Nearest Metro Station: Konkuk University Station, exit 6

While Milkcow used to have an outlet in Myeongdong, it has since been replaced by an imitation softserve stall called Milky Bee. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT patronise that stall. We gave it a shot on our last day as I was craving more of Milk Gongbang (which was unfortunately not located anywhere nearby), and were absolutely disappointed by the bland flavour and icy texture of Milky Bee. Your calories can be invested in other goodies that are way more satisfying.

7. Choux Puffs

img_0341_zpshj9xowowWe chanced upon this little cream puff stall while combing the streets of Hongdae. It’s one of my favourite areas in Seoul as well, with a constant buzz of vibrant, youthful energy from the universities in the vicinity. Originating from Osaka, these choux puffs beckoned to us as we walked by, and I was pleased at how fresh these baked goodies were, with the vanilla bean custard cream piped into the puff only upon order. Many times, random finds can turn out to be great treats too!

8. Bingsu

img_2006_zpshssuo0d2Only the most popular Korean dessert, isn’t it??! I just had to write a separate post for it.

There are so many more churros/bingsu/softserve places scattered over the city that I simply couldn’t decide which one to try next! Do leave a comment if you have any recommendations because I’m already starting to curate my food list for the next trip ;) and if you manage to find Milkcow anywhere…please drop me a note!

Best Bingsu in Seoul

I’m jumping the gun here and zooming straight into bingsu before I share more about all the other dessert options available in Seoul. Why? Because this dessert is the quintessential sweet treat that defines Korean dessert (by Singaporeans at least) since it took our little island in a wave when it landed on our sunny shores. Hot weather + shaved ice makes the perfect combination! In Seoul, this is no different in the summer with queues spotted in front of the popular bingsu stores, such as Homilpat.

A crazy Singaporean couple (that would be us) decided to go around checking out three bingsu stores in autumn-going-on-winter, during one of the coldest weeks in the season, to bring you this foodie guide of 3 Bingsus to check out when you’re in Seoul (show some appreciation will you? Hehe):

#3 Cacao Green

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645ccd47-0b82-45d8-95c2-0805d326d4bb_zps5fmvg26iVisiting this cafe might give you a slight sense of familiarity because it’s the sister brand of Red Mango yogurt which can be found in Singapore. Red Mango is one of my favourite froyo stalls by the way, and I was pretty excited to check out their bingsus!

As Sam had tried it before, we dived straight for the indulgent-looking Triple Chocolate Shaved Ice (11,800 KRW for regular size). And boy, we were presented with a mountain of chocolate of all sorts! Shaved ice topped with chocolate brownies, chocolate truffles (!!!) and cacao powder, and sprinkled with candied walnuts. I loved the generous portion of chocolate, especially those truffles, but the shaved ice itself was rather disappointing as it was tasteless without the toppings and was rather chunky and icy.

#2 Sulbing 

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img_9814_zpseqiahhrsOne of the most prevalent dessert shops around, you can get your bingsu fix anywhere thanks to Sulbing. From the signboard to the taste of the bingsu, it totally reminded me of Nunsongyee in Singapore! Or I guess it should be the other way around. We ordered the Sesame bingsu (8,000 KRW) which was a very generous portion and had a pleasant blend of flavours. It came with condensed milk on the side, which was simply amazing when poured into the finely shaved ice.

#1 BINGSU IN SEOUL: HOMILPAT

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img_9918_zpsvmzphqpuBut the BEST bingsu in Seoul definitely had to be Homilpat. I couldn’t quite understand what others meant when they raved about this bingsu, and after tasting it, I feel that describing it in words is just too inadequate. But let me try do to it for you. Flavours-wise, Homilpat’s menu is concise, with choices that sound quite interesting. But keeping the menu simple allows them to maintain quality standards, which shines through when you taste it. The ice was incredibly smooth and finely shaven, almost like fluffy snowflakes that just really melted on your tongue. We ordered the Matcha flavour (6,500 KRW), and the green tea part was really flavourful and did so well on its own. A generous portion of pat (red bean) and injeolmi (glutinous rice cake) on the side sealed the deal. Although there was chunk of hard ice in the middle which I’m not sure whether it was a boo-boo, but this was nevertheless one of the best, unparalleled bingsus that I’ve ever eaten. Plus the prices are one of the most reasonable around!

