Bibimnaengmyeon
Food, Korea, Travel

25 Damn Delicious Korean Foods – What to Eat in Seoul

25 Damn Delicious Korean Foods – What to Eat in Seoul

This is the Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Seoul.

Why? Because Koreans live for food.

Although I live in Los Angeles, where you can probably get the best Korean food outside of Korea, I still yearn for the delicious food of Korea

Korea is one of the ultimate foodie destinations, I would easily plan a trip to Korea just for the food (although you might want to check out their beaches too).


Why is the food so much better in Asia?!

I’ve rounded up a list of the MUST TRY foods when you visit the heart of Korea…..Seoul. I’ve also listed restaurants where you can try each of these dishes.

What are you waiting for? Let’s Go! Here’s what to eat in Seoul!

 

 

BibimbapShot by Guilhem Vellut

1. Bibimbap

Not only is bibimbap  delicious and healthy, it’s a beautiful bowl of food. There is a delectable array of colors, often presented in a sizzling hot stone pot (dolsot). The purpose of the pot is so that the rice at the bottom gets a crunchy bite to it to add even more texture to the dish.

The translation of bibimbap means mixed rice. It’s served with the popular Korean ingredient gochujang. Once you are ready to eat, you just mixed everything up in the bowl and enjoy each distinctly flavored bite.

Bonus points if it’s served with a raw egg on top!

It’s super exciting to see Bibimbap becoming more and more popular in the United States but the best bibimbap I’ve tasted is still from Korea. Make sure to get a taste of it on your trip

Recommended Restaurant
Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan Restaurant
Address: 24-11 Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

KalbiShot by: @euuun_j

2. Kalbi

When I’m in Korea, I always have Korean BBQ food on my mind. It’s definitely one of my favorite foods. There are so many cuts of meat and variations on methods of serving the bbq, which makes each experience unique and fun.

Kalbi or Galbi is definitely one of the most popular cuts of Korean bbq! It’s made from the short ribs cut of beef and is marinated in sweet sauce with a soy sauce base

Each Korean mommy I know has her very own secret Kalbi recipe and it’s the same with every restaurant.  You can find various yummy additions to the sauce, such as pears, honey or even lemon-lime soda.

Kalbi is commonly eaten as a wrap made of a leafy vegetable. Lettuce and steamed cabbage are a few of the popular options. You can wrap the meat inside the lettuce, add some kimchi and rice if you like, and top it off with one of the dipping sauces. My personal favorite is ssamjang, a bean paste, and red pepper sauce. Other popular side sauces are sesame oil and salt and a spicy sauce.

Although many restaurants serve a plethora of cuts of meats, kalbi is so special that there are many restaurants specializing in only serving the short rib cut of meat.

Recommended Restaurant
Mapo Sutbul Kalbi
Address: 107-97 Nogosan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

SamgyeopsalPhoto shot by Korea Travel Notes

3. Samgyeopsal

Pork Belly! How amazing is it that Korean women in Korea believe that pork belly makes your skin nice and beautiful.

Not that I needed another reason to enjoy pork belly….but an extra incentive never hurts.

Pork belly is very popular in Asian cuisine and it is a form of bacon. It’s pre-bacon, before the bacon gets cured, smoked and sliced.

What’s up with Americans not enjoying fatty meat. NEWSFLASH, the fat is where the flavors at! You’ll see what I mean when you bite into a juicy piece of fatty, rich pork belly.

It was surveyed that most households in Korea eat pork belly at least once a week. It’s also eaten popular as ssam. The definition of ssam is wrapped, and Korean bbq meat is usually wrapped in a leafy vegetable and eaten by hand. Like a super healthy taco!

If you haven’t enjoyed Korean bbq before, you are missing out! Korean bbq is usually cooked at your table, with the grill in the middle of the table. At many Korean bbq restaurants, the wait staff grills the meat for you and then cuts the meat up into bite-sized pieces.

