Good Food and What To Eat in Seoul

Introduction

South Korea, Seoul needs no introduction. Great food, rich heritage and culture, beautiful scenery, awesome shopping, pretty girls and handsome men, mega popular music and film industry. I can’t think of what else is lacking. This is my second visit to Seoul, this time round with slightly more knowledge on their food. During my first trip, i only know Bibimbap (비빔밥) and Bulgogi (불고기).

My trip was from 12 November to 19 November 2013 during the mid of Autumn and the temperature ranges from -4 to 12 degree Celsius. It was a free and easy trip so there was quite some map planning and navigation to be done, which i will share everything in this page.

A shot of Autumn Foliage at Nami Island

Navigation and Transportation in Seoul

For friends who are going for Free & Easy, i recommend another map site that is very popular among the Koreans which gives a much more accurate location. The only problem is, this site can only perform a search by Korean character, which i will try to provide in my posts as much as possible. I can read a little of their Hangul (Korean character) so it actually makes my research much much easier.

Instead of using Google map, i use Naver Map. Even the details of small streets are reflected in Naver Map unlike Google Map and that is really helpful in term of navigation. Throughout the whole trip, i fail to locate only ONE cafe and  i use Google Map for that. Grrrr……

My philosophy for navigation is not to always go for the shortest route, but the easiest route. Most of my maps will take reference from a MRT exit and if you will find the place if you follow my directions closely.

Travelling from places to places is easy in Seoul. The subway system can almost bring you to any part of Seoul with little difficulty.

The Secret Garden of Cheongdeokgung

What to eat and do in different part of Seoul?

I had friends who visited Seoul and when i asked them what food do they recommend in Seoul, and some of their answers are “I don’t know. I just pop into any Korean restaurant along the way. You don’t go for any particular restaurant. Just know the kind of dishes to eat”. That’s what i did for the first visit, but nope, i am not going to do that this time. Apart from some street food and the restaurants at Nami Island, the rest are all planned for.

So for all those fellow foodies out there who will specially travel for food, hop onto my band wagon!

I must explain that this is my second time in Seoul. For some food, i am only having it for the first time so i am not able to make comparison with other places. My reviews for the food places are purely based on my personal preference and taste.

I will add on to this list as i do up my posts, because there are just too many places to write about so please be patient and visit this page as and when, or do subscribe so you will receive an email whenever i have a new post.

I’d grouped my food places according to the nearest MRT station.

The street of Hongdae

(1) Hongik (Hongdae) University Station – 홍대

(1-1) Yeolbong Jimdak (열봉찜닭)

A celebrity restaurant opened by Se7en that specialised in Andong Chicken. The tender chicken and thick, spicy and flavorful sauce attracted visitors to Yeolbong Jimdak and not just simply “it’s opened by a celebrity”. There are a few branches in Seoul and one of them is situated near Hongik MRT station.

(1-2) Paljamakchang(팔자막창)

A restaurant opened by Running Man’s member Gary. Haha eventually bought the franchise rights and opened a branch at Hongdae. Paljamakchang specialize in BBQ pig intestines and other BBQ items. Love the freshness of the pig intestine and the unique dipping sauce for their BBQ items. A must-go for any running fan out there.

(1-3) The Bridge Cafe (카페더브릿지)

The Bridge Cafe is a secret haven at Hongdae district which is little known on Singapore’s forum or blog. The unique interior design is the selling point of the cafe whereby most areas of the cafe are partitioned into private rooms or areas for visitors to indulge in a truly private chillax experience for you and your friends.

(1-4) Coffee Libre (커피 리브레)

Coffee Libra is a side venture from their main line of coffee bean roasting (and they had won numerous awards). The team behind the roaster travels around the world in search of the best coffee beans and are involved in multiple coffee-related events in Seoul. Champion Barista Sang Ho Park has been using their beans in the UK Barista Championship. Want quality coffee? You may want to consider visiting Coffee Libre.

(2) Ehwa (E-dae) Women University Station – 이대

(2-1) Modak Modak Grilled Chicken Skewer 모닭모닭

The must-eat street food at Edae! There is no other street food stall that’s as popular as Modak Modak at Edae shopping district. Long queue is formed along the street that leads to this street food stall. This delectable chicken skewer is topped with their home-made chilli sauce, mayonnaise and cheese powder. In my opinion, this is a must-try if you visit Edae.

