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101 Korean Food Guide: What and Where to Eat in Seoul

What to Eat in Seoul – Thanks to the massive Korean Hallyu, now South Korea has become one of the most popular countries in Asia to visit. As more people are getting interested in its fascinating culture, it’s almost impossible not to mention Korean traditional cuisine.

Perhaps some of you’ve seen famous Korean food in your favorite dramas or maybe tasted it at a restaurant near your home. Though Korean dishes are available almost anywhere, don’t you feel curious about the real deal? Let’s get feast on authentic Korean meals!

14 Authentic Korean Food You Should Try

Check out our hand-picked menu you should nom when you’re in Seoul. We’ve also included the recommended place for you to get the most genuine taste of these foods. Nothing to worry anymore about what to eat in Seoul, right?

General Tips Before You Go

Seoul is a safe and tourist-friendly city. The transportation, directions, and infrastructures are top-notch. Before visiting, here are some tips that will make your trip even smoother.

  • Make sure you book your flight and hotel in advance. Travel on a budget? Worry not, get the best price on hotels or hostels by booking via tiket.com app!
  • Do you need a visa to enter South Korea? Read the complete guide on how to make Korean Visa and what to prepare.
  • Buy T-Money Card when you first arrive at Incheon International Airport. This card works as your public transport card that can be used for the subway, bus, and taxi.
  • Download Google Translate (if you can’t speak or read Korean) and Naver Map to help you get around the city easily.
  • Rent a portable WiFi so that you can access the internet anywhere and anytime. Check out Java Mifi free 2 days WiFi!

Now you’re all set. What to eat in Seoul? Read this ultimate guide of 14 authentic Korean foods below!

1. Bibimbap (비빔밥)

what to eat in Seoul

This Korean mixed rice is one of the local foods you need to try in Seoul. Bibimbap is almost available everywhere at the eateries, restaurants, or small food stalls around Korea. The best way to enjoy this food is by visiting the wet markets in the city.

This giant bowl of fresh pickled vegetables, kimchi, shredded meat, egg, and rice can be served both in cold or hot. You can choose whether to eat in a dolsot or hot stone bowl. One portion is enough to create a wholesome feeling.

Recommended place: Gwangjang Market (광장시장)

Location: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Jongno-5 Station, Exit 8 or 9

Average price: 8,000 KRW

2. Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)

what to eat in Seoul

Samgyeopsal consists of thick slices of seasoned or unseasoned pork belly meat, grilled over a hot plate or metal grill. At any gogi-jip (meat house) in Korea, you usually have to grill it on the table by yourself.

Trying a Korean BBQ is a must-do activity when you’re in Seoul. Whether it’s a casual dinner after a sightseeing day or a midnight hunger, grill up tasty samgyeopsal will never go wrong.

Recommended place: Wangbijib (왕비집)

Location: 26, Myeong-dong 8ga-gil, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Myeong-dong Station, Exit 9

Average price: 16,000 – 30,000 KRW

3. Kalguksu (칼국수)

what to eat in Seoul

Kalguksu or Korean knife-cut noodle soup is a light, refreshing, and comforting noodle soup. This slurp-worthy noodles usually being served with a side of mandu (Korean dumplings) with juicy fillings, which makes it a hearty meal combination.

There are many restaurants in Seoul that have come up with new recipes like cold knife noodles for summer, kimchi kalguksu, knife noodles with spicy soup, and many more. However, you should taste the authentic kalguksu first before trying out those new modern recipes.

Recommended place: Myeong-dong Kyoja (명동교자)

Location: 29, Myeong-dong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Myeong-dong Station, Exit 8

Average price: 8,000 – 10,000 KRW

4. Injoelmi Toast (인절미토스트)

After all, don’t we all need a bit of sugar rush? For a one-stop dessert place, you can always try this Korean dessert, rice cake sandwich toast. Injoelmi itself is a variety of tteok (Korean rice cake) which is shaped into small pieces covered with powdered dried beans.

