Hello! In case you are wondering, yes, I am Greek and this is an article about being Greek in Korea. But, anyone that likes Greek yogurt and Greek food is welcome!
Korea has been welcoming more and more foreigners. But, not very many are Greek. I mean, there aren’t enough of us to form a Greek community as far as I know. I first moved to Korea in 2019 and since then, I’ve only run into 4 or 5 Greek people.
Being a super minority, there are definitely struggles, especially with food! I guess many of you from under-represented countries will get me.
So, struggle number one, No oven. Yup, while Korean foods are mostly grilled, fried, or stewed, Greeks mostly make their food in the oven or in a pressure pot. Ain’t nobody got time to watch beef stew for 3 hours!
Number 2, DA CHEESE. Oh yes, the cheese…Europeans know what I mean. Cheese is a hard-to-find thing. I mean, you do find some cheeses but not the bold, salty-spicy ones. Also, talking about cheese, another major struggle is the yogurt…yogurt in Korea sucks! And let me tell you, those greek style yogurts in Korea, taste nothing like the real deal.
And struggle number 3, is also about the food. Although I do cook more than the average person, sometimes it is hard to find specific ingredients. So, I have to use a lot of imagination and make original dishes.
We talked about some struggles, now it’s time to give solutions! So, let’s say you don’t have an oven. And, you can’t buy one because it is a bit on the expensive side. What do you do?
You can find alternatives and make the recipes in a pan or in a pot. I mean, the number of times I made a pizza from scratch in the pan – guys, you can’t imagine! All you have to do is make a dough, cook it in a pan with the lid from both sides, and then, put your cheeses on top and put the lid back on. It works!
As for cheese, Luckily, E Mart does have feta cheese. But, you can also try going to places that sell wines, they do have more cheeses than what we see in E Mart or other markets.
Now, very important! The yogurt! Hyundai mall and Shinsaege, do sell greek yogurt brands, but who wants to pay that much for a small yogurt cup?
Greek Yogurt Hacks
So, my hack to get greek yogurt like the real deal for cheap at home is: Go to E Mart or Naver, and buy a cheesecloth or rice cloth. Then, buy the “No brand” plain low sugar yogurt.
Pour the yogurt into the cloth and let it strain in the fridge for a day (inside a bowl so that the yogurt won’t touch the bottom). Bam! You will have Greek yogurt! The taste is extremely close to the teal deal!
Savory Greek Pastry Hack
Now, let’s talk more about food! If you miss savory pastries, like cheese pie or spinach pie but, you can’t find the right supplies, I have the hack.
Buy mandu (dumpling) skin. All you have to do is, make your filling (cheese, spinach, etc) put a spoon full of it into the mandu skin and fry it. It is so good! Plus, if you want to add some extra Greek flavor, you can put some honey or feta cheese on top!
Greek Restaurants in Seoul
While there are some Greek foods that we can make dupes of or quick fusion versions of at home, there are some foods that do taste better at a restaurant. Well, luckily there are a few Greek restaurants in Seoul! I haven’t been to all of them though. The truth is that when you see a restaurant serving your home country’s cuisine abroad, you get skeptical. I mean, how authentic can it be? Will it taste right?
Foreign food abroad can never really compare to the real deal. But, for this restaurant, I can 100% assure you that it is the real deal. You will get the authentic taste of Greek food at Niko kitchen! It is truly amazing and my go-to place when Korean people ask me where they can try Greek food. I recommend trying the musaka and milk pie with phyllo!
Niko Kitchen(니코 키친) Address: 85-5 Yulgok-ro 10-gil, Gwonnong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Korean Address: 서울 종로구 율곡로10길 85-5 Operating Hours: 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM
I hope my hacks can make your life a little better while you stay in Korea!
Want to try more international cuisine in Seoul? Click Here to read about three foreigner-owned restaurants!