What Should You Eat in Seoul? Save for your next vacation if you are going to have a trip to this beautiful country
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.
2. Samgyupsal (Grilled Pork Belly BBQ) 삼겹살
Samgyupsal consist of thick slices of seasoned or unseasoned pork belly meat, grilled over a hot plate or metal grill. The various seasoning gives you that extra variety.
The walls leading down to the basement of Palsaek Samgyeopsal, one of the most popular places for samgyupsal, is literally covered in pictures of celebrities as well as snapshots from broadcast programs. This restaurant serves 8 different seasoned pork belly, of plain, wine, pine leaf, curry, red-pepper paste, herb, soybean paste, ginseng flavours respectively. I found the wine and curry seasoned pork belly to be my favourite. They also serve complimentary seafood hotpot as well.
The restaurant is tourist friendly, with servers whom can speak multiple languages. The Palsaek Samgyeopsal set costs 34,000 won, and serves 2 to 3 persons. There are 2 branches in Seoul, one in Sinchon and another in Hyehwa vicinity.
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Palsaek Samgyeopsal (팔색삼겹살): 18, Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Nearest train station: Sinchon Station (Line 2), Exit
3. Gogigui (Korean BBQ) 고기구이
An extension of samgyupsal, is the full fledged Korean BBQ. Grab a few friends, order cheap soju, throw some pork (samgyupsal) or beef (sogogi) on the grill in the centre of the table and start feasting.
The meat is typically eaten with a vegetable wrap (lettuce or perilla leaves), with a dollop of ssamjang paste (fermented bean paste mixed with chilli pepper paste). Common accompaniments into the wrap include raw garlic, onion and/or marinated beansprouts.
Migal Maeki-sal (미갈매기살): 7-1 Donui-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest train station: Jongno 3-ga Station, Exit 6
4. Dakgalbi (Pan Fried Chicken) 닭갈비
Dakgalbi is a Korean dish originated from Chuncheon, Gangwon province. It is a gochujang (chilli pepper paste) marinated diced chicken, stir-fried together with sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions, perilla leaves, and ddeok (rice cake) together on a hot plate.
A popular place to have dakgalbi will be at Yoogane. They have a few branches in Seoul: Myeongdong, Korea University and Hyehwa vicinity. The pricing here is at least three times cheaper than the Yoogane franchise in Singapore. I’m eating 5 tummy’s worth of dakgalbi before I return to Singapore. Marinated chicken galbi fried rice starts from 5,500 won per person. I would recommend you to add ramyeon noodles and cheese ddeokbokki. The stir-fried ramyeon noodles tastes like Korean style mee goreng.
Yoogane Chicken Galbi (유가네 닭갈비): 3-1 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Seoul or 66-6 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Seoul
Nearest train station: Myeongdong Station, Exit 8
5. Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) 삼계탕
Even though it is a hot dish, Samgyetang is still considered a popular food for summer. Koreans have a saying called ‘yi yeol chi yeol’ (이열치열) which loosely translates as ‘to fight the heat, you must fight it with more heat as well’. By eating this extremely nutritious dish, it is said to replenish the lost internal heat in the body, giving an energy boost. Samgyetang is made from a whole young chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in a broth of Korean ginseng, dried seeded jujube fruits, garlic, ginger and various herbs and condiments. The broth is satisfyingly rich with the slight bitterness of ginseng and medicinal herbs.
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Tosokchon restaurant serves pretty decent haemul pajeon (onion pancake) as well in addition to the chicken soup. It gets really crowded during peak hours at Tosokchon so do plan to travel down early. A normal samgyetang portion costs 15,000 won per person.
Tosokchon (토속촌): 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Nearest train station: Gyeongbuk-gung Station