Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I WENT TO A SOUTH AFRICAN RESTAURANT IN SEOUL

It's not often I'll travel the length of a country, and pay a lot of money, merely to go to a restaurant. But given the very specific nature of South African food, and the fact that a kilo of boerewors (SA sausage) costs nearly R1000 in Korea, I went to Seoul this past weekend to eat at a new Saffa restaurant called Braai Republic.

Look for this sign!

I had very high hopes. The place is owned, run and cheffed by South Africans, so I anticipated boerie rolls of the highest order. To say I was excited is an understatement, and never in my life have I been so thrilled to see Ceres fruit juice. We were like children, the six Saffas in my party. Oh my god, look at the biltong! Ah cute, a stuffed springbok! Hey, look at the Lion brand matches on the wire sculpture tree! OMG, AMARULA CHEESECAKE!! *takes photos of everything*

I had been hoping for a nice, cold Castle, but alas, no Saffa beer appeared on the menu. This was a good thing, given that November is no-drinking month for me, but I was still a bit bleak. Apparently the Hunter's Dry is stuck at Korean customs, so if you go soon you might be able to have some apple cider goodness! So ya, coke it was, while other people had some lekker litchi Ceres juice.

As for the food, if you're a vegetarian or someone who doesn't eat red meat, you're going to struggle. This was not all that shocking, given the name of the place, and there were a few veggies on the menu, like creamed spinach, sweet potato mash, garlic potatoes and a bean soup. But still, it was all about the meat! Lamb chops! Boerewors! Lamb potjie (stew)!

My pap and wors, with carrots and cream spinach
I ordered pap and wors, which came with spinach and coleslaw. Yoh, but that boerie was lekker! It was slightly dry, but not too bad, and had bags of flavour. The pap was krummel (crumbly) which I don't really like, I prefer it when it's sticky and hard. Erm, I mean... stywe pap! So ya, the problem with pap is that it takes ages to cook, so it's not like you can make a fresh batch for every order, so that probably explains why krummel pap is the easiest one to serve.




TLG's boerewors roll
The spinach was yummy, but the 'coleslaw' wasn't really all that. Given that we live in a country obsessed with cabbage in every way, shape and form, you'd think that coleslaw would have cabbage in it! But it was just carrot with some mayo on it. Maybe they'd run out? I dunno, but I missed the cabbage. I did like the tomato relish/gravy on the pap, but The Lovely Gen did not like it on her boerie roll. She said it needed more flavour. The roll was fresh and whole wheat, which was a plus.

Our other friends ate a variety of things, including lamb chops (which were all a bit on the rare side, more so than you'd usually find), spare ribs (smelled just like the ones at Spur! Tasted great and had lots of meat) and lamb potjie. An American mate had the potjie (pronounced poy-kie) and liked it, but said it needed more sauce, and he didn't like the pap because it was dry. But the lamb itself was great and fell off the bone it was so tender.

American Tim and his potjie
So all in all I'd say it was a successful trip. I think the novelty of it was enough to overlook some of the errors, which I'm sure will be ironed out with time. You can also buy biltong there for 10 000won per 100g (I think) and it's worth the trip if you're in the area and want a taste of home. It felt like being inside a Free State pub, actually. Nice and comfy, not too fancy, some animal heads on the wall and a flag over the fire. It's not cheap, but it's Seoul, and the ingredients aren't what you'd find at E-mart so I guess it's worth it.

Located near McDonald's in the foreigner hell that is Itaewon (I think of it as Burgers and Prostitutes), it is very easy to find. Ish... If you get to Micky D's (on your left), reverse and go down the first side street, down the winding hill, and look for the green awnings. Or, you know, look on their Facebook page.



Lamp chops, spinach and sweet potato mash

Die manne wat braai!

Eating some ribs

Jooooooos!

3 comments:

  1. You SERIOUSLY need to come home if small-town budget hotel (in die kroeg, met beeskoppe oppie muur)food is what excites you.

    Question: can one not cook such simple things for ones' selves? Or is it ixnay on the ingredientay?

    Lovely, evocative writing, as always.

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  2. Haha sTiv, it's the ingredient problem! Meat is super expensive, and lamb is ridiculously hard to find, and boerewors costs a king's random. It's obvious food in SA, stuff we can make every day easily, but here it's luxury! I had to take a 2 hour train ride just to eat pap and wors!

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