This white bread is toasted with grilled rice cake in between, then added by some honey, powdered soybean, azuki, and sesame seeds. If you like something luscious, Injoelmi Toast will please your sweet tooth cravings.

Recommended place: Sulbing (설빙)

Location: 110-290, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Anguk Station, Exit 6

Average price: 4,500 KRW

5. Chimaek (치맥)

what to eat in Seoul

Chimaek actually stands for Korean chikin (fried chicken) and maekju (beer). Chicken is usually served as food with alcohol in many Korean restaurants and perfect for any time. Whether you’re on a picnic with friends, laidback evening at home, or casual dining at a restaurant.

This food fits right into the Korean drinking culture and popular as a delivery food. Lots of people in Korea enjoy eating chimaek at the parks or nearby Hangang River in the afternoon. You can also mix your beer with soju if you want to go extra!

Recommended place: Hanchu Chicken (한추)

Location: 549-9 Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Apgujeong Station, Exit 5

Average price: 17,000 – 19,000 KRW

6. Jajangmyeon (짜장면)

Those who love to watch Korean drama must be familiar with this black noodle. This Korean Chinese cuisine is seasoned with thick rich black bean sauce, served best usually with Tangsuyuk (deep-fried pork with sweet and sour thick sauce).

Jajangmyeon is such a filling and hearty meal, it feels like spaghetti in Asian flair. You can get this menu almost everywhere in a Korean Chinese restaurant. Need a quick meal, tasty, and doesn’t break your wallet? Get a bowl of this black noodle.

Recommended place: Gaehwa (개화)

Location: 52-5, Namdaemun-ro, Jung- gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Hoehyeon Station, Exit 7

Average price: 5,000 KRW

7. Samgyetang (삼계탕)

what to eat in Seoul

Samgyetang is a hot and nutritious soup, made from a whole young chicken, stuffed with glutinous rice, then boiled in a broth of Korean ginseng, jujube fruits, garlic, ginger, and other herbs. This usually considered a summer food to boost your energy and replenish lost heat.

If you want to taste the best samgyetang in Seoul, head to Tosokchon, a common pit stop after visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace. The chicken is tender and the soup creates a wholesome feeling which you’ll never regret to try.

Recommended place: Tosokchon

Location: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Gyeongbokgung Station, Exit 2

Average price: 15,000 KRW

8. Dakgalbi (닭갈비)

Dakgalbi or stir-fried chicken is a popular chicken food in Korea. The chicken is marinated in a gochujang-based sauce with sweet potatoes, cabbage, perilla leaves, scallions, tteok (rice cake), and other ingredients.

You can eat dakgalbi either with noodles or rice, then add cheese into the pan at the end. If you choose noodles (ramen), put it before it’s all cooked. Either way, you can make it into fried rice by adding rice with all the leftover meat and sauce.

Recommended place: Dakeroga (닭으로가)

Location: 662-6, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Apgujeong Station, Exit 5

Average price: 10,000 – 20,000 KRW

9. Sannakji (산낙지)

Love to eat raw food? Then this live baby octopus is a must-eat menu while you’re in Seoul. The octopus is served in chopped up pieces, but you can see the tentacles squirming. The fun part is when you have to make an effort to pick up the pieces then dip into sesame oil.

You’ll feel such a sensation when the octopus tentacles in your mouth wiggling, sticking to your mouth when you’re trying to chew them. Those who love shore-dinner should try this traditional Korean seafood!

Recommended place: Noryangjin Fish Market

Location: 688, Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Noryangjin Market Station, Exit 1

Average price: 5,000 KRW

10. Jjigae (찌개)

what to eat in Seoul

This Korean dish is a stew with many varieties. It’s typically made with meat, seafood, or vegetables in a broth seasoned with gochujang, doenjang, ganjang, or saeujeot. If you need to warm up your tummy, go with this Korean boiling hot stew.

There are many jjigae that you can choose, such as kimchi-jjigae (kimchi stew), sundubu jjigae (spicy soft tofu stew), doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew), or budae jjigae (Army base stew). The difference is basically in the ingredients of each recipe.

