Because expats and locals are always a great source of information…
To skip the story and go directly to the tips on where to eat in Gyeongju : here
Like very often in this incredible adventure, we’ve been well inspired (especially Max) as soon as we arrived in Gyeongju. And the inspiration this time is called “Nahbi brunch“.
In a few words… We were a bit upset and sad because of the quality of the food in Seoraksan. This park is well too touristic to be a good place to discover korean food. The persons cooking in the different restaurants don’t really need to mind the quality of the products they use and how they treat them as they don’t need to win the loyalty of any customer, as a result, everything tastes the same, a strange mix of black pepper and dust. So sad !
We were therefore in Gyeongju, looking for something fresh, easy and occidental to eat. This is where we found Nahbi brunch and its club style sandwiches with bacon, eggs, tomato, lettuce, cheese, well served and super fresh. But on top of answering our need of occidental food, what changed the game of our stay in gyeongju was the hospitality of our host. Without us noticing, after a few minutes spent with Nahbi, we already had 2 restaurants’ names in our pocket and an invitation to come to an expat event later in the evening.
A few hours later, we were surrounded by englishmen, americans, canadians who wanted to meet foreigners, koreans who wanted to improve their english and a belgian beer (well, Hoegaarden, but belgian anyway). And we suddenly felt at home learning a lot of new things.
- We learned about a few korean habits – like the fact that you have to hand everything with two hands, your credit card, money, a phone number, a glass of water and you even have to pour a drink into a glass with two hands to show you respect the other person.
- We learned how to pronounce the name of the local vodka – You never know…
- We learned a few rules to live in Korea and what a difficult game it is to talk with respect to the eldest for Koreans.
- We learned new anglo-korean jokes like “What does a bread say when it crashes into a wall?”… “BANG” because “bang” means bread in Korean (it diserves at least a smile, right?)
- And last but not least we learned restaurants’ names in Gyeongju that we shouldn’t miss ! YAY !
Sandwichs, comfort food and desserts (and cool events) : Nahbi brunch
Facebook page with information about the coming events : here
You can find there fresh sandwiches, hot drinks, brunchs every day and all day, apple pie, chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream and beer… Between 5000 and 5500 Won for a sandwich, 4000 for the brownie and ice cream, not so expensive for south korea and good !
Intestines in all its forms
A huge thank you to Quentin who made us discover this little gem where they serve “makchang” (intestines) that was more than worth the try.
You can find there beef or pork intestines, you cook them on a barbecue and you receive a lot of small korean side dishes to go with it like mushrooms, vinegar onions, eggs, corn cooked in cheese (but don’t get too emotionnal with the idea of having cheese in Korea as I’m still trying to taste the cheese in this dish), salads with peach sauce, rice cake… Between 500 and 7000 Won for one meat portion including side dishes.
“Gyory Gimbap” : the roll to take away
“Gyory” for the area in Gyeongju where you can find it and “Gimbap” for the dish, a californian roll type of dish with eggs, cucumber, carot, pickles, “ham”, rice and seaweed. It’s fresh, good and perfect to take away for a picnic in Gyeongju’s parks.
The place is not so known by foreigners but Stefan, the Korean who recommended the place to us said it was the best in town and it costs only 5600 Won for one portion.
Hwangnam Bread : The little bun stuffed with bean paste (website here)
I’m not going to lie to you, my enthusiasm for this speciality of Gyeongju hasn’t been as high as it was for the intestines’ restaurant but in case you want to try the best place in town, you might want to go to Hwangnam. You can buy these buns only by 20 and it costs 16 000 Won… no comment.
Pajon and Makgeolli : Sukyoung shikdang
Pajon is the name of the spring onions’ pancake and Makgeolli is the name of the industrial rice wine. But this restaurant is actually THE place for a Bibimbap… Yes as you can start to understand, we ordered a Pajon with Makgeolli in a restaurant specialized in something else, as if we ordered mashed potatoes and a glass of red wine in a french restaurant specialized in “Entrecôte-frites”… Well, it happens ! Anyway, even if we didn’t try the bibimbap that they are so well known for, the Pajon was good but a bit fat BUT the homemade rice wine was REALLy nice ! Like cider with a further taste of rice somewhere… I can’t compare yet with any other version, but I really enjoyed this one.
AND, even if we didn’t have enough time to try them all there are still 2 restaurants on the list that were recommended by Nahbi and a recommendation from a man who likes to cook can’t disappear in the air like that :
The train station market where you can have a bit of all korean vegetarian side dishes to try
THE place in Gyeongju where you can try a good “galbi”, the famous korean barbecue (we tried it in Busan instead) :
A thousand thanks to the team met at Nahbi brunch : without you guys, it wouldn’t have been the same, for sure !