Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shellfish in Sillim

Had a great time Saturday as I met up with Andy, my roomie from SMOE training, and his girlfriend Julie (that's her English name)--and later his buddy Greg--in Sillim.

Sillim, eight stops south of Hapjeong on line 2
Sillim is a massive commercial zone chock full of bars and restaurants. And yet it gets not a single mention in the Lonely Planet guide for Seoul! Our first stop was for beers and appetizers in a "Japanese-style" chain; I don't know the name of the bar or what we ate, but it was ddok dumplings, a bit of potato, some sausage, and onions and green peppers all sauteed up in hot red sauce (gochu-jang) and smothered in Korean cheese.

We then moved on to the main course, a shellfish extravaganza at a place called Pirate #1. You know it's fresh, because your dinner is living in tanks outside the entrance. This is another of those places where the food is cooked on a grill right in the middle of your table. Periodically, a server comes along to open the clams, scrape the mussels from the side of the shell, mix in the panchan ingredients, etc. (I will put up a pic or two, once Andy updates his blog and I can rip them--my cellphone battery ran down.) Everything is eaten in a particular order, finished off with a potato and a sweet potato that have been baking in foil on the coals during the whole meal.

UPDATE, 22:38 PM: For another (quite hilarious, dammit!) take on the evening, visit Andy's blog at I'm stealing a couple of his pics, even though I hate him now! More pictures, there, too--dammit.

Julie and me outside Pirate #1In Pirate #1, shellfish cookin' on grill

The food was amazingly good! This fact can be illustrated by the line of twenty-five folks waiting to get in by the time we left--remember, there are easily over a hundred places to eat in this area.

Next, we randomly picked another place, this one basement level, to enjoy a brewski or two. It smelled funny, and we spotted a cockroach on the table, but the 5,000 won pitchers made up for all that. We next headed to a 2F (second floor) bistro named "I Love School" but it was packed, so we went to 3F, called "Garten Bier".

The table had a cellphone charger, so eventually I was able to take the photo below, of Andy. Note two things: first, the funky beer flutes are sitting in little refrigerated wells (a brilliant idea!); and second, the little figurines of musical Negroes on the ledge above the table. 1950's era charm or 21st century racism? Uh, racism, I'm thinking...

Andy at Garten Bier--note refrigerated wells in table and Negro caricatures
Anyway, the total evening was a blast, Andy's friends were cool, conversation was intelligent, and I managed to catch the bus and get off at the correct stop (hard to do at night, since I can't really see the landmarks)! Love ya, Sillim, I'll be back ...

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