The best BBQ meat in the world is taken directly off the grill and popped sizzling hot into my eager mouth. Come to me now!

Recommended Restaurant
Jongno Barbeque
Address: 233-2, Hyoje-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

dakgalbiShot by: @ccindylam

4. Dak Galbi

Yet another form of delicious Korean bbq is Dak Galbi, which consists of stir-fried chicken and vegetables, usually on a hot stone grill. It’s a popular drinking food and usually super spicy. It’s also popular to top it with melted cheese.

Some restaurants allow you to mix and match ingredients, some include noodles, cabbage, rice cakes, sweet potato and much more.

When you are done with your chicken, you can usually opt to finish the meal up with fried rice. Usually the leftovers of your chicken mixture, the server adds white rice and some extra goodies and mixes it all up on the grill.

Koreans love that crunchy rice texture and the stone grill is perfect for creating the perfect rice crust!

Recommended Restaurant
Hongdae Dakgalbi
Address: 32, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04039, South Korea
Phone: 02-2245-5222

Kimchi ChigaeShot by Mabel Lu

5. Kimchi Jjigae

Koreans love their kimchi and it is usually seen at every meal. It’s popular to include kimchi in all kind of preparations: stews, pancakes, fried rice – the list is endless

Stews are ubiquitous in Korean cuisine and kimchi jjigae is definitely a comfort food. It’s tangy, spicy and served boiling hot. Kimchi is the main ingredient in kimchi jjigae and it’s commonly used with older kimchi which has been fermented longer

This stew is enjoyed with rice and banchan, an assortment of small Korean side dishes. It is commonly made with bits of pork belly and tofu, seafood, various veggies and onions are often added als0.

Kimchi is a fermented cabbage with a strong odor which I find delicious. You might find it off-putting if you have never encountered it before but once you get used to it, its the best thing ever!

Recommended Restaurant
Hanokjib 한옥집
Address: 178 Naengcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-362-8653
Website: http://www.hanokjib.co.kr

 Soy Sauce Crab

6. Ganjang-gejang

Ganjang-gejang means soy sauce crab. The dish is often served cold and the crab is salted and fermented. This was originally a preservation technique.

Ganjang-gejang is eaten enjoyed with rice and is topped off with beautifully orange roe. The fermented crab has a deliciously silky and jelly-like consistency. It’s both spicy and salty with a richly flavored umami undertone.

Koreans believe that because a crab lives in cold water, it has cooling properties. It is a super popular spring and summer dish!

Recommended Restaurant
Pro Ganjang Gejang Restaurant
Address: 27-1 Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-543-4126
Website: http://www.prosoycrab.co.kr/#_=_

Kyochon Fried Chicken

Shot by Debbie Tingzon

7. Fried Chicken

Korean fried chicken aka Yangnyeom Dak is a popular fast food in Korea and its fried twice. In the United States, fried chicken is usually only fried once.

The result of the second fry is a much crunchier and less oily chicken. Also different is that Korean fried chicken is usually juicier, and has a much thinner layer of fried coating.

After the chicken is taken out of the fryer, it’s usually painted with a sweet sauce.

Korean Fried Chicken = KFC for the win!

You might have already heard of our recommended restaurant, it already has outposts in Los Angeles.

Recommended Restaurant
Kyochon
Address: Dongdaemun | 217-105, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2231-9337
Website:  https://www.kyochon.com.my/

SoondubuShot by Kyle Nishioka

8. Soondubu

Another comfort dish soondubu is a boiling pot of meltingly soft silk tofu. You can usually specify your featured ingredients, adding various meats, seafood and veggies to the pot.

Add the raw egg just before eating to add some extra umami to the stew!

Eat Soondubu with rice, scoop the rice out from the stone pot. The server often scoops the rice out from the stone pot into a bowl for you to eat with the tofu. While you are eating, he fills the stone pot with boiling water. After you are done with your meal, you enjoy the steamed porridge-y rice at the end!

