Alien's Day Out

Zelen Again

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This past week has been filled with so much good food, I feel like I’m spoiling myself. Yesterday, Swan, my old high school friend called me out to have lunch at Zelen, the only Bulgarian restaurant in Korea. I went there last November, loved the food, and have been wanting to revisit the place ever since. Needless to say, I was thrilled with her suggestion.

zelen with swan
Apparently, this restaurant is pretty famous, not just because the food there is honestly delicious, but perhaps partly due to the fact that it’s owned by two handsome Bulgarian brothers who have made regular appearances on some Korean TV show? I have no idea if it’s true or not, but it’s just what I heard… I’m sure these restaurateurs (who double as eye-candy) have no problem attracting female customers… hehe. As for me, I’m all about the food, I swears.

zelen with swan
Lush interior.

I really know nothing about Bulgarian cuisine outside of what I have experienced at Zelen, but based on their menu, it seems that Bulgarian food is quite veg-friendly. Not only is there a specific ‘vegetarian’ section, but there are quite a few salads and appetizers that are vegan, or can very easily be modified to be vegan.

zelen with swan
We were served a bread basket for nibbling on before our meals arrived.

zelen with swan
I ordered the ‘Red Bean Salad’ (12,000 won) which was two heaping mounds of red beans, corn, spring onions, baked peppers, garlic with chili sauce, olive oil, olives, and fresh herbs. It originally comes with bacon, but that was easily omitted. This might not look like much food, but trust me, the beans were really filling. And the flavors? Simply divine. I was trying to slowly savor it, but honestly, I just wanted to scarf it all down as fast as I could, it was so good. I ate every single thing on the plate, including the lettuce leaves on the bottom.

zelen with swan
Totally craveable. I want to try to recreate this red bean salad at home… hehe

zelen with swan
Swan ordered their lunch set menu which included this dessert bowl of homemade yogurt with honey and walnuts.

zelen with swan
For ‘service,’ I got a cup of hot americano. :) How kind of them!

Seriously, if you haven’t yet gone to Zelen, I highly recommend it. Especially their salads! They are so incredibly flavorful and fresh. The food is on the pricey side, but it’s worth the experience of getting to taste rare Bulgarian cuisine in Korea.

zelen with swan
Directions: Itaewon Station, exit 1. Turn right and walk up the hill next to Hamilton Hotel. Then turn left and walk til you reach the end of the road. Zelen will be on the second floor of the building on your right. Go up the long steps to get to the entrance.
Check website for menu.

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