Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Seoul Ria review

As mentioned in my odds and ends post in December, my cousin and I went to Seoul Ria on the 8th of December. Now to fill my blog, with an otherwise mundane existence peppered with playing Command and Conquer on the PC, I shall recount the tasty delights of the night.

We arrived quite late at about 10:30pm but much feasting and merriment was still going on. There was a extensive menu with pictures (always good when you are unsure about the cuisine). Korean is a cuisine I had only recently gotten to know a bit more about. This is because when I was living in Singapore a little more than 10 years ago, the experience was limited to korean BBQ buffet places where you fill your plates with raw marinated meats and bbqed then over a charcoal hot plate at your table. I loved the taste of bulgolgi but unfortunately there was not many other varieties to choose from. My cousin who studied in Melbourne berated me last year for not having tried the other dishes which made up korean food. She said she loved it for its variety in side dishes. After reading many food blogs such as Mmm-Yoso, making new online friends such as Milly from Some like it HOT and hanging out with Casey and Clare, I have learned that these are known as panchan.

There was quite a variety here and forgive my ignorance at what the names of these dishes were. I can only say that variety is the spice of life! I enjoyed the texture of the clear blocks of agar like substance which had a texture similar to tofu and had a soy based sauce. The kimchee was very very good, a mixture of sour and salty and hot at the same time with good fresh crunch. Bean sprouts have always been a favourite of mine and these were tossed with some oil and chilli in a wok. The potatoes and green veggies were ok, a bit unmemorable but it made a great time filler snacking on before the dishes arrived. Rice was served in the traditional little stainless steel bowls. There was quite a variety of drinks of the alcoholic nature but we resisted having any, as June had to catch a 7 am flight the next day and guess who was driving her to the airport?

We filled in our time also chatting about what she had learnt about korean culture from watching the TV drama serials which have taken the asian market by storm. She told me that in korean culture, if one is drinking with ones boss or any other superior, you had to turn your head to the side to drink, as a sign of respect. That was really interesting. I love how the world is getting smaller and how we are able to learn about different practices and traditions that make countries and people groups unique. Soon, the entree she had suggested arrived.
This is whole marinated raw blueswimmer crab. I have no idea how long it is marinated for but the sauce it was marinated in sure packed a punch and would probably kill any bugs in it. It was extremely tasty and spicy, hinting of bean paste and hot pepper paste flavours. The texture of the crab was something I might take a while getting used to as the texture of raw crab is not as firm as my beloved raw fish. It is more flaky and in places mealy. The sauce was so good that I scooped up lots to have with my rice, forgetting that we still had a hotpot ordered as our main!

This was waaay more than two girls to eat, even two asian girls with hearty appetites. It was served on top of one of those portable gas stove things and we let it simmer for a while before tucking in. We ended up fishing the "good stuff" such as the prawns and fish out and having to leave a good half of it there. The soup was really tasty and had a kimchee base to it but with a tinge of sweetness from the vegetables. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves steamboat/hot pot stuff. There was a lot of ingredients and defintely more than enough for two. It was pretty reasonably priced too. The whole meal set us back AUD $55. I would defintely be back to Seoul Ria ... there are too many dishes I would love to try.

Seoul-Ria Level 2, 605-609 George St Sydney Chinatown, NSW 2000 Ph:(02) 92690222

I will end this post with a picture taken at the now defunct (yes they went bust, all you ex-Cowra people who might have grown up going to it annually) Marti's Balloon Fiesta. It used to be an annual weekend long festival held each March, the mornings starting with hot air balloon rides and every evening ending with a glow show co-ordinated in time to music and fireworks I went to it twice and the balloon glow was the best part. Unfortunately, rising cost of public liability coupled with dwindling numbers (mostly due to rising costs of tickets) got the better of it. Luckily I got some photos for memories. Love the nudie balloon ;)



At 6:00 PM, Blogger milgwimper said...

