The rising phenomenon of K-drama has paved the way for the popularization of Korean culture globally. The world has become obsessed with things that are made from Korea. Among those, Korea food steals much of the spotlight. In every K-drama, you will undoubtedly see at least one scene in which someone is eating. This blog will show you “What to eat in Seoul: The ultimate Seoul food guide”.
This post will include 3 parts: Seoul food guide, What to eat in Seoul & Seoul best places to eat and Summary.
I . Seoul food guide
Before telling you about “What to eat in Seoul & Seoul best places to eat”, let’s take a look at “Korean dining etiquettes” and “How to find places to eat in Seoul”.
1.1. Korean dining etiquettes
Different from any other countries in East Asia, stainless-steel utensils (chopsticks, bowls, dishes and drinking cups) are primarily used. However, the stainless-steel material makes it more difficult to grab food as it is more slippery than wood or bamboo.
It is even difficult for a Vietnamese like me to use stainless-steel, though our main utensils are made from wood or bamboo. So it will be more challenging for the Westerner.
Kimchi is an indispensalbe side dish as the Korean eat Kimchi in almost every meal. And kimchi is served for free at every restaurant.
And there will be some etiquettes you need to follow at any Korean restaurant:
1.2. How to find places to eat in Seoul
The trendy capital of Korea Seoul encompasses a multitude of delectable cuisine. Undoubtedly all of the best restaurants are housed in this dynamic city.
However good restaurants are not gathered in one specific but scattered all over the city, from the internationally famous Myeongdong street to the truly traditional Hanok Bukchon area. Use the phrase “name of the food + district” to google for places to eat in Seoul.
E.g.: If you want to eat Dakgalbi when traveling around Hongdae district, google “dakgalbi hongdae” and you’ll find what you need.
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II. What to eat in Seoul & Seoul best places to eat
I can’t tell you how much I love Korean food. Before traveling to Seoul, I was a bit skeptical about the food. However, that doubt was eliminate right after the very first dish.
Here is my recommendations for What to eat in Seoul and Seoul best places to eat (you can also see the virtual map below)
2.1. Myeongdong Kyoja Main – Kalguksu, Mandu
Myeongdong Kyoja is a family-owned restaurant, which has been in business since 1966. The super central location in middle of Myeongdong district makes this restaurant tourist-filled.
The restaurant offers only four items on the menu namely mandu (dumplings), handmade kalguksu (noodle soup), bibim guksu (spicy noodles), and kongguksu (noodles in cold soybean soup).
And the most preferred dish is handmade kalguksu. However, I would not recommend this dish, try mandu instead.
|MYEONGDONG KYOJA MAIN
2.2. Florte Flower Cafe – Flower coffee
Still finding a place to take Instagram photos, Florte Flower Cafe is inarguably the best option. So what makes this cafe Instagrammable? Definitely the floral-themed decoration.
Flowers are decorated at every corner, from exterior to interior. Even the beverages and food will come infused with flowers (Your orders will be served on decorated trays with little cutie mascot)
Don’t forget to wear handmade floral headbands and bouquets since this cafe provides free for customers.
|FLORTE FLOWER CAFÉ
2.3. Jin Ok Hwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari – Chicken Stew (Dakhanmari)
Jin Ok Hwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari, whose only main dish is chicken stew (dakhanmari), has been loved by the locals for over 30 years.
This restaurant is not easy to find as it is located at a small alley in Dongdaemun market (just follow the direction from Google Maps until you see a long queue)
At first, I was a bit skeptical about the food. Because it was only a small chicken, cooked in a metal pot of soup with minimal ingredients including garlic and green onion. However, that initial impression turned out to be wrong right after the first bite. You can add some chilli paste into the pot, believe me the more you add, the tastier the chicken will be.
|JIN OK HWA
2.4. James Cheese Back Ribs – Cheese Back Ribs
James Cheese Back Ribs is literally a must-try dish for cheese lovers. Back ribs, mozzarella cheese, corn and onion are served in a hot iron plate (You can choose the level of spiciness and the amount of the cheese).
