February 11, 2015
Oh man. This week’s TL;DR was a difficult one for us to do. Bread: it’s so important to us, and we didn’t know how much we missed it until we started living in Korea. Bread: it’s something that’s become so trendy in Korea, but something that’s still not done right, by our standards. But those are just our standards. I wonder if Korean people go overseas and eat bread and thing “gross! This is too savoury!” Hmmm. That’s something I’d love to know!
You know what’s surprising, though? We don’t have this complaint in Japan. The bakeries we went to in Japan were AMAZING. They all use butter, SO MUCH BUTTER! Korea…doesn’t really use butter. Korean croissants are really dry and sad. We had the second best croissant of our lives in Tokyo, in fact. You could count all the folded over layers, and it was so moist and baaaaagggghh it was divine. The best croissant we ever had, believe it or not, was in Amsterdam, at a bakery that was close to our AirBNB. Paris had disappointing croissants, oddly, from the places we visited. Maybe we just didn’t find the right places? Point is, Japan and Korea are similar in many ways, but we infinitely prefer Japan’s baking culture to Korea’s, and I don’t know how they got to be so different.
Something else that interests us in Paris Baguette’s attempt at expansion. It’s even opened up a location in, get this, Paris, but French people find Paris Baguette awful. Paris Baguette doesn’t offer French food, but Korean people who have never experienced French food don’t know that. If any of you watched Bugs Bunny back in the day, you might remember that hasenpfeffer episode, in which the king demands hasenpfeffer, and Bugs Bunny gives him a carrot, which the king happily eats, while thinking that it’s hasenpfeffer and not knowing that it isn’t. Just like how people think they’re eating Japanese sushi when they eat California Rolls, Paris Baguette has made an entire industry off of this same premise. It’s marketed to Korean people as an authentic French experience, with it being called “Paris Baguette” and with logos including the Eiffel Tower in it.
So why would Paris Baguette open up a location in Paris? Our guess: advertising, that’s why. Paris Baguette isn’t the only Korean bakery pretending to be French. Tons of others have donned French names in order to appear to be French. Hell, even today we went past a Korean bakery that sells Korean baked goods, yet it calls itself Malmaison, and has French written all over its sign. So what will make Paris Baguette stand out from the many imposters of the original imposter? Well, Paris Baguette now has a bakery in Paris, that’s what! How many others can say the same?
Oh man: there’s so much to say about Paris Baguette. Read their official brochure, and how they distribute the freshest of frozen dough. HOW THE HELL IS FROZEN DOUGH FRESH? Am I not up to date with baking standards and practices? If a company makes all the dough in a factory, freezes it, and then ships it out to stores where they can be defrosted and then baked, THAT’S NOT FRESH! Paris Baguette is to French Bakeries what Hot Pockets are to Italian Calzones. You’re a microwave dinner, Paris Baguette.
OK ENOUGH RANTING. There’s hope for us in Korea, still! We’ve definitely started finding more bakeries lately that cater to our sensibilities than before. We remember when Home Plus starting selling bread when we first came to Korea, and how surprised we were. Even though it wasn’t what we were expecting, we were still excited. But now we’ve got places in Seoul that we can go to when the going gets tough. Here are a few:
For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember the video we did in Fell & Cole for awesome ice cream in Hongdae. Well, right on the same street leading up to Fell & Cole (one of our favourite areas of Hongdae) is Publique. HOLY CRAP! I just remembered an older video we did ages ago, before we started doing WANKs, in which we were exploring Hongdae and we actually went to Publique. Well, there you go. Two videos that show you the area Publique is in, and one in which we actually enter Publique. Whoa: that video was way before we had the Eatyourkimchi Studio. So odd!
Anyhow, Publique is a reliable go-to shop for us whenever we need bread. Sure, it’s pricy, but some days we need a good, crusty loaf, and they do it right. You can find it here on Google Maps. It’s close to the studio as well. Yay!
This one is a lot easier to go to when you’re in Hongdae. If you’re at the top of the hill that leads up to the university, and you’re looking at the university, turn left. It’s on the side street that Starbucks is on (and the new Paris Baguette, speaking of which). A few steps down that side street and you’ll see Paul & Paulina. It serves good croissants and nice loaves of bread, though the prices aren’t for the faint of heart. That doesn’t stop it from having huge lines most of the time we go there, though! Still, if you really need some bread, this place is a safe bet for you :D
We don’t go to Itaewon often. Most of the time it’s for vet appointments for Meemers, but whenever we do go, we stop by The Bakers Table to pick up bread. They’ve got lots of great loaves there. It’s also a restaurant, and serves some pretty wicked sandwiches, that we sometimes sit for as well, but it seems like every time we go it’s crazy packed, so we just pick up a couple of loaves and go back on our way. You get more bread for your buck here than you do in the first two locations as well. Check em out on Facebook
So, yeah, that’s it for our bread sources. If you’re living in Korea and have some that you go to, PLEASE SHARE! We need to stick together on this! Otherwise, we’d love to know what bread culture is like where you’re from, and if you felt picky about the bread when you visited other places. Anyone else try bakeries in both Korea and Japan and feel the same way? Let us know!
Lastly, I’m sure comments will pop up now like “Oh! Simon and Martina make fun of Korean bread without knowing how to cook in Korean fluently,” which we’ll respond by saying “yeah, we cook Korean food, too, all the time” but then they’ll respond by saying “yeah, but you do so with terrible
accents seasoning. You have to be able to cook Korean food perfectly before you can talk about Korea making non-Korean food!” I’m sure :D