Bulgogi hot pot
I was checking out Gwangju’s Lotte Department Store the other night, and when I got to the top floor there were a bunch of restaurants–not unlike how Japanese department stores are setup. Also, unlike the restaurants everywhere else in Korea, these had displays showing what the food would look like and English titles. I saw one that said bulgogi and looked no further. I went in and ordered. Unlike bulgogi in the states, this version came in a bowl of boiling soup. It looked and tasted more like sukiyaki than any bulgogi I have had. I love sukiyaki so I was happy. This hot pot bulgogi had sukiyaki ingredients like enoki mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, negi, and jelly noodles. It was a perfect melding of my favorite Korean and Japanese dishes. It came with kimchi (of course), a couple other pickled sides, and rice for about $6. I will be back.
The department stores in Korea are rather interesting. Instead of being organized by type of item, like in the states, they are organized by brand. So you go to one part of Lotte for Gap and another for Uniqlo and another for Zara, etc. There were probably 30+ mini stores from all over the world inside Lotte. Based on my experience with Lotte in Japan, I was expecting 7 floors of gum.