Recommended place: Kimbuksoon Keun Nambijip

Location: 522, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Sinsa Station, Exit 7

Average price: 8,000 – 10,000 KRW

11. Naengmyeon (냉면)

In the summer, the best way to enjoy the hot days is by having a bowl of cold buckwheat noodles in Seoul. Topped with fresh, crunchy veggies and a hard-boiled egg, the shredded ice keeps the noodles cool, while the spicy pepper flakes add more tasteful feeling into it.

The menu is simple, water (mul) naengmyeon or spicy (bibim) naengmyeon, with a plate of mandu (dumplings). The sensation of hot mandu and cold noodles add a welcome kick to the summer, but even though it’s a summertime staple, you can always have it all year round.

Recommended place: Donga Naengmyeon(동아 냉면)

Location: 657-43, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Hannam Station, Exit 1

Average price: 4,000 – 5,000 KRW

12. Korean Street Food

Skewers of tangy chargrilled chicken, seafood pancakes, or golden fish-shaped waffles with a sweet filling can never make a full meal but a must-try food in Korea. Come to the pojangmacha street carts around the city to try authentic various of Korean street food.

You can find numerous food street stalls in many areas throughout Seoul. We suggest you go to Myeong-dong area since there are dozens of stalls at affordable prices. Below some recommendation of must-try small bites:

  • Korean egg toast
  • Grilled cheese lobster
  • Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)
  • Odeng (fishcake on skewers with hot broth)
  • Hotteok (sweet Korean pancake)
  • Bbopkki (sugar lollipop or candy)
  • Gyeran-bbang (egg bread)
  • Ojingeo twigim (deep-fried giant squid)
  • Gimbap (Korean sushi roll)
  • Japchae (stir-fried beef noodles with vegetables)
  • Sundae (blood sausage)
  • Pajeon (Korean pancake with kimchi or seafood)
  • Bungeoppang (goldfish bread)
  • Korean soft-serve (ice cream in twist flavors)
  • Dokkaebi (potato hot dog)

Recommended place: Myeong-dong (명동)

Location: Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Myeong-dong Station, Exit 7

Average price: 1,000 – 15,000 KRW

13. Dosirak (도시락)

what to eat in Seoul

Dosirak or kwakpap, is a packed meal consists of bap (rice) and several banchan (side dishes). They usually put it in a thermo-steel container which then before eating it you have to shake it until everything well-mixed.

Lunchboxes in the old days are typically for children’s meals at school, while nowadays dosirak is available everywhere and being served as a general Korean food for anyone. You can get this lunchbox at the vendors in Tongin Market. Tasty and super cheap!

Recommended place: Tongin Market (통인시장)

Location: 18 Jahamun-ro 15-gil, Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Gyeongbokgung Market, Exit 2

Average price: 5,000 KRW

14. Bingsu / Patbingsu (팥빙수)

Bingsu is probably the most popular Korean dessert, which is shaved ice topped with various sweet toppings like fruits, cakes, nuts/beans, syrup, or condensed milk. Nowadays, you can find this dessert in many countries across the world.

In Korea, it’s easily available in cafes, fast food joints, and even in bubble tea stores. The shaved ice made from frozen milk makes it smooth, sweet, and delectable to have especially during the hot summer days.

Recommended place: Sulbing (설빙)

Location: 20 Myeong-dong 10-gil (32-17 Myeong-dong 2(i)-ga), Jung-gu, Seoul

Nearest subway station: Myeong-dong Station, Exit 6

Average price: 5,000 – 13,000 KRW

Visit K-Pop Spots and Instagrammable Places in Seoul

Let’s explore Seoul beyond its delectable culinary! Need a guide to do K-Pop tour in Seoul? Recommended places for a shopping spree? Maybe visit some Insta-worthy spots to spice up your gram? We’ve covered all for you in the complete guide of everything you need to know about discovering Seoul.