One reason why the Seoul dining scene still has so many nooks and crannies

There are so many places with dishes you’ve never tried before. And they are deep into alleyways, or on the second or third floors of retail establishments. In these places I never see people take out their cameras and photograph the food. The establishments are not “very on-line,” as they say.

More likely than not, a large troupe(s) of middle-aged and older men suddenly come out of nowhere, and descend upon these eateries for dining and intense bouts of conversation. The men don’t seem to want too many other people to know about their special hangouts. English-language menus are hard to come by, so use the outdoor food photographs if you can, or otherwise just point. “I would like your specialty,” translated into Korean on the iPad, works too.

Korea is an especially sexually segregated society, all the more relative to its high per capita income. And so these restaurants are boys’ clubs of a sort, as much private as public. Might that be one reason why the small restaurant food scene here has stayed so undercover?

How much is it the presence of women that drives the “Instagram this” trend in dining?

One reason why the Seoul dining scene still has so many nooks and crannies

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Destino

Destino, web site, 1280 4th St. NE, Washington, DC (Union Market) (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | Zagat]

Overall a good restaurant, with nice outdoor seating, but it is the two blue corn dishes that really make it. The huitlacoche quesadillas and the blue corn tamales are A+. Go for those, and for the Oaxacan chocolate sorbet at dessert. The rest is good enough, the beets would be another dish you could try. And note my two top picks are nominally vegetarian, though I cannot promise that animal products never appear in the dish.

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Medellin bleg

What to do and where to eat — your suggestions are most welcome!

Medellin bleg

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Taqueria Cancun

Taqueria Cancun, web site, 7810-G Lee Highway, Rt. 29, Falls Church, VA 703-415-6582 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | WaPo | Reddit | Restaurant Guru | Arlington Mag]

A+ for authenticity, and excellent food too. The signature dish are the goat tacos, which I love. Make sure to use lots of lime and dipping sauce. The tortas look good, but I can’t bring myself to pass up the tacos. DC in the last few years has snagged some quite good Mexican places, but this is the suburbs catching up. Not a super-broad menu, but they do things right. Recommended.

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Desi Breakfast Club

Desi Breakfast Club, web site, Mclearn Square 3065 Centerville Rd, Suite G, Herndon, VA, 571-752-6612, opens at 8 a.m.! (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | zabihah | TripAdvisor | NoVA Mag]

Pakistani food remains on the rise in Virginia. This place has excellent Haleem and chicken biryani, and quite good everything else. A wonderful place to go with a group. And in the area’s top five for people-watching. Most notable is that it opens for breakfast, and I have heard it is packed at that time. Recommended, a fun and festival atmosphere, and you know that means good food, too.

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Bangladesh YouTube food facts of the day

    The channel behind this operation is called AroundMeBD, and its success has created a whole new economy in Shimulia, which has since been dubbed the YouTube village of Bangladesh.

    The YouTube village is a prominent example of a niche but is also part of a growing online trend across South Asia: As the internet reaches villages, rural societies are finding ways to showcase and monetize their unique food cultures to audiences across the world, using platforms like YouTube and Facebook. In India, Village Cooking Channel, which posts videos of large-scale traditional cooking, has over 15 million subscribers. In Pakistan, Village Food Secrets has 3.5 million subscribers. Villagers who previously had little presence in media are now using these platforms to take ownership of the way their culture is portrayed — and building businesses that support dozens, and occasionally hundreds, of individuals.

Here is the full story, via Zach Valenta. The article is interesting throughout, and yes YouTube remains underrated.

Bangladesh YouTube food facts of the day

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Shi Miaodao Yunnan Rice Noodle

Shi Miaodao Yunnan Rice Noodle, 819 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD, 240-386-8596 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | WaPo | Rest Guru]

Small, very mom and pop, though actually part of a much broader chain. This is basically a one-dish restaurant, a kind of spicy/sour Yunnan soup. Fortunately, the one dish is very good and I can attest, from significant time spent in Yunnan, it is pretty authentic. At the end of the day the meats you choose for your soup don’t matter much, as at least half the value is in the left over broth. Just don’t confuse this with a full-service Chinese restaurant. And I would say the portion is better for lunch than for dinner. I did try one of the few appetizers, a kind of sausage wrapped in egg and dipped in a sickly sweet sauce. It was super-authentic, representing what is to me the dark side of Chinese street food. Just keep in mind authentic isn’t usually good, but the authentic soup here is very good.

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9292 Korean BBQ

9292 Korean BBQ, Instagram, 7133 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA, 571-378-1440 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | TripAdvisor | Annandale Today]

The most popular place right now, an excellent young Korean social scene, and fun to go to. Large, and with the usual Korean “metallic” factory décor. Fills up pretty early, and they queue rather than taking reservations. I’ve been a few times and I like everything here. Maybe nothing here is exceptionally better than the competition, but it is also good enough to enjoy. Very good for larger groups and when you wish to have a high variety of bbq dishes. So it definitely has its place in the repertoire, though be ready for the noise and crowds if you go at peak hours.

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Aboveground

Aboveground, web site, in Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE, Washington, DC (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Claire Handscombe | Ylp]

British food! Not much on the menu, but it is all truly British. Shepherd’s Pie and Tikka Masala. I had the fish and chips, which was quite good, most of all the chips. Worth a try if you are willing to eat British food. Mushy peas and red cabbage too. I would eat there again, admittedly it is not for everybody.

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Cafe China – NYC

Cafe China, web site, 59 W.37th St. NY, NY, 212-213-2810 [Google | NYMag | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

Recently opened, still in “soft launch” phase. Sichuan, but fragrant rather than “knock your socks off hot.” The smoked tofu is amazing, the vegetables excellent. Beef with green chili another winner. For the subtle side of Sichuan cuisine, this is perhaps this best place I know outside of China?

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