Category Archives: food

Food Poisoning Before Flying

It was 3am when I woke up groaning. My stomach felt weird. Not painful, not bloated, just weird.

I got out of bed and headed straight to the bathroom. Soon enough my head was in the toilet, vomiting. Food poisoning. I didn’t know whether it was the shrimp I’d eaten on a boat trip or the three cheese pasta from that night. I guess I’ll never know. Continue reading Food Poisoning Before Flying

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An In-Depth Guide to Visiting a Korean BBQ Restaurant (in Korea)

One of the most daunting things to do in Korea is to go to a Korean barbecue.

I’m ashamed to admit it took us a few months to go to a barbecue by ourselves We were fearing the whole situation because our Korean was so bad and we didn’t know how it all worked. We didn’t want to mess up or commit some major faux-pas so we mostly hid at home.

In the end the only thing that set my mind at ease was doing copious amounts of research so that I was completely prepared before I stepped through the doors. Later – after going to restaurants a few times – I realised we were scared for no reason at all. Going to a Korean barbecue is simple!

Continue reading An In-Depth Guide to Visiting a Korean BBQ Restaurant (in Korea)

The Best Places to Not Visit in New York

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The main aim of all travel is to have a good experience. Something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

When we travel we go to great lengths to produce a memorable experience for ourselves. Spend bags of money trying to create the perfect moment or memory. The ironic thing is that years later the things we remember aren’t what we originally set out to see.

A few winters ago, my girlfriend and I visited New York City. If you ask me what I remember from that time then I’d have to be truthful and say not a lot. My memories are hazy, made up of small seemingly meaningless images or moments that seem unconnected by any theme. The only connecting factor is that they happened in New York.

Continue reading The Best Places to Not Visit in New York

The Shame of Eating Hamburgers Abroad

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The further you get from a country, the worse its food tastes. Maybe it’s because the further you get, the less likely you are to have your food cooked by a native cook. Possibly the same fresh regional ingredients are impossible to come by in other parts of the world so the meal could never taste the same. The best place to eat sushi is in Japan, cooked by Japanese chefs with Japanese ingredients. The worst place would be in Brazil, cooked by Brazilian chefs with Brazilian ingredients. 

Continue reading The Shame of Eating Hamburgers Abroad

A Guide to Korean Fried Chicken (치킨)

If you find this guide informative, be sure to check out my Korean BBQ guide.

If there’s one thing Koreans love, it’s fried chicken. Fried chicken places can be found on almost every block, just look for the hanguel 치킨. This hanguel phonetically sounds like chee-keen and is only used to signify fried chicken, so if you find it in the name of a shop it’s almost definitely going to be selling fried chicken.

If you’re somehow unable to find a fried chicken place, type 치킨 into Google Maps or Naver Maps and it should bring up every chicken seller in your area. Many are independent businesses, but just as many are major franchises.

Walking into one of these places can be quite intimidating, as often they’re small, dark and empty. Most people ring up for delivery (which you can do too) so often you’ll just find a kitchen and a cook in a tiny room. But don’t be too intimidated, these guys want your money, so they’ll be patient while you attempt to explain what you want. Don’t know what you want, or can’t read the menu? Forget about it. Daniel is here to help with ㅁ handy list of common items. I would say this list is good for most chicken places (inc KyoChon (교촌치킨), Boor (부어치킨), BHC, Toreore (또래오래), Hosigi (호식이치킨)).

Often chicken places have little magnetic menus to put on your fridge. If you find a good chicken place nearby, take their menu home and translate it, that way you’ll definitely know what you want each time you go in. It’s a pathetic way of living your life, but it’s better than starving.

<한마리> hanmari – one portion / one whole chicken
<두마리> doomari – two portions / two whole chickens
<반> ban – half portion

<순살> soonsal – boneless chicken
<윙> weeng / <날개> nal-gae – wings
<봉> bong – drumlettes
<다리> da-lee – legs
<텐더> tehn-daw – tenders
<콤보> kom-boh – combo, usually a mixture of chicken cuts (wings and drumlettes usually)
<국내산> gook-nae-san – domestic chicken (from Korea)

Usually menus are split up in some way, either by amount (look for doo <두> (2) and han <한> (1)) or by type of chicken. Set menus <>  are common, which will often be two items separated by a plus symbol (+), so if you want two boxes of chicken go for one of these, usually a set menu also comes with a bottle of cola and a disgusting packet of pickled radish. The standard box of chicken is a whole chicken that has been cut into pieces and fried. If you’re not a fan of boney chicken, ensure you pick an item with <순살> in it.

Types of Chicken

<양념> yeung-nyam – fried chicken tossed in sweet sauce
<간장> ganjang / <소이> soh-ee – fried chicken in soy sauce
<후라이드> who-la-ee-duh – plain old fried chicken
<오리지날> oh-lee-jee-nal – original chicken (plain old fried chicken again)
<매운> mae-oon / <매콤한> mae-kom-han / <핫> hat – spicy chicken
<파닭> pa-dal – topped with raw onions
<마늘> ma-neul – garlicy
<크리스피> kuh-lee-suh-pee – crispy
<불닭> bool-dal – very spicy chicken

These are some common items found on fried chicken menus. Unfortunately it would be impossible to list every chicken item, as often chicken restaurants have their own names for their chicken which tell you nothing about the product itself. Think of it this way, if you’d never been to McDonalds before, would you even know what is in a Bigmac? When in doubt go for yeungnyam chicken, it’s the tastiest for sure.

Random Menu Terms

<소스> soh-suh – sauce
<맛> mat – flavor (eg. <매운맛> – mae-oon-mat – spicy flavor)
<콜라> koh-la – cola
<생맥> saeng-mak – draft beer
<맥주> mak-jew – beer
<세트> seh-tuh meh-nyoo – set menu
<시리즈> see-lee-juh – series (used to denote a category of chicken)
<만> man – only (eg. <다리만> – legs only)
<와> wah – with (eg. <날개와다리> – wings with legs)

How to Buy Korean Fried Chicken

Here’s a step by step run down of buying chicken in Korea directly from the chicken shop.

1. Walk into the shop. As I mentioned they’re usually tiny places, so you’ll be noticed immediately. Saying hello will be a great first step. Sometimes they’ll give you a little menu, sometimes they’ll point to a menu on the wall.

2. Decide what you want. The majority of the time, the menu will have pictures making this as easy as pointing. If it doesn’t you can do the classic travellers technique of picking something random. If you’re not that adventurous and know a little hanguel, you could use the food guide above to choose something. My suggestion is you just buy some <양념치킨> yeungnyam chicken (yeung-nyam chee-keen juseyo), it’s usually the tastiest and is available at pretty much every chicken place.

3. If you want to have your chicken delivered, hand your address over. I find its much easier to just write my address on a post-it and hand it over, that way there’s no miscommunication and it’s easy for them to know I want it delivered. If you choose a nearby chicken place, they’ll have no problems knowing where you live either.

4. Hand over your money and leave. If you don’t want your food delivered, take a seat and wait, it usually takes 15-20 minutes. Easy.

My level of Korean is pretty much 1/10, but I’ve managed to order Korean fried chicken multiple times. If in doubt, use the age old technique of shrugging while looking confused. You’ll look like a schmuck, but you’ll get your chicken eventually.

Good luck.

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Photo by hermitsmoores on Flickr.