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Eat your way around Korea with MasterChef Amina Elshafei

If there’s anyone who knows Korean eating and cooking it’s MasterChef contestant Amina Elshafei. Here's her tips on getting the most out of a visit to Korea.

If there’s anyone who knows Korean eating and cooking it’s MasterChef contestant Amina Elshafei. Here’s her tips on getting the most out of a visit to Korea.

If you don’t already know her (where have you been?) it’s Australia’s favourite half Korean, half Egyptian MasterChef contestant Amina Elshafei.

With a Korean mother, Amina grew up eating Korea favourites and later began incorporating these traditional dishes into her own unique recipes.

Amina was made famous in Australia in 2012 when she starred in the popular cooking show MasterChef, but is now taking her fame to the next level by teaming up with Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) to promote the destinations unique culinary experience.

As part of her relationship with KTO she recently spent weeks travelling around ‘Hanguk’ (aka Korea) where she dined at some of the top and more intimate restaurants.

Speaking at KTO’s annual roadshow in Sydney last week she highlighted a few Korean spots every traveller needs to visit in order to get the true Korean gastronomy experience.


1) Bukchon Hanok Village

Photo: Korean Tourism Organistion

Photo: Korea Tourism Organistion

Amina stated she would recommend this wonderful traditional village in Seoul to any tourist travelling to Korea, and it is no wonder why.

Being a stark contrast from the city only minutes away, Amina believes the village to be the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of modern Seoul.

Don’t forget to wear good walking shoes if you plan on visiting.


2) Dongdaemun Market

Photo: From South Korea With Love

Photo: From South Korea With Love

This wonderful market offers everything you could possibly want from shops and restaurants to arcades and the best part is it is all open until 5.00am.

Some places are even open 24 hours.


3) Myeongdong

Photo: Korea: Take Two

Photo: Korea: Take Two

Myeongdong is definitely the centre of shopping in Seoul. Amina summed it up perfectly when she called it a shoppers haven.

Myeongdong is filled with amazing shops, adorable cafes, unique open stalls, and delicious restaurants. If you visit Seoul, you absolutely must indulge yourself in Myeongdong.


4) Jikjisa Temple


Photo: Tidbits of GRACE in Korea! – Bertha Korea

Korea is a country filled with gorgeous historical temples but for Amina Jikjisa Temple stood out as one of the most memorable.

She described the beautiful Buddhist temple as a Zen hub colourfully decorated by thousands of beautiful lanterns.

With more than 1000 years of history behind it, Jikjisa Temple really is a wonderful place to visit if you’re looking to take a break from the fast-paced city.


5) Deoksugung Palace

Photo: Korean Tourism Organisation

Photo: Korea Tourism Organisation

Korea is very well-known for it’s amazing historical palaces. When visiting, there are so many wonderful options to choose from that it can be a bit daunting. Amina has solved this problem by recommending the stunning Deoksugung palace.

She said that visiting this palace to witness the changing of the royal guard is an absolute must.

It will give you a full insight into the world of ancient Korea that you will never forget.


6) Busan


Busan is the second main city in Korea and it also happens to be the 6th largest port city in the world.

If you are a lover of seafood then this is the city to be in. Busan has the second largest fish market in the country.

Busan is also a great city for shopaholics as it has largest department store in the world – it’s 11 stories. Talk about shopping heaven.

Has Amina convinced you to go to South Korea?