Seoul Food: Albam Kitchen in Hannam-dong
After eating Korean food for almost a month straight, I couldn’t ignore my intense craving for pasta. There’s this restaurant in Hannam-dong (한남동) called Albam, and they have several pastas on their menu. I was so frustrated though because each day I had the goal of going there or got out of work early enough to get there, they were closed! After two weeks I finally was able to treat myself to a carb feast for one.
This was the first one I had: Cream pasta with egg & nori flakes. The nori adds a slightly fishy flavor, almost like if you were eating pasta with bottarga. The sauce is very rich, cheesy and creamy, and I was so, so full after eating the entire bowl. Alone.
Subsequent visits led me to try these other pastas:
Bolognese with ricotta cheese
Al olio fettuccine with shrimp
And then Hubby finally moved here and we went together and split these two dishes:
Al olio with garlic, snails and cilantro
Honestly, this is a portion for one. The flavors are unique and even on the menu they say “a dish you can only have here at Albam”. But if you don’t like chewy snails, this might not be the right choice for you.
Pork belly steak with avocado, roasted veggies and mashed potatoes
After tasting this, I realized why every single person I’ve ever seen here orders this dish. The pork has a slight 장조림 taste and the soy sauce flavor is mild, but perfectly adds salt to make it stand out from the rest of the dish. The mashed potatoes were phenomenal — creamy, whipped and you could taste the real potatoes.
Okay, listen: all I’ll say is that these pasta dishes satisfied the craving for pasta and I appreciated the local twist on each one, like the snails. It’s common to use snails in Korean stews and fresh parsley is really difficult to find, so the cilantro alternative really makes this unique. The pork belly steak was marinated in a soy sauce mixture and tasted like a cross between 장조림 and a Japanese pork bun. The inside of the restaurant is also very casual and low key, which is really nice. Most Italian restaurants here are either super fancy or formal, and that’s not always the type of environment I want to eat my pasta in.
Also, pickles served on the side is common in Korea. A lot of Koreans think that Italian food is quite greasy, so the pickles help cut the greasiness as you’re eating. Think of it as how they incorporate kimchi into most meals. But the real special piece here at Albam is the warm roll served with a pat of butter in... maple syrup. I know that sounds weird, but trust me — it works.
서울특별시 용산구 이태원로54길 51
Itaewon-ro 54-gil 51, Yongsan-gu (Hannam-dong)
Closed on Sundays