Kimchi (김치), Bibimbap (비빔밥), Tteokbokki (떡볶이), Samgyetang (삼계탕)…There are countless traditional Korean dishes that you could try in Korea. Here is my list which I’ve always tried to revisit whenever I visited Korea.
1. Korean BBQ – Wangbijib (Myeongdong)
There are bunch of Korean BBQ restaurant around Myeongdong, this restaurant is located in the central of Myeongdong, close to the subway and stores. Instead of all you can eat, this restaurant often provide different BBQ sets for customers to choose.
I’ve tried couple Korean BBQ restaurant in Myeongdong, but decided to stick with Wangbijib because of the cleanness and the food quality. The set that I ordered comes with side dishes, cold/spicy noodles, as well as the must try wagyu. Wagyu tends to be a bit more expensive than the regular meat, but its juiciness and tenderness is unbeatable. I tried their regular beef as well, but I will honestly order Wagyu instead if I visit the restaurant next time I visit. Their seafood pancake is crispy and fresh with lots of seafood with it. However, it could be too much if you don’t have a big stomach.
Price: 15,000 won to 80,000 won (Price varies depend on what you order)
Location: 63-6 Chungmuro-2ga, Jung-gu, 2f, Seoul, South Korea (Close to Myeongdong station Exit 8. Note: This is on the second floor)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Food quality: ★★★★☆
TIPS: TYPES OF MEAT
Marinated steaks: Bulgogi (불고기-thin slices of beef ), Galbi (갈비-ribs), Jumulleok (주물럭-short cut steaks)
Marinated pork: Dwaeji bulgogi (돼지불고기-Spicy pork)
Barbecued chicken: Dak galbi (닭갈) Unmarinated beef: Chadol bagi (차돌박이- thinly sliced brisket), Samgyeopsal (삼겹살-PORK BELLY!!)
2. Bibimbap-Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan
A grandpa that holds a sign in the middle of the street in Myeongdong – thats how you can recognize the restaurant. Established in 1956, this restaurant features “Jeonju Gopdol Bibimbap”, almost every table will order this signature dish. The bibimbap is made with ingredients such as carrots, egg, and vegetable. After you mix the ingredient with the rice, you will be amazed by its texture. The restaurant also serves other food such as spicy tofu stew, marinated ribs, and Samgyetang (Chicken soup with Jinjang), but I’d prefer eating bibimbap there.
Price: 10,000 won to 25,000 won
Location: 19, Myeongdong 8na-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (Close to Myeongdong station Exit 5)
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Food quality: ★★★★☆
3. Korean style congee – Migabon Restaurant
Perfect for breakfast, Migabon offers various types of congee/porridge such as mushroom and beef porridge, ABALONE porridge and chicken porridge. They also serve other kinds of food as well, but I would prefer eating porridge. Their porridge is different than other Asian countries like Hong Kong, the texture is thicker and the color is such stronger (rather than white). You could taste the difference between each porridge and they are quite generous with their ingredients. Without too much salt, the ingredients are fresh and it makes your body feels comfortable after the meal. Healthy but tasty.
(You could tell that I ate here couple times already haha)
The restaurant is located on the second floor, above Sinseon Seolleongtang in Myeongdong. Compare to Sinseon Seolleongtang, this restaurant opens at 7:30 a.m., which is perfect if you need to get an early breakfast.
Price: 7,000 won to 10,000 won
Location: 56, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04537, South Korea (It is located upstairs)
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Food quality: ★★★★☆
4. Ox-Bone Soup – Sinseon Seolleongtang Myeongdong – (신선설농탕)
Seolnongtang is a soup made with ox bones and is boiled for hours until the soup base turns into a milky white color. Whenever I visit this restaurant during a cold day, there is always a long line waiting outside the restaurant. Its natural way of cooking make this a healthy meal and its perfect to eat when you are getting sick. This restaurant opens 24 hours!!!!
Comes with a bowl of white rice, each table have buckets of kimchi with scissors, you can cut them into pieces and get as much kimchi as you want. The kimchi is not too sour and is a perfect combination with the ox bone stew. Since there is not much seasoning in the stew and the smell of the soup mainly comes from the ox bone, the aftertaste is smooth but not too strong. I ordered the garlic flavor ox bone stew this time, and it definitely adds more layers to the stew while not being too strong.
Price: 8,000 won to 15,000 won
Location: 13, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03162, South Korea
Hours: Open 24 hours
Food quality: ★★★★☆ (Five stars if you don’t like anything with strong flavor)
5. Ginseng Chicken Soup – Tosokchon Samgyetang (토속촌 삼계탕)
I personally like to eat something light without much seasoning, so ginseng chicken soup is actually one of my favorite food in Korea. This restaurant is recommended in several tourist guide book and on website. Located near Gyeongbokgung station, the restaurant is decorated in an old traditional Korean style which makes the chicken soup more “traditional”, not all the tables have chairs, which means that you might have to sit on your knees.
The ginseng smell isn’t too strong and the texture of the chicken is fine. the soup base has a rich flavor with the smell of garlic and sesame. I couldn’t say that this is the best Ginseng chicken soup I’ve ever eaten, but the food environment definitely increase some points for this restaurant.
I would recommended this place if you have never eaten ginseng chicken soup before, this place is filled with traditional Korean flavor and with directions on how to eat the soup. Instead of just going for the food, it will be an unique food experience.
Price: 15,000 won to 30,000 won
Location: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03041, South Korea
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Food quality: ★★★☆☆
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