korean: seoul in taipei (漢城炭烤)

date june 23, 2011

contact No. 5, Lane 130, Tianmu W. Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City/台北市北投區天母西路130巷5號/02.2821.2454

hours 7 days a week 11:30~14:00; 17:30~21:30

price 200-600NT per person (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Shipai MRT (捷運石牌站)

I have a love of Korean food. So much so that I’ve managed justifying going to Korea three times and even thought of moving there, yet somehow I’ve never been to Korea Town in Los Angeles…

A friend of mine, who is Korean, is on a quest to find the most authentic Korean food he can in Taipei before leaving in July. Based off a blog post he found online, we found ourselves at Seoul in Taipei.

Seoul in Taipei is about a 5-10 minute bus ride from the Shipai MRT station (exit 1). The restaurant itself is two floors, although the top floor was not open when we went. On a Thursday night at about 7:30pm the place was empty, which was a little discomforting, but shortly after being sat, the bottom floor filled up.

 The menu is in Chinese only and had pictures of every item. The menu isn’t super extensive, but it has your basic Korean dishes: sundubu, bi bim bap, rice cakes, bulgolgi, galbi, etc. We decided to share four dishes between four people so that we could try various items. I was surprised that they didn’t have any Korean beers, only Taiwan beer…Although, they did have soju.

First thing that came out was the banchan. At first we were a little worried that we were going to have to order banchan because we saw it on the menu, but it is free, as are refills. We were given five types: kimchi, seaweed, potato, fish cake, and whatever green vegetable that is. Everyone liked the kimchi, it was pretty standard, definitely could have been spicier in my opinion. Really, all of the banchan was good. I mean, none of them were amazing, but none of them were bad either.

We ordered the bulgolgi, which came with a small bowl of soup. The bulgolgi was okay. Our table seemed to like it, but I wasn’t particularly impressed. I felt like the beef was a little tough and over cooked. The flavor was pretty good, but the meat itself was a little disappointing.

My choice was the cold noodles (伴冷麵) for 200NT. The noodles were topped with apples, pickled cucumbers, kimchi, pork, half a hard boiled egg, and some sweet red sauce. I thought this wasn’t bad. I kind of liked the mix of flavors and the crunchy texture of the apples and cucumbers with the noodles. The sauce was a very very mildly spicy sweet sauce that worked with all the ingredients. This dish was very similar to something I ate on my last trip to Korea, which was the specialty dish of some specific region. I felt like the rest of my table wasn’t a huge fan of this, but I liked it.

So one of the reasons we ended up here was because a member of our party specifically wanted cold noodles with soup (湯冷麵). However, this was not what he was expecting. This dish, for 200NT, was basically EXACTLY the same as the cold noodles, but with a cold kimchi soup poured over it. It had apples, cucumbers, pork, kimchi, and half a hard boiled egg, just like the previous dish. Only difference, the sauce was in soup form. The dish he was looking for had a clear soup, not this red soup. This dish wasn’t bad, it just was not what anyone was expecting, although, we should have known better based off the picture on the menu.

We also ordered seafood sundubu (海鮮豆腐湯) for 250NT, which includes a bowl of rice. This dish was pretty popular amongst the table. It wasn’t that spicy, so for people who fear spicy Korean food don’t worry because this isn’t Korean spicy. The soup was pretty good and it had good flavor. Honestly, I felt like it was a pretty standard sundubu though; it wasn’t particularly memorable in anyway.

Overall I thought this place was okay. I don’t know. I kind of feel like I was a way harsher critic than the rest of my party, including my Korean friend. The service was good; even though the closed at 9:30pm, the waitress was really nice and told us to take our time. This place is not bad, it’s just not memorable. I would probably never feel the need to come back, but at the same time if someone was like, “let’s go to Seoul in Taipei”, I wouldn’t say no. However, with a name like Seoul in Taipei, this was not Seoul in Taipei.

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