Recommended Restaurant
Myongdong

Address: 199-50 Euljiro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: 82-02-755-1878

JajangmyeonShot by: ChanIck Jeong

9. Jajangmyeon

Koreans have their own take on Chinese cuisine, kind of like how Panda Express tastes quite different from most authentic Chinese food. It’s definitely delicious, though! Myeon means noodles and jjajangmyeon is a noodle dish slathered in a thick deep fried sauce. The sauce is made of a soybean paste and has a deep umami flavor.

Jajangmyeon originated from the Chinese Zhajiangmien but is now it’s own distinct dish.

It’s a very common dish and usually very inexpensive, it’s definitely a convenient dish for a busy tourist. So many dishes to try, so little time!

Our recommended restaurant pick is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seoul!

Recommended Restaurant
Andongjang

Address: 315-18, Euljiro3-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2266-3814

Mulnaengmyeonphoto by:

10. Mul-naengmyeon

Naengmyeon means “cold noodles” in Korean. It’s served cold and is usually iced and is the perfect summer dish. The noodles are made from buckwheat and are long and best handmade. You must try this dish when visiting Seoul!

The noodles are endlessly long so it’s usually cut with scissors before eating. I personally love eating a small bowl of naengmyeon along with my Korean bbq meal but it is definitely a popular stand-alone meal as well.

Naengmyeon broth is tangy and sweet and is served in a big metal bowl. It’s topped off with cucumbers, pickled radish, and a boiled egg. Hot mustard and vinegar are usually served on the side for you to flavor your noodles with.

Naengmyeon is so popular in Korea that one of the members of the KPOP super group Girls Generation made a hit song called Naengmyeon.

Recommended Restaurant
Ojangdong Hamheung Naengmyeon
Address: 90-10, Ojang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2267-9500

BibimnaengmyeonShot by: Club Nobbie

11. Bibim-naengmyeon

Bibim-naengmyeon is a sister to the Mul-naengmyeon that we just described. It’s usually served with less soup and is spicy red. It’s also served cold.

You might remember the Bibim word from Bibimbap which means “mixed up”. Similarly to bibimbap, you mix up the bowl of noodles before eating.

The noodles are super chewy and pair perfectly with the crisp cucumber slices that top the dish.

The Bibim-naengmyeon is also delicious at Ojangdong, the restaurant that we just recommended as our top pick to sample Mul-naengmyeon

Recommended Restaurant
Ojangdong Hamheung Naengmyeon
Address: 90-10, Ojang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2267-9500

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 8.27.47 PMShot by: @friddechan

12. Doenjang jjigae

Another popular Korean stew dish, Doenjang jjigae is often served as a side dish alongside Korean BBQ. It is also commonly eaten as a standalone meal alongside rice.

Doenjang is a Korean soybean paste and is the main flavor of the stew. The stew usually consists of tofu, squash, various meats, onion and more. Each restaurant will have their own unique spin on the dish.

As is with all Korean stews, it’s served boiling hot and eaten with rice and an assortment of banchan.

Many Koreans have a particular nostalgia for this dish as many Korean moms serve this dish to their new babies. Sure beats American baby food mush!

Recommended Restaurant
참숯골
Address: 603-1 Yeoksam 1(il)-dongSeoul 135-081
Phone: +82-02-565-2778

tteokbokkiShot by: young_oh

13. Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki are Spicy Rice Cakes! They are a popular street food but also served as a main dish in restaurants. They are tossed with gochujang and a variety of ingredients such as onion, fishcakes, and assorted veggies.

I love Tteokbokki, delicious tteokbokki should be soft but with a chewy bite, kind of like a super thick udon noodle.

Variations of the standard tteokbokki are available, such as crazy spicy rip off your face rice cakes. Proceed with caution! The spicy rice cakes can also found served covered in cheese, on a stick or as banchan.

