Daily Life Food Korea Trips & Travels

I ate blowfish and survived: Seoul food adventures

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I toyed with the idea of trying blowfish in Busan, but chickened out. On a hungry afternoon in Seoul, we headed to a highly-recommended fugu specialty restaurant for a lunch set-meal. I didn’t get any photos of a couple dishes because I imagined a numb sensation on my mouth and impending paralysis/death. Of course, it was false alarm and the fugu was especially delicious breaded + deep-fried.

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Fugu skin salad

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Fugu soup with crunchy bean-sprouts

**  A quick update in April 2014: The fugu restaurant is called Il-Bok and it’s conveniently located in Seoul’s Hongdae Area, between the Hongik University station and the Hapjeong station. They have English and Japanese translations for the set menu items at the restaurant, and you can see the main chef prepare your fish to order. I hear you can get blowfish katsu here!

Address for Il-Bok: 33, Hongik-ro 5-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea (Google Map)

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I spent a good part of my afternoon walking off the fugu meal around Insadong, drinking tea and visiting shops.

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A cozy cafe on the rooftop of ssamziegil with handwritten notes left by people

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Green-tea bingsoo (shaved ice with a scoop of green tea ice cream + mini rice cakes and shaved almonds)

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A Korean temple restaurant where we had 20+ plates of vegetarian food

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I loved the scallion and enoki mushroom salad paired with the fried veggies

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Plenty of mountain vegetables!

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I was a bit overwhelmed!

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Fluffy tea snacks and cold cinnamon tea

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Project Fukushima! is an initiative to raise awareness through a sychronized festival held in Fukushima and around the world. Yogiga Gallery in Seoul hosted the event, where Taurin was invited to perform alongside Korean and Japanese artists.

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Taurin’s set involved live recordings of salt and water to create ambient noise.

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Rie Tahiti flew in from Japan. P.S. You can spot me taking photos in the darkness!

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Sato Yuki

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And just like that, I’ve left Korea. I’m in a brand new city where I don’t know anyone, but I’ve found a perfect two-story apartment with a spiral staircase and a cozy windowseat. More about that later this weekend!

35 Comments

  • Reply
    ZEOLITE
    August 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    hahahha, the blowfish placebo effect. I’m glad you survived! Also can’t wait to see photos of your spiral staircase!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 2:46 am

      I kept asking Taurin if he was feeling it, too. And yesss, I’m moving in today! :]

  • Reply
    Vanessa, Take only Memories
    August 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Looks like you had a fantastic time! Those fish are awesome!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 2:47 am

      Thank you! I know I felt a little guilty about eating those puffy fish… 😛

  • Reply
    Crystal
    August 20, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Great pictures and stories to go along with them! I’ve gone back through past posts and am so happy to have found your blog! I’m incredibly jealous of your adventures but I love reading about them and seeing the pictures!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 2:49 am

      Thank you! xx

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 20, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Looks like you went to Sanchon!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 7:14 am

      Yeah! I got a little lost getting there because of the rain and all those winding alleyways. A nice lady at the flower shop gave me really good directions. :]

  • Reply
    Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys
    August 20, 2011 at 4:24 am

    These are such great pictures Sewon, they give me a real feel for the place. The new apartment sounds amazing though… hope there’ll be pictures of that soon too! I love windowseats. ; )

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Thank you! I’m moving in today, so hopefully I’ll get settled in quickly. I’m really excited to not live out of my suitcase anymore!

  • Reply
    Celsy
    August 20, 2011 at 5:35 am

    W00t blowfish, never had one! I’m a huge fan of korean food, i live close to a korean restaurant actually! haha yumm. Your adventure is so exciting, makes me want to go on a journey right now. That cafe is amazing and your apartment sound real good. I’m sure by the time i see the post, i would want to move out form my place!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 7:19 am

      Ohh I think I’ll be living fairly close to a Korean restaurant here, too. I’m sure I’ll want a kimchi fix at some point! :]

  • Reply
    Annie
    August 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I’m finding myself drooling, again, at all your pictures of food. I’m loving being able to follow your adventures :)

    annie | WEMAKEPLANS

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you! I’m in Yunnan now…I can’t wait to travel around this area and see those water buffalos!

