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Friday, September 3, 2010

What I Ate In Korea....

Donuts 1

My Donuts

Mister Donut Mascot

Just a quick post to publish photos of what I ate during my last business trip to Seoul. The highlight of the whole trip must be Mister Donut. I am no fan of donuts - I have difficulty trying to understand what is there to like about Krispy Creme or Dunkin Donuts. Mister Donut over threw all my negative preconception of donuts a few years ago when my Korean colleague had strongly recommended that I try it while we were traveling in Taipei. Originally an American brand, this was bought over by a Japanese company and ever since, they have been serving donuts that are quite different from your normal Krispy Dunkin fare... Totally innovative in their use of ingredients and flavours, Mister Donut is less greasy and very very soft!  Biting into their signature soft ring donut is like biting into the softest bread you can find. You will be hooked at first bite! The other signature of Mister Donut is of course, the famous Ponde Ring - shaped like a wreath of 8 donut balls, these are really mochi donut. I once tried to make these using a Ponde Ring recipe I found on a Japanese site - with tofu and tapioca flour - it left me wondering why are there people out there who feel so adamant that tofu is an ingredient in the Ponde Ring. I have eaten the Ponde Ring numerous time, and I am always convinced that it is a mochi based bread. So anyway, I had 6 donuts in 2 days - definitely went terribly overboard- but hey, there are only 3 places in Asia now that I can get these (Japan, Taiwan and Korea) so I am going to stuff myself to content.

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I chose to stay at the quiet Walkerhill in Seoul this time, away from the dreadful temptations of easy shopping. Perched on the hill with a view of the Han river are the W hotel and Sheraton Grande. What is impressive is that there are 17 restuarants on this little hill. W Hotel, famed for it's modern, avant garde design theme is exactly that. I had the chance to check out the 2 main restaurants there The Kitchen, which is a somewhat international fusion restaurant and Namu, the modern Japanese restaurant. Arriving late at the hotel on the first day, I decided to just dine at the Japanese restaurant. Working with my camera at the dining table is not what I do best - I feel rather silly and am always trying to snap the photos as quickly as I can so that I can put away my camera. Hence, I hardly document what I eat at restaurants - but I told L I want to practice and get comfortable and thick skin about sharing my dining table with my camera...

And I didn't even get to finish snapping my whole course because the battery went dead on me... :-p

Here's what I ate at Namu :
Tofu
Tofu Steak Appetiser : The tofu tasted a little like Goma(sesame) Tofu, thinly coated with a membrane of sticky yam. This is one of the few things in the course that I find memorable.
Chicken
Chicken Breast Salad - a big put off. The chicken was dry and hard. KFC's popcorn chicken would have beaten it hands down.
Sashimi
Sashimi Platter - The fish was very fresh and with fish this fresh, there is no reason to have this go wrong.
Braised Pork
Ginger Mirin Glazed Pork Belly : This actually tasted nice. It didn't feel oily. The sweetness of Mirin provided a good balance to the soya sauce. The little drop of citrus mustard on the pork fascinated me.

What followed was the Deep Fried Oyster rice and a Ginger chocolate mousse cake.

The whole dining experience wasn't bad but it was not memorable. The donuts overshadowed all other eating memories for this trip... LOL

26 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

Look at all these bread/dimsum! That ponde ring looks especially cute!

Jane Ko said...

I was surprised when I had one of mister donuts ring donuts. It's more of a chewy bread than america's typical donut

Bakertan said...

Hi Shirley,

Really envy you for being so well travelled. It is always nice to read about your overseas encounters with food.

Talking about donuts, I am totally wowed by Krispy Kreme when I first ate it. It is so soft, fluffy and cakey. totally beats all the donuts in singapore hands-down. Imo, dunkin donuts are not very nice lei, in terms of texture and taste. The better ones are donut factory and J CO donuts.

If I ever have the chance to go to TW or Korea, I will be sure to try mister donut.

La Table De Nana said...

The Ponde ring looks like the lion mane:) What fresh colorful dishes..You travel so much~!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Yes, Jane- the pond ring is chewy like rice cake. For a while, that is all I ate at mister donut, then I discovered the soft ring- so amazing!

ZY, mister donut also has the cakey and traditional donut but the interesting ones are the ponde ring and the soft ring.

grub said...

ah! i LOVE mister donut! it is THE BEST donut i've ever eaten! too bad i only got the chance to eat it once when i was travelling in Taiwan. i ate the peanut and chocolate coated donut.

Allie said...

Wow so much food! I love Mister Donut too, had a chance to try them when I was in Taiwan a few months back. I agree that their texture is different from the usual donuts and is less oily..definitely less greasy for the stomach!

Didn't know that a Japanese company bought over the chain though...it's interesting :). Thanks for sharing!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Yes,yes! Anyone who has tasted Mister Donut will know- it is in a league of its own- unless you fancy the greasy and sweet stuff...

