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Seoul - South Korea
Seoul is a great place to experience a wide variety of spicy yet mouth-watering foods, especially the local cuisine with its distinctive tastes based on garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper powder and fermented soybean paste. Korean dishes, such as bibimpab (vegetables mixed with rice and hot pepper paste, topped with a cooked egg), kalbi (succulent beef ribs marinated in a special sauce, then char-broiled) and kimchi (Chinese cabbage or radish, salted with various spices, including red hot pepper powder and pickled fish sauces), are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Kimchi, in fact, is the country's staple, accompanying almost every meal. As many Koreans put it, "A meal without kimchi would be like trying to walk without legs." The existence of some 200 kinds of Kimchi shows how important it is to the local diet.
For an excellent sampling of the growing trend towards international cuisine, try Dimatteo, where authentic Italian pizza is prepared by Neapolitan chefs. Of course, if you are searching for some Seoul food, you can stop in at Sanchon, which offers a vegetarian Korean menu. Still searching for something more traditional? Try Arirang Minsokgwan, an excellent place to eat and watch classical Korean performances. Another restaurant in the area to try is Yeongbin Garden, a popular Korean style restaurant in the heart of Seoul. Finally, after a long day touring the Jongno district, what better way to unwind than over a glass of soju, perhaps with a new found friend?
Aside from the magnificent views the Seoul N Tower provides, the N-grill found inside Seoul Tower is surely not to be missed. This rotating restaurant is sure to be a dining highlight of your time spent in Seoul. You can even take in a performance before or after dinner at the National Theater, located near Mt. Namsan. Another diner's and drinker's paradise is Top Cloud, located inside the Millennium Plaza. The restaurants located inside Hotel Shilla offer Western, Japanese-Chinese, and Korean cuisine in a classy, aristocratic atmosphere. Prices here are higher, but the quality of the food is superb. These restaurants include Continental, Palsun, and Ariake. Don't forget to try the Pastry Boutique for those with a sweet tooth.
Daehangno & Apgujeong
After touring around Daehangno, try one of the many places frequented by students, such as Chin Chin. Stop in to see why this place is among the favorites of university students. If you have spent all day shopping around Apgujeong and you are in the mood for something American, try Kraze Burgers. This Korean-American style restaurant will leave you satisfied by their selection of gourmet burgers, salads, pasta dishes, and steaks. If Italian-American is more your style, try Kimmee, another local favorite. After a refreshing lunch, take a stroll in Marronnier Park, a great place to relax or work off a hearty meal.
Among other attractions in the area is the War Memorial Museum, one of the many reminders that commemorate those who fought to ensure the modern nation state. After an afternoon of sightseeing, broaden your palate of Asian cuisine by trying Thai Orchird. Of course, European cuisine can always be found in Seoul, for instance, La Cucina is a great example of Italian fare. If you happen to be wandering around Itaewon at night you will find the young and young at heart out at the various bars and lounges. Some of the popular nightclubs in the area include the Big Electric Cat and Del's Disco, popular amongst the gay crowd. If sipping drinks is more your style, try one of the wine bars like Bonji Bistro and Gecko's Garden.
If you are staying at or around the Ritz Carlton, you are in luck. Not only do they offer fantastic accommodations, but also offer a wide selection of appetizing meals. Every so often, these hotels have special food fairs where they emphasize culinary delights from different countries, too. After your shopping spree at the COEX Mall or a day filled spent at the Seoul Arts Center, you may want to proceed to Siena, a fine Italian restaurant for some mouth watering Tuscan cuisine. If Korean food is on your mind, try Samwon Garden. This restaurant demonstrates its pride for Korea with their traditional fare. It is also hailed as one of the largest restaurants in Seoul, providing great service and tasty dishes.