YAY! I'm the first to post. I love the crab there is two types one marinated in soysauce, and spices alot more watery, and then there is the one you had which has soysauce but isn't pickled in it and with a lot more spices. Oh I love it. I had it at my wedding, and luckily I got to take the left overs home. Oh Yeah Serious pigging out after the wedding and reception. :)

The white jelly like thing is I think mung bean jelly, and is pretty tasteless by itself, but the sauce and the jelly together. :) There is a darker one made from acorn jelly (dotori mook), which is much firmer.

The soup looks like Kimchi Chigae, but I could be wrong. I need more information.

The Korean dramas are addictive. I really like Dae jang geum. I have only seen episodes here and there, but I am on the wait list at my library for the first couple of episodes. I tend to like the comedies a lot more than anythings else but I do watch the dramas from time to time. If you go to http://www.arirangtv.com and sign up (its free) you can watch some of the dramas they play. Although you only can watch what they play currently and there is not way to go back and look at the back episodes. Unfortunately they don't have Dae Hang geum. *sigh* :)

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S. said...

wow, you guys sure have adventurous tastes! i wish i could eat half the stuff you talk about! i'm an EXTREMELY picky eater, plus i have a "thing" with textures. anything that i perceive to be slimy (however irrational it may be) will instantly trigger a severe gag reflex (just try taking alginate impressions on me, i dare you!). i know i'm missing out on so much, but i just can't help it. i'll just have to live vicariously through you!

my best friend (also named rachel) loves to eat or try anything once. when she was in paris, she was extremely annoyed with how aggresive the pigeons were there, they were really, really annoying her (definitely not an animal lover). when she went out to eat that night, she saw something on the menu that she couldn't translate and asked the waiter. when he said "stuffed pigeon" she immediately said "i want THAT!". i guess it was her own little way of getting revenge, no?

At 5:47 PM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - Looks like some "great grinds", especially the KimChi Jigae!

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Milly, I'm glad I have a friend like you who can tell me all about korean food :) What is the crab and mung bean cake called? LOL wish I was at your wedding :) hey I have a Qn, is DH korean or half korean too?

I started watching the famous korean series Meteor Garden (translated into mandarin) but it had no English subtitles so I stopped coz Richard doesn't understand it. Whats Dae jang geum about?

P/S I remember the phrase Arirang from the olympic games in Seoul. What does it mean?

Dr Mommy !! Welcome back!! LOL I guess you haven't taken any impressions for bleaching trays then =) My hubby is the same with textures. He can't have a hint of gristle in his food or it all goes into "instant replay backwards"

I LOVE your story about your friend. Hehe thats one less pigeon for her to worry about.

kirky, yeah it was great ... too bad you guys weren't around to help finish the big pot!

At 10:41 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...


The crab is called Gae muchim, the soy sauce version which is more common is Gan jjang gejang. The mung bean pancakes are Bindaedduk. DH is all white, but my family comments that he eats like a Korean (except for raw foods).

It is about the first Royal female Physcian (a true person in history although I think a lot of this was made up, but not sure) that starts off in the kitchen of the royal palace, but through help she becomes the royal physician. I have only seen 3 episodes, and the food nearly killed me in the drama. I am on the wait list to see the drama from the begining. I am hoping it has subtitles or DH is out of luck.

At 2:45 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...


Sorry I forgot to finish commenting. Arirang is a name of several mountain passes in Korea, but its is most famously known as the title to some Korean folk songs, which have somewhere between 100-200 more or less variations. The most famous version being the one from Seoul...( I think thats the most famous one, but I could be wrong. I will have to look it up again)

I would have loved to have you at my wedding, and reception! You would have enjoyed the food.I had a western and Korean wedding ceremony. I barely ate anything during the wedding, and everyone kept saying how wonderful the food was, but I barely had any. :( Then as they were packing away my cake, and some of the left over food for me to take home, someone walked off with several boxes of food. Luckily they left the box with the crabs, and some of the other delicacies. :) I got home and ripped thoses boxes wide open! LOL


Post a Comment

<< Home