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Eat, Shirley, Eat! :) If there are only 3 places in the world where you can find these donuts (and none of them in Malaysia), you justified eating all 6 of them! I would have done the same, haha. The hotel looks exquisite, BTW.

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Shirley, u r making me do regret not trying mister donut when I was in korea n taiwan. I wanted to try when saw in Seoul, my Korean colleague told me taste ok ok so we chose over local street food. Then in Taipei, I was rushing to meet up wif colleague that I gave a miss :(. Next mth, hope I m able to get it when I m at Tokyo.

zurin said...

U lucky girl Shirley! Such innovative donuts. Im not a fan pf donuts either but I suppose if I tasted one of those Iwill be from teh way u described them.

I have the same fear of taking fotos in restaurants too. I feel so awkward and always expect someone to come up and smack me for taking pics..LOL

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Jess,under normal circumstances, I don't feel impelled to eat donuts when I travel. I do have my local food- my favourite is the spicy tofu soup in Korea. I wouldn't have known Mister Donut if my colleague had not insisted that I tried it a few years ago. I am glad I tried it!

Make sure you try the Signature Soft Ring and the Ponde Ring. The cream filled donuts are also very good.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Shirley, sometimes a sweet treat like doughnuts really curb my sweet tooth, and checking out those pics you post sure made me want to eat some, lol. Have nit tried Mister Doughnut before, in fact didn't see it when I was in Taipei last yr. Probably just want street food and local delights. :) thanks for posting this, will not give it a miss next time.

Swee San said...

OH so i should include this in my Seoul trip next year.. any other recommendations ??

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

Oh yes, there are lots of stuff not available here in Malaysia, and this is definately one of them.


The Ponde ring really caught my eye, and I'd stuff a cupcake between that and make myself a lion like that soft toy ;)

MaryMoh said...

Those ponde rings looks beautiful. My children would really like them. I miss Korea. I stayed there more than 1 year. Hope to visit it again. Korean food are so healthy and delicious.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

HAHA! I look forward to a Shirley with thicker skin! Practice makes perfect! K, more reviews on the days to come! 加油! I'm sure L will be the one drooling over the foods before the screen every time he soaks up in your "reports." HAHA! Next time, be sure to bring an extra battery or have the one-and-only battery fully recharged. HAHA!

Though I only got to stop by Tokyo for 24 hours due to flight delay, it was fun! I miss Tokyo, its confectioneries and pastries. South Korea and Taiwan are on my to-visit list, too. Will see how much dough comes rolling in in the years to come as I work my way "up" ... ;) ... Perhaps, I'll try Mister Donut. You know what, I do know I have easy access to Krispy Kreme in KL. (In fact, I just swung by one KK at Times Square KL.) I still dissuaded myself from trying the donuts out. HAHA! Maybe I should try it when I pop by the shop on my next stop there ... before I try Mister Donut.

Thanks for sharing! Glad you had a great trip. Happy weekend! Take plenty of rest. =)

Cooking Gallery said...

All those donuts and breads...! They all look so yummy and cute. I have been to Seoul (but only for a day flight transfer, so I didn't see much - would love to travel to Korea one day!).

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Wendy,there may be some donuts out there that looks like Ponde Ring but they don't taste like Mister Donut. The Mister Donut has been sold to different parties in different region but I know the Japanese,Taiwan and Korea ones are the same. (Oh, just found out Shanghai also has Mister Donut)

busygran said...

Lucky you to have a job that takes you to places! Those donuts are so lovely to look at.
I might have eaten them cos my korean friends in singapore always give me all sorts of korean food and goodies.

Aimei said...

wow Shirley, I'm drooling as I look at the photos, especially chocolate-coated ones since I love chocolate so much. Lucky you to have the chance to try it. With your post dedicated to Mister dounuts, I'd surely not give it a miss if I travel to any of places that sells it. :)

It was perfectly right that you had your six in 2 days!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Mm some of those dishes look really delicious! The chicken salad looks like fried popcorn chicken though! :P

boo_licious said...

ah, Air Asia now flies to Korea so getting my hands on some Mister Donut sounds like a great possibility. Thxs for the tip and good luck with taking pixs in the restaurant. It's not easy but do it slowly and think no one is watching.

Von said...

I want to try the donuts...they look and sound so good! I think I've seen the ponde ring in some cookbook before....I love the shape!

I'm like that at restaurants unless it's an event where taking photos is normal (like birthdays). I try to take it as quickly as possible without anyone noticing....haha. I'm never really successful because my shots turn out blurry and then I have to slow down and take more pictures....

Swee San said...

Oh.. I just remembered.. Actually they have Mister Donut in Thailand too. Bangkok and Phuket. I've eaten in Platinum Mall in Bkk.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Swee San, you are correct, I just found out as well. I had a look at the Thai Mister Donut website but I think their offerings are different. Different franchise - you need to make sure that you are getting the ones that franchised out from Japan.

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