18th Oct 2019 (2nd Day in Seoul)
A Local Wet Market Nearby…
Found a local wet market, Gongdeok Market, near our hotel on Trip Advisor, which I had scheduled for a visit first thing this day in our itinerary. Thought it would be a good way to get a feel on how the locals live in Seoul.
After taking our time to “wake up naturally” and prepare, we arrived at the market around 0130 pm, pretty much just in time for lunch. At this time the market was kind of quiet, devoid of the morning shoppers.
Constant Companion RR and I took a quick walk around the wet market. For the most part, the sight and smell were very much similar to the wet markets we have back home. I thought that the wall-sized chiller, displaying hanging slabs of meat, at the butcher was kind of cool.
A Lunch of “Potato” and “Noodle”
Hoping to get some lunch, Constant Companion RR and I searched around the vicinity until we chanced upon this eatery along the road. We had no idea what it sells, there was no menu to refer to, only a few rows of Korean written, from top to down, displaying on the wall.
However, there was a small crowd dining within and the eatery looked well maintained and clean, we decided to give it a shot and walked right in.
We were ushered to a table and quickly, we realised that communication was going to be an issue. There was no English menu and the aunty who was attending to us, does not speak the language as well. We stared at each other awkwardly for a while, contemplating whether or not to just stand up and leave, but feeling a bit too embarrassed to do so. It was then another aunty came and took over.
We still did not know what kind of food they sell, Constant Companion RR asked her a couple of Korean dishes (some tofu kimchii soup) she knows, in Korean. From her gestures, the aunty said they are not in their menu.
Finally, aunty suggested something using only two English words, “Potato” and “Noodle”. Almost glad that we could finally get something to eat, we agreed with her recommendation.
Soon, aunty brought us a container with two kind of preserved vegetables and two bowls of rice as an appetizer I guess. She instructed us to add a bit of the oil and condiments on our table like “you know bibimbap?” onto our rice. Not bad, pretty good.
A little later, the “Potato” and “Noodles” star of our meal was brought to our table. To simply describe this dish, it is noodles in potato based soup. In the soup, seaweed, rice cake, 1 slice of cucumber and 1 slice of carrot. It tasted quite good and was extremely filling (rice cake and noodles in a thick potato broth).
I do not know too much on Korean cuisine but this bowl of noodles feels very traditional, using only simple ingredients and so “carb” heavy. I can imagine it is some kind of comfort food for strong men who work the field everyday.
Anyway, due to Constant Companion RR’s distaste for rice flour-based food like noodles and rice cake/ mochi, as expected, she barely touched her bowl. I believed she sipped a bit of the rich potato broth, nibbled a little of the noodles and polished up her single slice of cucumber and carrot. Then she went back to munch on the preserved vegetables, while stirring through the noodles with her chopsticks, searching for any pieces of vegetables she might have missed.
I did not want the aunties or the chef to feel offended, so I tried to finish my portion as much as possible, slurping down the broth after I was done with the noodles and rice cake. It was not that hard as it was a rather enjoyable bowl of noodles.
We thanked the aunties, paid for our food and legged it to our next destination. Fueled by my bowl of “potato noodles”, I was full of energy to set off. Before that, we needed to find something to fill Constant Companion RR up though.