Sinsa Market Tteokbokki is a great restaurant to indulge in the spicy rice cakes, it’s a super bustling little stall – beloved by locals!

Recommended Restaurant
Sinsa Market Tteokbokki
Address: 72-1, Apgujeong-ro 29-gil Gangnam-gu Seoul 06004
Phone: +82-02-542-3516

AgujjimShot by @missang000

14. Agujjim

The direct translation of Agujjim is “braised spicy angler”. Jjim means “to steam” and mostly refers to braised dishes in Korean cuisine. It’s a super spicy fish dish, made with monkfish, always tossed with an abundance of bean sprouts.

The monkfish is an ugly fish but in Agujjim, its appearance is disguised. It’s a delicious and healthy dish and it’s so popular that there are two streets with restaurants all specializing in the dish. Monkfish is a firm, sturdy fish.

monkfish

Monkfish in all its natural beauty. Whoa

Asians love to eat bone-in meat (it preserves all the flavor) and in agujjim the monkfish is usually prepared with skin-on and bone-in.

I’m of Taiwanese descent and I know that our older generation loves to suck all the little bits of meat off bones. I expect that Koreans feel the same way!

Agujjim is also a popular drinking dish.

Recommended Restaurant
Chumbeong Agujjim
Address: 12, Gangnam-daero 150-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Phone: +82-02-543-8873

jjamppongShot by sangbok_lee

15. Jjambbong

Jjambbong is another dish from the category of Korean Chinese Food. It’s a spicy noodle dish with a variety of seafood. You might see delicious squid, shrimp, mussels and more, depending on the restaurant that you visit

Koreans sure love that delicious comfort food. Jjambbong is a truly soothing bowl of goodness.

Recommended Restaurant
Romance Jjambbong
Address: 6, Supyo-ro6-Gil, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-22-2734458

Haemul PajeonShot by:Matt@PEK

16. Haemul Pajeon

Haemul Pajeon is a seafood pancake featuring an abundance of green onion. The base of the pancake consists of flour and eggs. Squid, shrimps, meat and all kinds of goodness can be included in the pancake!

You’ll be able to easily recognize Haemul Pajeon as the onions are super featured in the dish.

Haemul Pajeon is also a popular drinking food and snack food.

Recommended Restaurant
Nakseo Pajeon Restaurant
Address: 15, Hoegi-ro28-Gil, Seoul, South Korea

Nakji bokkeumshot by:dangerusswayne

17. Nakji bokkeum

Nakji bokkeum is a spicy stir fried octopus. Have you noticed that octopus and squid are quite popular in Korean food. I love it!

The dish is stir fried with veggies such as cabbage, onions, and carrots. The delicious leftover sauce is often made from a dried rice after the meal.

Eat the octopus quickly off the plate as it’s soft and chewy, leave it for too long and it’ll start to get tough.

Recommended Restaurant
Halmae Nakji
Address: 31-7, Myeongdong2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

SoondaeShot by: Alpha

18. Sundae

Sundae is Korea’s version of blood sausage. It consists of pig intestines stuffed with a base of blood and rice. Sundae and blood sausage in general sounds a bit disgusting in its description but it is a dish that is beloved by many. It can be served hot or cold.

The dish is so loved that there is an entire neighborhood in Seoul called Sundae Town, featuring countless sundae specializing restaurants.

Sundae is chewy, soft, slightly gelatinous, earthy and delicious! You can pick up sundae at the supermarket but I definitely prefer it freshly made. It’s also delicious in a stew or fried in the pan. The fried sundae will be crispy on the outside but remain soft inside.

You can find sundae served on a stick from street vendors, it’s a popular street food. Many restaurants specialize in the dish so it also makes for a great meal.

Recommended Restaurant
Baekam Sundae
Address: 525-6, Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2604-4456

DubukimchiShot by soulflower_sh

19. Dubu kimchi

Dubu kimchi featured sauteed kimchi and tofu. It usually features pork in the dish also. It’s a popular drinking dish often seen at bars.

