Hard to pronounce, easy to eat: "bindaetteok" in Gwangjang Market
For over a century, Seoul's Gwangjang Market has been a destination for snack-seekers. The labyrinthine passageways are covered and you can find anything from knock-off shoes ("fira" instead of "Fila," for example) to chili powder and embroidered silk. But eating takes center-stage in these aisles, especially during lunch-hour.
One of the most popular dishes is "bindaetteok" (pronunciation explained below)--a 'pancake' made from a batter of freshly ground mung beans embedded with scallions and kimchi. Brave the crowds, order and then grab a seat; stools crowd around griddles while chopsticks jab at all the fried deliciousness....Order some milky makkeoli ("mahk-go-lee") rice wine to wash it down...
"bindaetteok"--rendering Korean into English is tricky; think of saying "bean-debt-dock" with the last T of 'debT' and the following 'D' of 'debt' 'stuck' together.
And 'market' is pronounced "shee-jahng."
To get here by subway: Take Line 1 to Jong-no 5-ga station and take one of the exits on the south side of Jong-no street. (Sometimes spelled "Jong-ro")
To walk off all the mung-beany-ness afterwards, stroll along the banks of Chong-gye-cheon stream, just to the south of the Market.
(If you want a taste of this Seoul-food before going, see link to recipe below...)