Homilpat
Address: 4-77 Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest Metro Station: Sinchon
Open Wed-Mon 12.30pm-10pm

I really wanted to try the strawberry flavour, but it was unavailable as strawberries weren’t in season. I can’t wait to be back for more!!

Day Trippin’ around London

You know, I can’t get enough of London. I love, love, LOVE that city, and I dream of living there for a year or two if I ever have the opportunity. This year marked my second trip to London, and every other moment, I would feel a catch in my throat, thinking how beautiful this city is. I didn’t have the chance to spend that much time in London though, because we actually took quite a number of day trips out to explore the surrounding regions! And there is really so much that UK offers. It is such an amazing country with such diversity, and I love every bit of it. Though I was torn between staying in London and simply breathing in the whole atmosphere and venturing out to check out the other places, I’m glad I managed to do a bit of both on this trip! Road trips are always such fun ^^ (especially when I’m not the one driving…haha). Random fact – UK has tonnes of roundabouts, it’s pretty insane. I think we went through consecutive 20 roundabouts while heading to one of the outer regions from London, and I was totally dizzy by the time that was over. But anyway, here’s a bit more about the trips that we took:

1. Cambridge

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dsc_0951_zpswpvfdlanThese two pictures show the drastic weather we had in the UK. Taken just an hour apart, the skies poured one moment, while the sun came out and blazed in another. We visited the majestic town of Cambridge, and had the chance to learn more about the university through one of their guided tours. This is probably one of the most traditional, classic English towns, where our guide spoke with the Queen’s English and did not have a hair out of place despite the constant drizzle during the length of our tour. It was an informative tour, and it was fascinating that the town was literally the entire university campus, with colleges scattered all around.

Distance from London: ~1.5 hours drive

2. Stratford-upon-Avon

dsc_1088_zpsogapszdeWe visited the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and fell in love with this quaint little town with its charming Tudor architecture. I really enjoyed these trips where we learned so  much about the rich history of these towns. Never quite thought I would be the kind to be excited about history, but I was! We went on a guided walking tour around the city as well, and learned a great deal about Shakespeare’s background.

There is no need to pre-book a spot for the tour, just turn up by the Swan fountain on Waterside, near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Tours run once on Mon-Fri at 11am and twice on Sat-Sun 11am & 2pm. Each tour is approximately 2hrs, and costs £6 per adult.

Distance from London: ~2hrs drive

3. The Cotswolds

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dsc_1205_zpsiwb5zsqkOne of my favourite day trips had to be our visit to the Cotswolds :’) It’s one of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is an area of countryside in England that has been designated for conservation because of its significant landscape value. And there’s a good reason why it is. I fell in love with the Cotswolds. It was simply, naturally breathtaking. Comprising of several towns/areas – Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and more , we only made it to the former two due to time constraints. We only visited for half a day, after we went to Stratford-upon-Avon in the morning, but I highly recommend that you spend a whole day at the Cotswolds because each destination has its own unique, beautiful landscape.

4. Harry Potter Studio 

dsc_1319_zpsnlo7wjweYou’ve probably had enough of me gushing over UK’s gorgeous scenery by now, so here’s something different. Any Potter fans out there?! :D It is an absolute MUST to visit the Warner Bros Studio where you can immerse in the entire experience of the Making of Harry Potter. Thronged by enthusiastic kids around us, we streamed into the Great Hall as if it was our first day at Hogwarts. And we couldn’t help but feel awed by the magnificence of the place.

Crazy fans of the Harry Potter series as we are, we were thrilled to see every part of Hogwarts come alive around us as we explored the studio. It was then I realised the amount of sweat and blood that went into making the 8 Harry Potter movies. The number of crew behind the scenes, the time they put in and the attention to detail rendered me at a loss for words. It was an epic amount of fun (we spent close to 6 hours in there) and yet a very humbling experience. It was magical.

dsc_1382_zpshspnfj6dTickets are priced at £35 per adult. You can check out the opening hours and purchase tickets online at their website.

Duration from London: ~1hr drive

Have you visited any other places outside of London? Do share them with me in the comments below!

All photo credits to my sister <3