Since the dish is usually not served with rice, the flavor of the pungent kimchi is balanced with the unseasoned tofu.

haejanggukshot by: james_denfield

20. Haejangguk

Haejangguk is a popular hangover soup, the name literally means “soup to chase a hangover”. There are many variations on the dish but it often includes a base of beef broth, cabbage and ox blood.

Bone broths are all the rage in big cities in the states but Koreans long ago mastered the delicious long stewed bone broths.

The stewed ox in haejangguk is served with the bone which has been braising in the soup base for hours. The meat falls off the bones and includes bits of cartilage yumminess also.

Finally, make sure to dump your steamed rice directly into the boiling soup to delicious a porridge-like dish.

BossamShot by: ____speed

21. Bossam

Bossam is rich delicious pork belly goodness. It’s spiced and boiled pork belly meant to be wrapped in a leafy vegetable, served with a wide array of sides. In your hand-held wrap, you might also include kimchi, fermented shrimp, garlic and more. Ssamjang is the sauce that usually finishes off this veggie, taco-like dish.

Most of all, it’s also a popular anju – drinking dish paired with alcohol. You must try this while in Seoul, it’s much better than anything that you’ll try in the States.

Often Bossam is also served with oysters to include in the wrap. Yum!

Recommended Restaurant
Won Grandmother Bonga Bossam
Address: 1685 Hwanghak-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-2232-3232     WEBSITE

Gopchang
Shot by Visit Seoul

22. Gopchang

Yay for intestines! Gopchang is made of the small intestines of pigs or cows. It’s a delicious dish that originated as peasant food but is now enjoyed as a favorite from all walks of life.

As with many of the dishes featured in this guide, gopchang is also a paired well with soju and nightlife.

Recommended Restaurant
Sinchon Hwangso Gopchang
Address: 31, Yonsei-ro 9-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03788
Phone: +82-02-337-2640

BingsuShot by: han_is_vicki

23. Bingsu

Look! It’s our first dessert dish on this guide. Bingsu is a Korean shaved ice, topped with your choice of delicacies. Some options include red bean, fruit, mochi, and more.

Bingsu is so refreshing and a perfect dessert for after a rich meal of Korean BBQ.

It’s also a super cool and trendy food, you’ll frequently see the young nightlife of Seoul frequently the popular Bingsu cafes.

Recommended Restaurant
Coffeest
Address: 1-335 Sinmunlo 2ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Phone: 82-2-773-5555

jeonbokjukShot by: heysesame

24. Jeonbokjuk

You might have already noticed that in Korea, they love to make a make-shift like porridge by dumping the rice into various stews. Jeonbokjuk is a porridge featuring abalone.

It’s a sublimely simple dish with which is deeply comforting.

Jeonbokjuk is an incredibly healthy and invigorating dish, it’s frequently recommended for those getting over a cold or to senior citizens hoping to regain some extra vigor.

It’s also great as a stomachache and I bet it also works fantastic as another hangover cure option. (You can’t have too many)

Recommended Restaurant
Congee House Myeongdong
Address: 31, Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04537
Phone: 02-757-8460

Kimbapshot by:manda_wong

25. Gimbap

Gimbap is life Korean sushi! It’s a popular potluck item or outdoor bbq treat. There are many variations to the fillings. My favorites include fishcakes, pickled radish, imitation crab and some cooked egg.

Brown rice is a new healthy version of gimbap that is getting popular but I say eww gross, stick to the delicious short grain rice OG version.

Fun, more updated versions of gimbap can be found including delicious spam, cheese, spicy squid, the possibilities are endless!

Recommended Restaurant
Seoho Gimbap
Address: 141-1, Bangbaejungang-ro Seocho-gu Seoul 137-830
Phone: 82-02-594-4434

seolleongtangShot by: @thegrandappetit

26. Seolleongtang

A classic comfort food or hangover cure (Koreans sure have a lot of options!), Seolleongtang is an ox bone soup. Trendy hipsters in the United States just discovered bone broth recently but Koreans have enjoyed bone broths forever.