(3) Myeongdong Station – 명동

(3-1) Myeongdong Gyoja 명동교자

This restaurant was featured in the South Korea Green Guide Michelin 2012-2013 that specialise in Gyoja (steamed dumpling), and Kalguksu (knife sliced noodle 칼국수). This is one of my favourite restaurants and i just can’t get enough of their Korean-style steamed dumplings. This mandu is huge and meaty, and it’s filled with sweet and juicy sesame-oil-infused minced meat.

(3-2) Yoogane Chicken Galbi (유가네 닭갈비)

Yoogane, originated from Busan (since 1981), although it’s not the first Chicken Galbi stall, but it’s popularity had grown to one the most popular Dak Galbi restaurant in Seoul. Grilled marinated chicken is freshly prepared on the pan right in front of your eyes. The unique selling point of Yoogane is for their add-on side dishes, that are to be added into Galbi Chicken to be pan-fried together.

(3-3) Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong Korean BBQ (강호동 백정)

A restaurant opened by celebrity host Kang Ho-Dong that offers affordable and quality Korean BBQ. Many love them for the pan-grilled egg that comes with the BBQ set. One of the unique things about Baekjeong is they still use Charcoal Grill instead of a gas one.

(3-4) Food Street at Myeongdong

Myeongdong, the shopping heaven for Skin Care, Fashion Wear and a paradise for authentic Korean street food. Where to go for Seoul Street Food? Myeongdong street has it all, from Grilled Cuttle Fish, Steamed Egg Muffin, Spicy Rice Cake, Fish Cake Soup and Fries Coated Hot Dog, you say it, they got it.

(4) Dongdae Mun Station – 동대문

(4-1) Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (진옥화할매원조닭한마리)

The outlook of this dish looks a little weird and too plain to associate it with the word delicious but it proves me otherwise. Dakhanmari is a very local Korean cuisine that is not found in Singapore. Some say that it is a waste not to visit a Dakhanmari restaurant when you’re in Seoul. Definitely a unique dining experience.

(5) Gangnam Station – 강남

(5-1) Kyochon Fried Chicken (교촌치킨)

The most popular Korean-Style fried chicken in Seoul. Kyochon’s fried chicken comes in five flavors – Soy, Spicy, Honey, Salsal and the Fried Series. Cripsy, juicy and freshly fried wings are the reasons for it’s popularity. The honey series is a must-try.

(6) Euljiro 3(sam)-ga Station – 을지로3가

(6-1) Andongjang (안동장)

Andongjang, the oldest Korean Chinese restaurnt in Seoul that serves great Korean Chinese food that includes Jajangmyeon and Tangsuyuk. This place is very accessible with only a 2 minutes walk from the exit of Euljiro-3-Ga. Their speciality includes the Guljjamppong (spicy noodle soup with oysters).

(7) Cheonggu Station – 청구

(7-1) Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki (마복림할머니떡볶이)

Imagine a street that is lined up with rows of Laksa stalls due to the popularity of Katong Laksa in Singapore. And now, imagine a Tteokbokki street in Seoul that was formed due to Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki. I personally think that this is a must-try for Tteokbokki lover. This restaurant made me understand why people are saying there is a vast difference in taste between Tteokbokki found in Singapore and Seoul.

(8) Gyeongbokgung Station – 경복궁

(8-1) Tosokchon (土俗村 토속촌)

Ginseng Chicken Soup, or otherwise known as Samgyetang (삼계탕), is one of the most well known Korean dishes. When people ask about the best Samgyetang in Seoul, the name Tosokchon will always pop up. Tosokchon is a restaurant that was converted from a traditional Hanok that is situated near Gyeongbokgung station.Despite of having a history of only twenty years, they had established a reputation as one of the best Samgyetang in Seoul.

(9) Jongno 5(o)-ga Station – 종로5가

(9-1) Gwangjang Market Street Food – Bindaetteok (광장시장 빈대떡)

Gwangjang Market is well known for it’s food alley that offers a vast variety of traditional Korean food. Among the food stalls, the one that stood out was those that are selling Bindaetteok, with stacks of towering golden-brown crispy pancakes that are freshly fried and served piping hot!

