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exit strategy: leaving korea painlessly



'I am just leaving the country, not the people'
a little bird told me when I was leaving... 

Friends, family, and readers-I have left Korea recently to pursue some amazing opportunites in the U.S. Although I have left the country that I dearly love, I hope that all of you will continue this food journey with me as I eat my way around the U.S. and other countries.  My experience in Seoul cannot be put into words, and the memories and stories will always remain with me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for walking with me all these years! 

Everything starts again...

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the dirty dirty about the secret love sauce: linus exposed

The amazing pulled pork sandwich (photograph by Alec Kim)


Before you even start reading this, your curiosity may have peaked just at the title of the post.  So what's this 'dirty dirty' about Linus Kim? Well, the story starts from Alabama where he grew up in the 70's-80's.  This guy probably loves barbeque more than anyone I know.  We've been friends since 1997. Ok, that sounds so ancient. I've seen Linus through thick and thin, we drove each other crazy over the years, but maintained our strong friendship. I think it was our jjimjilbang moments that saved our friendship as it was the 'neutral zone', where we would pig out on Korean snacks and watch Korean dramas.  A man of many talents, but one thing that stands out with the most gusto: his skills and knowledge about pork. He really does have a refined palate that you can't even be sneaky when you cook, because he'll call you out on all your secrets! haha.

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Jars of hwangari at Hahoe village.


Food tour in Andong. Start time 7am. 3.5 hours.

Actually it was more than just a food tour. More like 'Korean style oriental herb healing tour,' as it's actually titled. The tour was led by 'Big Farm', which is a creative hub for agriculture here in Korea, alongside Ongo Food communications. They teamed up to lead this tour for mostly foreigners in Korea who were interested in diving into the world of farming.  


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ariake at the shilla

Squid sashimi with fresh yuzu zest.


For this post, I think I'll just let the photos speak for themselves.  I can confidently say... that this is the best sushi I have had in Korea!  Recently, a friend introduced me to this sushi haven at the Shilla hotel-Ariake. We were fortunate to dine at the sushi bar, and the experience was just pure joy.  A few things that I have never tried before-like the squid sashimi with yuzu zest-wow.  I'm personally not a huge fan of squid, but the way Chef Song prepared it almost paper thin, with the texture so rich and buttery-I'm converted.  I thought they marinated it in something profound, but soon found out that it was just the pure quality of the squid, haha. The toro & uni were exceptional, and I observed some techniques that were truly quite unique & refined at Ariake. Perhaps you can only see this kind of sophistication at hotels like the Shilla and of course Japan? Haha.  Oh do I hope to visit again soon~

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bloom & goûté


So here's another cafe to put on your list if you're in Seoul.  Coffee+flowers+desserts+brunch+Linus' southern smoked bbq pork!!!   

The first Bloom & Goûté was off of the main Garosugil street for years-this is their new location which is one street over that recently opened this summer, still in Sinsa-dong.  For those familiar with Garosugil/Sinsa-dong area, you will notice that there have been some major changes in the last few years.  Quite different from when I lived there a few years ago. The local, artsy, boutique cafes are slowly disappearing, and the big brother is taking over the whole block!  Ugh. However, the previous owners will not put their guard down...instead they seem to relocate their business near there for their loyal customers.  Bloom & Goûté is just one of those cafes.  Similar to their first location, they have a flower shop inside the cafe, as well as a good selection of desserts and coffee.  I actually prefer their new location, as the interior is done well, and there is a huge improvement on their savory menu.  Their savory menu only provides brunch, but the best part about it is that their croque monsieur & the eggs benedict has my good friend Linus' smoked pork! Ok, I checked this cafe out for this very reason.  Never would have come up with southern style (Alabama that is) smoked pork with melted gruyere & parmesan cheese in a sandwich!  You may have heard of Linus' famous smoked bbq in Seoul, doing pop-up's and catering events...I will be doing a follow up post about his goods.

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