2019 saw Netflix reality shows like Queer Eye, Street Food and Chef’s Table featuring our beloved countries in Asia. More than the food, fashion or style, these shows tugged at our heartstrings with the beautiful stories they weave about life.
Eagerly anticipating the release of Queer Eye Season 5, Street Food Season 2 and Chef’s Table Season 7 in 2020, we reminisce past seasons in our South Korea travels.
#1 Gwangjang Market, Seoul, South Korea (Street Food Asia, 2019, Netflix)
Photograph: Jisang Chung / Source: Netflix
Savour Cho Yoonsun’s kalguksu (Korean knife-cut noodles) served in rich broth and, in the words of food journalist Daniel Gray, “sublime” kimchi. Originally opened to support her family when they fell on hard times, Cho perfected her mother’s recipe to serve the best knife-cut noodles in Gwangjang Market.
While at Gwangjang Market, be sure to visit grandmother Jung Gunsook at her 86-year-old stall selling soy-marinated crabs and other side dishes, and snack on perfectly crispy Pakgane (mung-bean pancakes) by mother-daughter team Park Gumsoon and Chu Sangmi.
#2 Dongdaemun Food Street, Seoul, South Korea (Street Food Asia, 2019, Netflix)
Jo Jungja’s Baked Baffle is a dish as quirky as the story behind its origin. A unique dish made from rice baked in a hot pan and topped with egg, cabbage, bacon or shrimp, a blend of sauces and fish flakes, it came about when Jo fried leftover rice in a waffle maker when she was too busy to leave work one day.
#3 Naejangsan National Park, Jeollanamdo, South Korea (Chef’s Table Season 3, 2017, Netflix)
Photograph: Mark Chilvers / Source: The Observer
Three hours away from Seoul by train and taxi, visit Baekyangsa, the seventh-century temple in Naejangsan National Park where Chef’s Table’s “philosopher chef” Jeong Kwan calls home. The vegan food she prepares is both a reflection of her quiet yet spirited demeanour and her attitude towards food.
A visit to the temple costs 3000 won, but sign up for an overnight temple stay if you want to experience food that, in her own words, “nourishes your body and help your mind find enlightenment”. This 150-000 won program will allow you to experience the beauty of Korean temple life as well as cook temple food alongside Jeong Kwan.
#4 Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, South Korea (Next in Fashion, 2020, Netflix)
Exterior of Minju Kim’s studio / Source: StyleBubble.co.uk
Experience the charming Bukchon Hanok Village, where Next in Fashion winner Minju Kim quietly ploughed away, drawing inspiration for her Autumn/Winter 16-17 fashion collection and styling the likes of K-pop girl group Red Velvet and more recently, K-pop sensation BTS.
Favoured by locals and tourists alike, immerse yourself in the traditional Korean culture at Bukchon Hanok Village with its traditional architecture, winding alleys, and a blend of cosy guesthouses and upscale restaurants. The surrounding Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine are also worth a visit while you are there.