When the cheese is melted, the staff will cut the ribs and roll them into the cheese. This part was like watching a show so don’t forget to turn on Boomerang on Instagram. My recommendation is to order the James Cheese Back Ribs only as the other side dishes are not so good.
|JAMES CHEESE BACK RIBS MYEONGDONG
2.5. Remicone – Thunder Bomb
With the exterior imitating a white ice cream truck, Remicone is an Instagrammable ice cream store of the hipster district Garosu-gil.
Remicone’s most popular dessert is the Thunder Bomb, which came in a cup of soft-textured ice cream topped with fluffy cotton candy. You can customize your ice cream or choose from the premade custom menu.
2.6. Yoogane – Dakgalbi
Yoogane’s main dish is dakgalbi (or spicy stir-fried chicken), which serves in a huge pan filled with spicy marinated chicken, along with sliced cabbage, onions and rice cakes (And don’t worry, you don’t need to stir the pan as the staff will help you).
For non spicy-eater, the red color from spicy sauce will make you dizzy. But believe me it’s not spicy as you see. My recommendation is to order rice rather than noodles, as it will soak up all the flavor of spicy sauce.
2.7. Sinseon Seolleongtang – Seolleongtang
Sinseon Seolleongtang is a well-known chain restaurant which specializes in seolleongtang (ox-bone soup).
Although there are branches all across Korea, the Myeongdong branch is especially popular among tourists (It took me 30 minutes to queue even at 9:00 pm).
So what makes the soup special? Definitely the rich and sweet broth as it is cooked for hours with a high-heat pressure cooker. Make sure to order a bowl of rice as it will make every bite become more delicious.
|SINSEON SEOLLEONGTANG MYEONGDONG
2.8. Maple Tree – Korean BBQ (Bulgogi)
Having a BBQ is definitely one of my top-to-do-thing when traveling to Korea. Since I got obsessed with every BBQ scene which appeared on K-drama.
Maple Tree House is a premium Korean barbeque restaurant chain, offering a variety of grilled meats. Among 3 branches in Seoul, Itaewon is the most foreign-friendly restaurant with English-profiency staff.
2.9. Crafts Hans – Chimaek
What to represent Korean drinking culture? Definitely Chimaek. Chimeak is a combination of fried chicken and beer (“chi” for chicken and “maek” for makeju). Believe me the malty taste of beer and the savory taste of fried chickens will make your night.
And Crafts Hans is our pick for the last night in Seoul. Starting out as a convenience mart selling bottles of beers, Crafts Hans has become a fully fledged craft beer pub which offers specially designed tastes namely Mango Ale, Weizen, Hans Pilsner, etc.
2.10. Jirisan – Hanjeongsik Menu
Jirisan is a traditional Korean restaurant located in the popular neighborhood of Insadong. The restaurant offers the signature Hanjeongsik menu which is a full-course Korean meal with multiple dishes.
This will be a good way to travel like a local, but only for your first trip to Korea. I like the restaurant setting but not for the food. As the Hanjeongsik menu serves mainly cold dishes and is quite overpriced (23,000₩/pax).
III. Summary: What to eat in Seoul – The ultimate Seoul food guide
3.1. Seoul travel tips
– Keep in mind that most of the Koreans don’t speak English, as well as staffs in restaurant (but they can speak Chinese – I don’t know why). However, in tourist-filled areas such as Myeongdong and Itaewon, staffs can speak English well. So dine in these aforementioned areas.
– Make sure to choose a restaurant whose menu is written in both Korean and English.
– Don’t use Google Maps when travelling in Seoul, use Kakao or Naver Maps instead.
– If you still don’t know what to do in Seoul, visit https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/. This page will offer you unlimited information about traveling in Korea and Seoul.
3.2. What to eat in Seoul – The ultimate Seoul food guide Vlog
3.3. Summary: What to eat in Seoul – The ultimate Seoul food guide
Here are my recommendations for “What to eat in Seoul: The ultimate Seoul food guide”. If you need any information about traveling to Seoul, kindly see other posts:
– MUST-USE WEBSITE TO PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP –