Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recent eats: Outback, Doughnut Plant, Haemultang, Mr. Pizza, and good ol' Starbucks

I can't believe I ended up at Outback Steakhouse again - I believe it's my third visit in Korea. This time, it was a result of desperately seeking a well air-conditioned area that would allow for ample loitering time. Around Sinchon, I couldn't really think of anything else off the top of my head. I was really craving naengmyun, but you can't typically "hang out" in a naengmyun restaurant, considering that it takes about 5 minutes to slurp down on a summer day.

Lunch specials at Outback range from around $15-30, depending on your entree, and come with:
  • All you can eat bread and butter (Don't forget to ask for 1. chocolate dipping sauce on the side and 2. packaged loaves of bread to go, I'm not kidding.)
  • Pickles (You can't escape them in Korea! But Outback's taste fresher and are less sweet than most other restaurants'.)
  • Soup of the day
  • 2 beverages - soda during the meal, and coffee/green tea after the meal.
Not a bad deal, considering the plates are pretty huge and very easily sharable. We opted for the "spicy rice" dish with chicken and shrimp, which was better than I expected.


Recently checked out the newly opened Doughnut Plant branch (an American import) in Sinchon. With Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Paris Baguette, Crown Bakery, and a whole bunch of cafes around the corner, I wonder if this place will survive, with its pricey organic donuts? I like the "all natural" concept - these donuts are free of preservatives, artificial flavoring, eggs, and transfats - but I wasn't particularly impressed with our first visit's $3.60 peanut butter and raspberry jelly square donut. As you might tell, it's pretty freakin' huge, but also a little dry, and could use a little more peanut flavor. Apparently the cake donuts are tastier - I'll have to try that on my next go.


Oh, Korean pizza... In middle school, I remember telling my Italian friend about how I loved cheese stuffed crusts (Pizza Hut), blueberry cinnamon dessert pizzas (again, Pizza Hut), and pineapple and chicken pizza dipped in butter (Papa John's). Needless to say, he was pretty offended. I can only imagine his reaction if he were to visit a Korean pizza chain!

I've taken quite a liking to Mr. Pizza. In particular, I enjoy the salad buffet bar (the hobak salad is amazzzng), and the fact that you can stuff your crust with sweet potato puree. I mean, it doesn't get much more absurdly delicious than that. But a pizza lunch for 2 here will easily set you back $25 - 30. (After a few months, you start to think in terms of Korean meal prices. Everything's relative... when you can get a roll of kimbap for a dollar fifty or a bowl of soondubu jjigae for a fiver.)


I thought it was about time I give a shout out to Starbucks. It doesn't get much better than the classic soy vanilla latte. Soy milk substitutes aren't very common in other coffee shops, so I usually default to Starbucks when I'm on the go. There's just something about you, Starbucks. You will always hold a place in my heart and wallet wherever I go - and you don't even pass out loyalty cards!


Haemultang is a spicy and slightly sweet soup served with vegetables, rice cakes, and a variety of seafood. We ordered the "can you not make it so spicy" version, and trust me, it does a decent job at setting your mouth on fire on a hot day, especially once you turn off the heat, and the broth starts to thicken!

Next on my to eat list, after having read this article... fondue! Anyone want to join me? : )


Jenna said...

My friend is going to be teaching in Seoul in spring of next year. I have been teasing her about the pizza that she'll get there. She is open to lots of food, but still pretty picky, so I wonder what she will be eating! I have to introduce her to your blog soon. :)

Daniel Gray said...

I'm not impressed with Donut Plant. They are overpriced and under-flavored. Hey have you had the Grand Prix pizza with the cookie crust? My friend Zenkimchi says it's not that bad- as long as the cheese and shrimp don't touch the cookie crust. It even comes with a blueberry dipping sauce. There are 3 or 4 costcos in Seoul. I usually go to the one in Yangjae.


Richard said...

I really like Haemultang. I brought my adopted parents and sister to Korea in May. We went to this one restaurant and ordered a non-spicy version of Haemultang. They brought out 2 live octopus which they cooked at the table! Needless to say, I was surprised, and my sister wouldnt eat

I have read a lot of your posts, but I have not seen anything on my personal favorite dish: Andong Sim Daek (or maybe Jim Daek?). Dont know how to translate it into english. But basically its spicy chicken with noodles (similar to jap chae noodles) with potatoes and carrots. Very good with beer (as most spicy food in korea is). Have you had this?

Cheri said...

I can't wait to try Grand Prix... looking that up right now!

Richard - I wouldn't eat live octopus either. : ) And yep, I've had 닭찜 a few times so far... not sure if I'm spelling that right. It's definitely delicious... kind of reminds me of an unassumingly spicy chicken sukiyaki dish!

Here's a pic I took from one of the restaurants we ate it at... : )

Richard said...

Here is the picture my friend took at the place we ate at! By the way. Is it Dalk Jim or Jim Dalk. I have seen signs written the way you wrote it(which is correct) but when I talk about it with my Korean friends its always Andong Jim Dalk (the syllables in reverse of how your typed it). Anyways it is probably my favorite dish. And I like it SPICY!! :)

You know where you put it in your mouth and its so spicy everyone at the table is sweating and "slurping" the food. Drinking water, beer, and pop to help cool things off.

Unfortunately Im in Africa now, and this is making me really miss Korea :(

BTW. I really enjoy reading your and Daniel Gray's blogs...I like thinking about my trips to Korea and your blogs remind me of stuff Ive seen and done there.

Cheri said...

thanks for reading : )
and... i think you're right - might be 찜닭... i'll ask a friend next time. btw, i ate it again tonight for dinner. will post pics. they all tend to look the same, no? (yours looked equally delicious.) and taste the same (or similar), in my experience, no matter where you go, haha...

ESL Jobs in Korea said...

now i'm hungry..hehe...