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Sitting in Sand and Sippin’ Something Sweet in Seoul

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Hey there!  So this post is just going to be a quick review of a unique watering hole that I recently tried in Itaewon.  It’s called the Bungalow, and it’s located at 112-3 Itaewon-dong Yongsan-gu Seoul South Korea.  You have to go to the Itaewon metro stop and go out exit 2.  Walk past the Hamilton Hotel, and make a left on the first street on your left.  You’ll walk past the Flying Pan on your right hand side, and you’ll make a right on the next road you encounter.  Walk straight past Tomatillo, and it’ll be on your left hand side.IMG_1177

I originally was supposed to go here with my friend a month ago, but I was in severe pain from a soccer injury.  Sadly, I had to pass since I couldn’t even climb the steps it had gotten that bad.  This time around, I was fully able, and walked up the stairs to see what I had been missing all this time.  It was softly lit, but there were Halloween decorations everywhere including plenty of flickering candles, skeletons, and bats.  We went upstairs, and it definitely had more of a tropical theme going on with the surf shack room that stood opposite our unique seating arrangement.  My friend had originally told me that you could sit in swinging beach chairs and put your feet in sand and a pool.  Our seats sadly were not big beach chairs, but we got lucky enough to sink our feet in some cool, clean white sand.

Just hanging with random Koreans in the beach room

Just hanging with random Koreans in the beach room.  Note how all their legs are crossed underneath them.

It was hilarious watching the Koreans react to the beach room.   They would refuse to sit in the sand room if there were other seats available.  If they did end up sitting in the beach room, they act out their own version of the kid’s game “The Floor is Lava” as they walked on the furniture to avoid contact with the sand.   This show was worth the price of admission, but I also wanted a drink to go along with the spectacle.  So, I browsed through their menu which had cocktails, beer, non-alcoholic drinks, and food.  Initially, I wanted to get a drink in a coconut, but they were all sold out.  So, I went for a Hawaiian Punch (10,000) which consisted of rum and vodka and various fruit juices.IMG_1179  A point of interest was the fact that my friend’s non-alcoholic drink was more expensive than mine.  I like the cut of your jib, Bungalow.  The presentation was pretty good as it was served out of a cup that was designed to look like a bamboo shoot shorn in half, and there was a skewer of pineapple and cherries sticking out of it.  Tastewise, it was everything I was expecting from a tropical drink:  fruity, sweet, and with a slight kick at the end that reminded me I was drinking alcohol.  Overall, the Bungalow wasn’t anything close to lounging out on a beach in Bora Bora with a drink in my hand, but it was a fun experience to have my own sandy piece of paradise within a bar.

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“Aloha” Means Both “Hello” and “High Prices”

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Hey, everyone!  Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues!  Today’s post is about a little establishment called Aloha Table.  I recently went there to celebrate my friend Jasmine’s new job she’ll be taking up in China.   I chose Aloha Table because neither of us had been there, and I also had never tried Hawaiian food.  It’s located at 364-14, Seogyo-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, and here is their website.

When we got there, it was a little bizarre in terms of its entrance comparative to the sign that advertises the restaurant.  If you see the small, overhanging Aloha Table sign, don’t go into the door directly below it since it is a simple cafe that isn’t affiliated with the Hawaiian eatery.  Instead walk past it, and you’ll find the exquisite, black lacquered wood entrance complete with tropical plants and tiki torches at night.

Trying to be Korean with doing hand signals in pictures

Trying to be Korean with doing hand signals in pictures

We ended up being blessed with beautiful weather at night to enjoy the crowded patio.  At first, they said there was no room for a table of two, and then asked whether we’d prefer the inside seats or the outside seats.  I voiced the shared opinion that we’d like an outdoor table, and within two minutes, we were seated at a cozy table and within view of the open air grill.

The beautiful patio

The beautiful patio

The smell alone was worth the price of admission.  There were mostly Koreans there, and when we saw the menu, we could see they adjusted their prices for that reason since Koreans love to spend money on expensive food.  That and some of the ingredients are hard to get in Korea.  However, I was highly suspicious of the menu when they had pho on it, but no Hawaiian staples like Spam and poi.  They had different types of grilled meats (chicken, steak) along with burgers and salads.  Either way, we were starving and planned on making the most of our adventure.  We started with splitting a  pitcher of Blue Hawaii (30,000 W) which made sense economically since the average price of a drink was 9,000 W.IMG_0980  The downside when it came out was the fact that the pitcher was smaller than we thought as shown in the following picture.

I seriously don't have Shaq hands

I seriously don’t have Shaq hands

That and the fact that it tasted like we were drinking juice didn’t really justify the price.   As for food, I got a loco moco which is a Hawaiian classic dish that was invented in the 1940s and is extremely popular throughout the Pacific Islands.  I thought it was funny because it literally means, “crazy mucus” in Spanish, but my ahi ahi bowl (16,000 W) didn’t contain any bodily fluids thankfully.  My dining companion got the spicy pork rib (27,000 W).  When they both came out, I felt like I should have got the ribs with how hungry I was, but the ahi ahi moco didn’t let me down.IMG_0983  Not only did it have tender pink pieces of tuna, but the avocado, sprigs of green onion, and wasabi all mixed together within the fresh white rice to create a light yet satisfying dinner.  The lettuce on top was like a mini salad since it was drizzled with a ranch-esque dressing that didn’t quite possess the same spices like ranch dressing back home.  It was the opposite to the hulking plate of ribs on the other side of the table. IMG_0982 Not only was there a molehill of meat on the plate but a mini corn cob and a smidgen of mashed potatoes.  I didn’t try the potatoes, but the corn was perfectly grilled sans butter.  As for the ribs, they were great.  Not the best ribs I’ve ever had, but they had a great smoky sauce that is quite rare to find in Korea since Korean bbq doesn’t have any equivalent.  They also had little to no fat on them, but they weren’t overloaded with meat on the bone.  I could tell that traveling through the American South had spoiled me.

We both left greatly satisfied with our meal but not too happy with the prices.  Plus, on our way out we had our picture taken by and with fellow Korean diners we didn’t even know. IMG_0989 Why?  I have yet to hear an explanation to this phenomenon, but it was an odd end to a wonderful dining experience. So if you want to try Aloha House, remember that you’re getting high quality food with equally high prices, but it’s still a great place to try out.

 

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