43 thoughts on “Good Food and What To Eat in Seoul

  1. Pingback: Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari – A unique dining experience at Dongdaemun | Chin Chai Jiak

  2. Pingback: Yeolbong Jimdak – The famous Andong Chicken by a famous Korean Celebrity | Chin Chai Jiak

  3. Thank you for the posts (photos, maps and directions too)! Planning a trip to Seoul next year so your posts would help alot! And I kept staring at the fried chicken photos🙂

  4. Thank you for your wonderfully detailed and super tantalising photos! I’m so happy to see the directions for Haha’s restaurant! Will definitely bookmark your blog… can’t wait for more great recommendations for Seoul eats🙂

  5. Hi. Am in Seoul right now doing a f&e trip, and have tasted the yoogane galbi and bindaetteok in gwangjang mkt already. Both great, thanks for your recommendations!

  6. Wow! This must be the most interesting & helpful food guide I’ve ever read.
    Doing a trip to Seoul June 10-15, 2014.
    Write up and pictures much appreciated.
    Thank you very much.

  7. Pingback: Itinerary Planning For Seoul (16th – 20th June 2014) | InLoveWithCities

  8. I agree with the other comments that your blog is one of the best I’ve seen and very helpful. Your photos are also very well done. Thank you so much. This will be helpful for planning an upcoming trip to Korea because I seem to get more excited about trying the food rather than sight-seeing.

  9. this is really useful. gonna bring my dad for his 1st trip to Korea. as he is more interested in Food…with the clear directions indicated here really helped a lot. Thanks muchie!!! jia you!!
    from fellow Singaporean

  10. Hi, you’re blog is very helpful. Will try to visit these places when we visit Seoul this December. By the way, can you suggest a coffee shop or restaurant that is open after midnight, preferably near Hongdae station? Because we need to catch a bus at 5AM. THanks.

  11. go to (8-1) Tosokchon (土俗村 토속촌) only if each and every one of you wants to eat. Staffs are mostly from china who have pretty bad attitude and won’t place orders for you if only a few out of everyone wants to eat. Everyone must at least have an order of a portion.

    • so..if we want to eat there we should order 1 portion for each people ..i though it looks big portion for 1 people espesially woman hahha

  12. wow,thank you for sharing ur experience!im going to seoul in april,is it good or not?and why korean bbq restaurant in korea doesnt have english version for the menu?are the waiters able to speak in english?i bet you really fluent speaking korean ^^

    • Seoul is one of my favourite cities and one of the best place for food! Actually some of the youngsters know how to commute in English and some know Mandarin as well. Certain restaurants have menu in three languages. I merely know how to read but can’t really converse in Korean and honestly, i dont think language is a great barrier there.

  13. Hey blogger-nim! Thanks for your recommendations but I think you could include the price as well! Anyway, will be trying out these dishes when I go to Seoul sometime this year. Thank you!

  14. Thank you very much for your recommendations, I will definitely try few of the places, Im going to Seoul in a week time and this is very helpful. Nice pictures btw,
    Giovanna

  15. Thank you for such a wonderful post! I’m travelling to Seoul this September and I don’t know where to eat! We will be staying in Myeongdong so street food here I come!

    • Hi. The food is not cheap at all. Unless you go for street food every meal, that normally cost around $5-$7, else, depending on what you eat, you need to prepare an average of $12-$15 for each meal.

  16. just wanted to thank you for this page! it was really informative and helpful and definitely saved me a lot of hassle trying to organise my to-go list.

  17. Pingback: Planning for 2 weeks in Korea | bqtravelog

  18. Thanks for your recommendation. What I also like to know if there are any 3 stars hotels you can recommend which are near Myeong dong shopping street and with airport shuttle bus stop nearby. Thanks for your input!

  19. Thanks for the really informative list and way finding on the map.

    So many other sites list but directions can be difficult to locate especially the Korean names seems to be spelled all sorts of ways!

    Visiting Seoul in a couple weeks and excited to check out all the restaurants you listed.

  20. I follow your advice and downloaded Naver Map. Unfortunately it is in Korean. I search iphone apps and there is no English version. How did you use Naver Map when it is not in English?

  21. Thanks for your recommendation. I must try some of these places for my next trip. But there are just too many places to go within such a short stay in Seoul. Do you have recommendation for where to go for shopping and what to buy. Thanks.

  22. Hello, Thank you for your details sharing. I am going there next week your post really helps. Will try to have as much food as possible which you recommended.

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