A Taste of Korea
For some people, Korea is not truly experienced until they unlock its vibrant flavors. Seoul is rife with a huge variety of restaurants serving up an authentic taste of Korea, one bite at a time. Seoul's many restaurants offer steaming bowls of rice porridge, sizzling beef barbecue and crackling bacon to please even the most discerning of diners. One thing is for certain in Seoul, one taste will leave you seriously hankering for more.

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Hard to Pronounce, Easy to Eat: "Bindaetteok" in Gwangjang Market

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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 on a stool. Order some milky makkeoli ("mahk-go-lee") rice wine to wash it down.

Pronunciation tips:
"Bindaetteok"—rendering Korean into English is tricky; think of saying "bean-debt-dock."
"Gwangjang"—think "gwahng-jahng."
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...)

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by Joseph Cyr
AFAR Local Expert
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