Seolleongtang is an extremely customizable is a highly customizable dish, it’s served with a variety of spices for you to season the broth to your heart’s desire. I’m personally heavy on the sodium because I have a salty tooth!

As with most brothy dishes, it’s common practice to pour your rice into the bowl to enjoy with the soup.

Recommended Restaurant
Imun Seolleongtang
Address: 110-170  38-13, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul 
Phone: +82-2-733-6526

 

Mudfish SoupShot by: engela_y

27. Chueotang

The Korean name Chueotang certainly sounds more appetizing than the translation “Mudfish Soup”. It’s a peasant dish popularized by farmers and used to recuperate from a hard day’s work.

Chueotang is super high in vitamins and proteins and Koreans believe that it’s great for your complexion.

Maybe it’s not the most beautiful Korean dish that exists, but its yummy in the tummy!

Recommended Restaurant
Chunhyanggol Namwon Chueotang
Address: 213, Mokdongseo-ro, Yangcheon-gu | #108, Seshin Village
Phone: +82-02-2647-1500

SamgyetangShot by kkirugi

28. Samgyetang

Samgyetang is Korean Ginseng Soup and I was super confused by it when I first tried it as a teenager in Korea. It’s an entire young chicken boiled in soup, which I consider so sumptuous these days. Not only that but the chicken is filled with rice, spices, and garlic. No other chicken soup in the world can beat that!

To further ramp up the healing, healthful properties of this soup, Korean ginseng and jujube are added. Jujube is used in Korean and Chinese medicine to treatment a long list of ailments. It’s also popularly used in tea.

If you catch a cold, order yourself a bowl of Samgyetang stat!

You might be surprised to find that Koreans love to eat hot soups in the summertime, they actually believe that the heat results in cooling of the body temperature.

Finally, you’re lucky, your Samgyetang might be paired with some ginseng wine!

Recommended Restaurant
Tosokchon Samgyetang
Address: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03041
Phone: +82-02-737-7444    WEBSITE

BulgogiShot by:Ville Oksanen

29. Bulgogi

Most people around the world are familiar with bulgogi, a popular Korean BBQ treat. It’s also super popular in fusion food in the States, appearing in tacos, pizza, burgers and more

Bulgogi is tender, marinated beef with a very sweet and tangy flavor. The literal translation to English is “fire meat”, as it is mostly cooked on the grill originally. These days you’ll also find tons of pan cooked bulgogi too.

Recommended Restaurant
Gogung Myeongdong Store
Address: 12-14, Chungmuro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-012, South Korea
Phone: +82-02-776-3211    WEBSITE

Budae jjigaeshot by: tastelondon_

30. Budae jjigae

I’m ending this list with one of my favorite Korean dishes ever! Budae jjigae combines some of my favorite things ever. It’s like kimchi chigae stew filled with tons of extra goodness that make no sense, such as spam, hot dogs, ramen noodles. Sometimes it’ll even be topped with cheese and beans. This is definitely my personal #1 food to eat in Seoul

I’ll always take any excuse to add more spam into my life!

Let me give some background so the dish makes a little more sense. Budae jjigae translates into “troop stew” and developed around the time of the Korean War. U.S. military surplus food somehow made it into the hands of local Koreans, who incorporated them into this lovely dish.

Really you could throw anything into this pot and it would taste delicious.

One question, though, I’ve always wondered why budae jjigae in the States is so damn expensive? I feel like I could make it at home for $2. That’s it, I’m inspired to make the dish at home now. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Recommended Restaurant
Bada Sikdang
Address: 743-7, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-893
Phone: +82-02-795-1317

25 Damn Delicious Korean Foods - What to Eat in Seoul