  • Reply
    Maria
    August 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

    always love your photos.
    can’t wait to see your new apartment!
    have a wonderful weekend.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you! I’ll have to finish unpacking my things so I can post photos soon!

  • Reply
    yujean
    August 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    ohhh everything looks amazing!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      :]

  • Reply
    STARR
    August 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    definitely somthing I want to try one day!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      You should, but only ones prepared by master fugu chefs!

  • Reply
    vicky
    August 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    oh your adventures sound/look just so brilliant. wish i could have heard one of taurin’s shows! and tried togu! even though it sounds/looks lethal! haha. xx vicky

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks! I think you’d really like Seoul. I’m loving your festival photos, by the way!

  • Reply
    Rina
    August 23, 2011 at 5:55 am

    What a fun story! If I get the chance, maybe I’ll try blowfish…
    yummy food!!!
    Ms. Sewon you are so pretty! Your facial expression is so cute!!
    Project Fukushima looks fun. I think I do see you in the video! haha
    Looking forward to seeing some pictures of your new apartment!
    Happy moving!
    xoxo

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Haha, thank you! I know I’m in the darkness trying to take photos discretely, as usual. :] xx

  • Reply
    catarina
    August 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    how i wish i’d been there. would you send me some green-tea bingsoo?

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      Yes! I wish I could somehow send you a bowl of green-tea bingsoo. It’s sooo delicious.

  • Reply
    Eileen
    August 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    You make me want to visit South Korea. Amazing.

    I do agree: You have the cutest expression.

  • Reply
    Paolina
    August 24, 2011 at 2:21 am

    it looks like your having a lot of fun. you do so many cool things

    Paolina
    check me out!

    calurvillade.blogspot.com.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 25, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Gosh you take the best photos. Also, re: fugu–you’re so brave! I’m too much of a baby to try stuff like that but I do believe you when you say that it was delicious :)

  • Reply
    Amelia
    August 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    So much deliciousness in one post!

    I like your hair ribbon, it’s very cute!

    Good luck wherever you are!

  • Reply
    Cin
    February 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Fugu!! We’re going to be in Seoul late april. Could you tell me what the name of the Fugu place is? Where in Insadong? Thanks so much!!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 16, 2013 at 2:20 am

      Hi Cin, the Fugu place was not in Insadong, actually. It’s called Il-bok (http://www.ilbok.com/). They have blowfish set-menu courses you can choose from, and you can see the main chef handling the blowfish once you place the order.

      • Reply
        Cin
        February 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        Morning Sewon!

        Ah I see! I think the one I saw on Bizarre Foods was of a place on Insadong (but can’t tell for sure since I can’t read Korean). I just wanted to go there because it has been in business for 6 generations, so I can rest assure that they know what they’re doing =)

        Thank you for the link. Im not sure if it’s a glitch in my computer, but it’s not translating the website….so I can’t tell where the location is/which neighborhood,etc.

        Alll i can understand is the prices listed, but not what dishes it’s for. Lol!

        Any other suggestions is helpful. I’m going to be staying in Itaewon, but planning on going to a different neighborhood every day. I wish Seoul had Yelp! It would be so much easier to look things up, lol

        • Reply
          Sewon
          April 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm

          Hi Cin,

          I’m so sorry this is a belated reply, but I wanted to add it, in case anyone else is looking for the same information!

          The fugu restaurant is called Il-Bok and it’s conveniently located in Seoul’s Hongdae Area, between the Hongik University station and the Hapjeong station. They have English and Japanese translations for the set menu items at the restaurant, so it shouldn’t be too difficult!

          Address for Il-Bok: 33, Hongik-ro 5-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea (Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/nvaQ0)

  • Reply
    BlowFish SEO
    June 5, 2016 at 5:45 am

    I came across this post while I was looking for my site really great pictures and stories to go along with them!I am so happy to have found your blog! I’m excited to see your adventures and like reading about them and seeing the pictures

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