If the conventional entries showcase high-end restaurants, the Bib Gourmand lists those that serve good food at moderate prices. The benchmark price is W45,000 per serving (US$1=W1,115). The equivalent in Europe is less than 34 euros, in the U.S. US$40 and in Japan 5,000 yen.
Sixty restaurants are listed in this year’s Bib Gourmand, unchanged from last year, but four new entries have been added as four dropped out. They include traditional Korean restaurants as well as more cutting-edge ones.
One of the new entries, Base is Nice, opened in Seoul’s Mapo district in March last year. Owner Jang Jin-ah is a veteran food stylist and restaurant consultant with more than a decade of experience in the field. Her dishes are mostly vegetarian, though there are some meat dishes.
Another is Mr. Ahn’s Makgeolli, is a traditional bistro in Itaewon that serves rice wine and other local spirits. The ambience is chic and the restaurant advertises itself as a place where “young people can bring foreign guests to impress them.”
Yakitori Mook located in the trendy Yeonnam-dong area of northwestern Seoul serves chicken skewers. Chef Kim Byung-mook cooks 14 types of skewers from a single chicken. A platter costs W35,000 between 7 to 9 p.m., and a set of nibbles to be served with liquor costs just W18,000 after 9 p.m.
Niroumianguan, a Taiwanese beef noodle shop in Jongno in central Seoul, is well known for the dish. The chef is said to have tried 78 beef-broth noodle restaurants in China, Korea and Taiwan, and tasted more than 100 bowls before learning the recipe from a restaurant in Qingdao he decided was the best.
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