Here is my best eats for day 3 of my trip in Korea. My mother asked me to go with her to Wonju (원주) on day 3 in Korea. Wonju is about 2 hrs away from Seoul and it is not known for any special foods but mainly for traditional Korean paper called 한지 (Hanji). Driving on the highway though reminded me of my all time favorite Korean snack – Hodo Kwaja(호도과자). So I had to stop on the way at one of the many Korean rest stops to get this wonderful treat. The mini round cake is shaped like a walnut and has just little bits of walnuts in the sweet dough with a sweet red bean paste filling inside. It tastes best of course when it’s piping hot just out of the hot cast iron mould –
FYI – if you live in the bay area, CA – a place called Coco Hodo opened in Sunnyvale next to Hankook Market. They sell these cute little sweets in bags and boxes so give them a try when you are in the area.
After taking care of business in Wonju, my mother suggested going to Jeonju Kongnamul Gukbap (전주 콩나물 국밥) place. It is actually a franchise restaurant but I found it was quite good. They have different variations but the one my mother recommended was Kimchi Kongnmaul Gukbap. This version had kimchi, kongnamul (soy bean sprouts), calamari and rice in the soup. And of course, it comes boiling like crazy in a hot pot.
For condiments, they give you green chili peppers and saewoojeot(fermented shrimp). Adjust the saltiness of your soup by adding desired amount of saewoojeot. They also give you raw eggs to add to the boiling soup. The soup was really hot but the lack of any animal fat was a welcome break for me after eating somewhat heavy the last couple days.
To make the basic Korean Soybean Sprout soup here is my recipe. To this, just add Kimchi, optionally some cut calamari/squid and add rice after the soup is cooked. Season with saewoojeot and you should have something quite similar.