Nov 26, 2010

Black sesame éclair from Sadaharu Aoki

I've only recently read about this Japanese patissier. He creates beautiful pastries by mixing flavors from Asia, such as green tea, black sesame or yuzu in traditional French desserts. They also have chocolates, biscuits and macarons, of course. Macarons are so trendy these days, it seems like everyone is making them. Sadly, it starts to become kind of common, methinks.

Okay, let's get back to the main topic. So ever since I saw on the website that he makes a black sesame éclair, I've been craving to try one. The shops' locations are not convenient for me but I couldn't bear any longer so after work, I went to the counter they have inside the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet. I restrained myself not to look at all the yummy art pieces (because of possible drooling that would lead to great embarrassment) but still, a green tea millefeuilles and a chocolate raspberry cake caught my attention. These are the next one on the craving list.

I managed to ask for just the black sesame éclair as intended. The price helped a bit. We're talking about highly luxurious delicaices here, pastries are around 5€/piece. Now, let's admire it!

Test conclusions: The size is perfect, it's long and lean so when you bite in it, the cream inside doesn't spill all over. The choux pastry dough is thin and not chewy. The main character of the story, the black sesame cream, might scare you with its greenish gray color but its taste get you to forgive its rough color. The black sesame flavor is hidden deep in the cream. You get the taste of a basic crème patissière when you bite in, then the strong black sesame flavor comes out as the cream melt in your mouth. (Aren't you drooling now? I am... )

At the end, little black sesame éclair won me over completely and I even think that its black, gray and white look is awesomely luscious.

Nov 13, 2010

Home made

This is the first post of something I made at home. I'm not trying to sell this (yet). It has been too long since the last food porn shot I've made so I just wanted to share this. The yellow lighting is a pain though... and my choice of a yellow dish was the cleverest one either, anyway...
This is a apple tart with a fromage blanc filling and topped with almond flakes. The crust is the best. Quite proud of myself in fact, since it came out well with this first try.


Nov 2, 2010

Last coffee

After dinner, we finally decided to test one more place before we leave. Also right at the corner of Sophia's, there's this cute little coffee place named "Egg". They serve hand drip coffee, tea, and also wine and waffles.

Last dinner in Seoul

Oh crap, holiday is almost finished now : ( As we still need to pack, we just went to the restaurant in front of the alley of the guest house to save time. Nothing fancy here, a simple basic place where you can choose from all the basics: bbq, kalguksu, bibimbap, etc.. I went for mandu soup.

Daytime Hongdae

It's strange how this area can seem completely different from day to night. I like the bustling crowd at night better but this day tour let us discover some kooky places.

 That is not a church but a bar restaurant.
The guy obviously has to park his car in the street so
he can show off his matching garage door...

Gwangjang market

Visit of Gwangjang market! People are rushing here... to where?
Are they all motivated by food like us? I came for the bindaeddeok (mung beans pancake) and I can tell you there was no deception!
You get to see the beans being ground to a pulp which is the main base of the pancake. Then we saw the lady add her big bag of chopped kimchi, leek, onions and soybean sprouts in the bean juice. Back on the grill plate, the pancake are being fried. We ordered one for 4000W, they are about 20cm large. First bite: so crunchy on the side and moistly yummy in side. I knew then I would not stop just at a single one of theses.

After 2 servings, we went on to see the various alleys where you can find fresh and dried seafood, spices shops, veggies, fruits, candies and also lots of bedding shops. There's also another central alley where food stalls continue to spread. On this side, you can find fresh sashimi, boribap or mandu.

Miss Lee's star coffee

Starbucks closes too early here (10PM) so we went to this cute coffee shop at the beginning of Insadong hoping to catch some free WiFi. The place is designed in a school days theme with colored wood furnitures, and a giant wish tree where couples customers hang their scribbles.
I chose the very thick daechucha (dried jujube tea). It's similar to the Chinese one my grandma would make me.

