bibimbap ("dolsat" or hot bowl) is my favorite dish of all time, long before I set foot in South Korea.
Something about the raw egg, the way the rice stays crispy on the edges and the delightful mix of different flavors, textures and spices in a single dish, all while staying sizzling hot the whole time. delights my tastebuds and my tum. I can't get enough!
This awesome dish was from a restaurant called Gogung Insadong in Insadong's Ssamziegil Mall. The variation, called Jeonju Bibimbap, was served with red and white kimchi (below) and barley water instead of tap water, which took some getting used to but really grew on me.
I did try this octopus variation while at Gwangjang Traditional Market. It was...interesting. Octopus is hugely popular in Korea, along with multiple free side dishes like kimchi or rice cakes (collectively called banchan).
I took the occasional break from bibimbap to sample other cuisine, such as the city's famous "KFC" ("Korean fried chicken) and this spicy tofu soup with Chilsung (7up) while in Myeongdong.
Koreanair even served a cute bibimbap dish on the plane!
Cat cafes. I have always wanted to go to one ever since the craze started in Asia several years ago. The U.S. has since gotten on the animal cafe train but due to food safety issues the American "cat cafes" consistent of grabbing coffee in one room and then going into a cat shelter next door. So I was excited to finally experience the real thing and it was everything I had imagined and more!
There seems to be a cat cafe on every street in Seoul. The one we chanced upon required removing shoes before going inside and sanitizing hands for the safety of the cats. Once inside you can pet, but not pick up, the animals. This one had an entry fee o 10,000 WON per person (~$10) and came with one free drink. Inside was super relaxing, quiet and surprisingly clean for having about 10 cats lounging around!
For an extra fee, you can buy a small pack of chicken to feed the cats. This was a surefire way to get all the felines in the cafe running over to you and gently swatting at your arms or climbing onto your lap for a favored treat!
Aside from cat cafes, we also passed a puppy cafe (closed), sheep cafe (!) and raccoon cafe (?!).