Good Korean food is basically nonexistent in the heart of Chicago, but if you venture out just a little bit from the city’s social center, you will find my favorite Korean eatery, Del Seoul, in Lincoln Park. They serve a menu of modern yet traditional dishes that just pop in your mouth.
If you enjoy tacos and BBQ, definitely try at least one of their Korean BBQ Tacos. Piled on grilled white corn tortillas, these tacos are fresh and filled juicy meats (Figure 1). The spicy BBQ pork taco shown in the figure is probably my favorite with its tangy flavor and slight toasted aroma from the sesame sprinkled on top.
Every time I go, I have to order the miso soup (Figure 2). I know, I know, it’s Japanese, but I just love that strong miso flavor that is literally infused into the small tofu cubes.
To share, the Seoul style street dumplings (Figure 3) are an absolute must! This serving of eight pork dumplings is made according to a 100-year-old recipe, probably passed down in the family. You will be asking for more after each bite of this scrumptious dumpling (so maybe sharing is not a good idea).
In case you want a less healthy but just as appetizing sharing dish, the Kimchi fries are the way to go (Figure 4). It’s literally a plate of fries topped with Kimchi, onions, pork belly, scallions, melted jack and cheddar cheeses and sour cream. Yes. It sounds amazing and tastes amazing. But I do wish there was more Kimchi.
Bibimbop (better known to Americans as stone bowl) is an assortment of vegetables and meat (normally beef) on top of rice, all topped off with a raw or fried egg. These ingredients are served in a very hot stone bowl so that the eater mixes everything up, lets it sit for a bit, and gets a delicious bowl of crispy rice with healthy ingredients. At Del Seoul, this dish (Figure 5) tastes clean and crisp, with every component standing out in each bite. Just perfection.
The sesame chili shrimp banh mi (I know, this is Vietnamese) is literally a sub sandwich with panko-battered shrimp and sesame chili aioli (Figure 6). They certainly stuff your money’s worth of shrimp in there, and it’s delicious. I could definitely eat more than one if that’s all I ate here!
The spicy tofu hotpot (Figure 7) is not listed as one of their popular dishes, but more people should definitely try it out. With silk tofu, beef, shrimp, mussels, oysters, clams and egg in a spicy, chili broth, it is the best of all worlds (except for the vegetarian one, I guess). I just love this soup because the spice of the broth and the taste of the seafood give the soft tofu everything it needs to be the heart of the dish.
- If you want more kimchi on the kimchi fries, Del Seoul sells jars of kimchi… so just buy a jar and dump some on!
- So far, it seems as if everything is absolutely phenomenal on the menu so you can’t go wrong!
- If you still have room after your meal, you can stop by Molly’s cupcakes for a sweet treat.