Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The lemon sorbet at Demitasse in Buamdong is a mouth-puckeringly perfect summer treat. Each bite of the icy sorbet delivers a strong, pure note of real lemon in harmony with just the right amount of sweetness--I'm hooked.

I'd contend that the sorbet is reason enough to visit this out-of-the-way neighborhood of Seoul nestled between the mountains, but there are plenty of other reasons to recommend it for a visit--the stunning views in every direction, the friendly, small town feel, and the quiet, roomy sidewalks on weekend afternoons when most corners of this crowded city feel slightly suffocating.

And then there's the fried chicken and the cupcakes.

We dipped the pieces of chicken at Cheers into the spicy sweet chilli sauce, then just a few flavorful grains of sea salt, and finally washed it down with a cold swig of Korean beer. The Koreans didn't invent fried chicken, but I'd dare to say they've perfected it--they render out the fat in the skin to produce a delicate, crackly crust, and I've started to think of the sweet chilli sauce as an indespensable part of any fried chicken experience.

Afterwards, because I've made a pledge to sample a cupcake from every single purveyor in the Seoul area (or at least the ones I walk past), we stopped in at the aptly named Cupcake to purchase two of their signature treats. The entire shop and the cupcakes themselves were so cute that I was skeptical--often proprietors of restaurants/cafes/bakeries in Seoul that try so hard to capture a certain aesthetic forget that the food is the point. Had their intense focus on rainbows and tiny Scandinavian figurines detracted from the quality of their baked treats?

Not at all, I'm happy to report. In fact, the "chocoholic" cupcake I tried soars into the number one spot of the current Seoul cupcake hierarchy. The density left room for textural improvement, but the cardinal cupcake sin of dryness was not committed and the rich frosting was definitely the best of any so far. Plus, the adorable "to go" box with a heart on it is the perfect accessory for when you're cruising the area on your pastel pink Vespa.

Any health-conscious visitors who decide to replicate our highly recommended culinary tour will be happy to know that easily accessible hiking trails in the area can help nullify the super-caloric effects of your meal, or at least diminish your guilt afterwards.

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