Nov 1, 2010

Namdaemun noodle alley

Once you stepped beyond the plastic curtain into the tiny noodle alley, all the ladies try to lead you to their stall. The first seats were empty but I thought it was best to go where it's packed. Once seated, I looked around and in fact and realized they all pretty much sell the same things, mostly boribap (kind of bibimbap with barley rice, naengmyeon (cold noodles) and kalguksu (handmade noodles). And all the stall has a poster with pictures of when they were featured on a TV show. It's impossible for a foreigner to know which one is truly the best.
We ordered one boribap, and 2 kalguksu. Finally we were served each a small bowl of naengmyeon for free. And my friend who had boribap got an extra small bowl of noodles so she could try. So basically, she got 3 servings for the price of 4000W, which is so cheap already. How do they earn their living?

 The lady saw me with my camera and eagerly got in action for my shot
Very spicy kalguksu

Tea house

Up th hill in Bukchon, at a corner, we went in this beautiful tea house. The wall has been changed to glass panel that allows you to see the mountains at the back and the inner garden. We came in too early at 10:30 AM, the ladies weren't done with their cleaning. But they still served us.
They thought we were Japanese; she says because only the Japaneses come so early for tea. The lady was friendly and explained us all the different teas they serve, and showed us how to serve and drink our tea. 
She recommended us a traditional Korean cake to go with the tea. From what I understood, it's made with corn starch. It had a sticky spongy texture.

I chose a Korean persimmon tree leaves tea. She said it contains like 20 times more vitamin than a lemon. Korean tea has usually a subtle aroma, not like chinese tea that are a lot stronger in taste. I think that if you're not used to it, you can find it dull. After eating a piece of the cake, I was surprised that it brings out deeper tastes when we drink our tea.

 See the cake was still steaming

Bukchon traditional village

This morning, we went up the hill to tour the Bukchon traditional village. There are some pretty places here! I wish I could have a house like that... But in a less sloped area though. How do these people get to their homes when it snows?

Banpo bridge fountain show

After the yummy bbq dinner, we went for walk to to the Banpo park to see the water show. There were a lot of people doing some night biking. It's great that people can have a place like this right in the center of a big city for leisure.
The show was almost 20 minutes long! I had the time to test my camera, I'm posting just some of the better ones I achieved. Of course, they are the purple ones :)

If you'd like to watch a video of the show, you can check out Evan and Rachel's View from the Gu.

Spicy chicken bbq

We've found this restaurant in a side alley from the main road in Hongdae for dinner. They advertise their coal heated bbq for spicy chicken and pork belly for quite a cheap price. One portion of 300g chicken or pork for 8000W. Usually, we've seen more like 200g of meat for 10000W. Of course, we cannot really verify the weight of what we've been served.
The chicken was hell spicy and so good, the pork less spicy and not fat. We had enough meat but not lettuce for wrapping. The lady was also friendly.

The down side was that the place was filled with mosquitoes :{ I don't remember that there was this mosquitoes problem when I came last year. But this year is really bad. We have to chase all of them in our rooms before going to sleep.

Non this is not a faucet!
It's the vent "hood" directed right on top of the cooking food
to prevent us from smelling also like bbq chicken after eating it.

Can you smell it? :p

Kokoro Bento

This is lunch at Kokoro Bento inside Dongdaemun's Doota. I chose one with teriyaki chicken ,and it came with all these different things in it. The presentation was beautiful, tastes of each ingredients were fine but eaten all together at the same time kind of lessen their specialness. Loved the buzzer that "calls" you when your meal is ready, it buzzes with blinking lights so it feels like you've won jackpot minus the coins dropping sound.

Hello Kitty Cafe

The Hongdae branch. We've asked many people to find it and they didn't know it even existed. We finally found a girl who knew it.

Indeed, inside the shop, there were mostly tourists, people from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. We didn't come for the drinks or food quality, of course. My cafe mocha was okay with a very think whipped cream.

I noticed a good side in Korea is that the hot drinks are served just hot and not boiling. In Paris, when I get my tea in Starbucks, I have to open the lid and wait for at least 10 minutes before I can drink it.

The interior has a reddish ambiance due to the walls color and the lighting. I wonder if it's just for ambiance or a way to prevent people taking pictures... The girls were excited to visit the washrooms for more pictures but came back without much.