My Seoul Eats (Part 1)

Guess this is a looooooong overdue post. I don’t know why I never got around to doing up a list like this. (Yes, SL, this is coz of you ^^)

I mean, I’ve been going to Seoul since 2003 and I’d actually gone there some 11 times. I’d say that’s quite plenty. Besides, each time I go, it’s usually anything between two weeks to a month; quite long ^^

Can’t say I’m very familiar with Seoul since I ain’t the super touristy type and I’m practically road-blind. My trips to Seoul are usually very very laidback; almost like those people working overseas going back home for hols. Yup, I don’t go to lotsa places, and I don’t do a lot of things. I just stay up really late, wake up really late too, and just hang out or chill.

Ahhhh…. Absolutely my favourite waste of time, woohoo!

Although I do try new places to eat practically every trip, gotta say I do have my own fave places to go to, or at least there’re some places that I’d recommend friends go try. Since I always get chingus asking me where to eat in Seoul, I reckon I might as well just do up a blog post. The next time someone asks me again, I’ll just give them links!



Guess everyone who goes to Seoul oughta have at least one Korean BBQ meal, ya?

I recommend Saemaul Sikdang. ‘Sae’ means ‘new’, ‘maul’ means village, and Sikdang (食堂) is restaurant.

It’s a very local chain, and superb value for money. Lotsa locals go there, but increasingly, more and more overseas peeps are making their way there too. Not a bad thing, coz the staff would be more accustomed to serving foreigners and hence, it’ll be less intimidating for us. I believe they’ve English menu, so ask!

This is actually a 24-hour chain of BBQ restaurants! Very convenient huh? I usually go to the HONGDAE BRANCH, but you can also check out ITS OTHER OUTLETS. I read that there’re some 180 outlets in Korea! There’re outlets in Myeongdong, Sinchon, Sinsa, Hyehwa and Gangnam.

new maul 1

You see the lightbox next to the entrance? The guy in the photo is actually the chef-owner. He’s apparently really famous and owns a whole host of chains and restaurants in Korea and even overseas!

Anyway, food quality’s good for the prices it’s charging.

If you wanna know what to order, hehe, more like if you wanna know what I usually eat there, you can read MY MEATY POST. Hehe, I highly recommend eating the Yeoltan Bulgogi with the cold noodles, super shiok! And I love the kimchi pork rice thingy, the salted grilled pork, and also the pig skin!!

Here, a quick guide to what to order at Saemaul Sikdang!

bbq 15

Or, you can also check out what the Korean Tourism Organization recommends HERE. And oh, click HERE for some nice pictures of the place and the food.


One extra tip for you when looking for barbecued meat restaurants in Seoul… there’s a actually a BBQ restaurant alley in Mapo! Yea, the Koreans seem to have an alley for all the food they like, keke! So, check it out!

Or, you can also check out an old but still mighty relevant and useful link on SEOULISTIC.


Back to Saemul Sikdang, I think there’re two outlets in Gangnam; here are the addresses.


Hours: 24-hr
Tel: +82-2-558-8592
831-32 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam gu, Seoul
서울특별시 강남구 역삼동 831-32번지 동원빌딩 101호

Subway: Gangnam Station, Exit 2
Go towards Yangjae direction for 150m; straight alley right next to the National Bank.

Hours: 24-hr
Tel: +82-2-544-3284
164-12 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam gu, Seoul
서울특별시 강남구 논현동 164-12번지 1층

Subway: Nonhyeon Station, Exit 3
Go straight 400m towards Sinnonhyeon Station, make a left onto Gangnam-daero 112-gil Alley. Go 50m and you will see the restaurant on the left.

Hours: 24-hr
Tel: +82-2-2293-0123
367-6 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Subway: Hongik Uni (Hongdae), Exit 9
Walk into the crowded street on the left (you should see a street cart selling doggy clothes and also some street food), keep going until you come to a bigger road. You will see lots of eateries branching from left of road, and shopping on right of road. Turn left and keep walking until you come to Saemul Sikdang on your right. It’s about 3-5 minutes’ walk.

And yes, exit 9 is actually nearer, but most tourists are more familiar with Exit 9.



2. Running Man Haha’s 401 BBQ Restaurant, Hongdae

Any Running Man fans?

Me, me, me!

Some of you might have heard that Gary and Haha both own restaurants selling grilled intestines…. But, Haha has actually renovated his restaurant, changed the name and is now selling black pork BBQ!


The new restaurant is called 401 and yup, still in Hongdae. You can read more about it HERE.

There’s also a nice map that Twinrabbit has kindly provided.



Haha’s 401 BBQ Restaurant
Hours: 5:00pm to 5:00am
395-17 Seogyo-dong, Mapo gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 395-17

Subway: Hongdae Station, Exit 9 (or Hapjeong Station, Exit 3)
From Hongdae Exit 9, walk past the streets lined with roadside stalls and restaurants and go towards where the main shopping streets are (You will have to cross a busy road; just follow the crowds, hee!)

Past the shopping streets, turn left and walk towards Sang Sang Ma Dang (famous landmark), 401 is just opposite SSMD. It’s about a nice and lots-to-see 15 minutes’ walk.



seoga cook

Since we’re already in Hongdae, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Hehe, actually it ain’t that big a secret amongst Seoulites, but relatively few overseas travellers know about this place. So, if your companies (especially hubbies, boyfriends and even the little ones!) can’t really stomach eating Korean food everyday, Seoga & Cook is a fab place to go.

They actually have quite a few outlets, but I’ll just tell you where the Hongdae one is.

Seoga & Cook is essentially western food (more Italian actually) at very generous portions! Food quality’s not bad too!

seoga cook 4

A few things to note when dining at Seoga & Cook~

  • Portions are huge! And I mean really quite huge. Each dish is enough for 2-3 peeps, so be care not to over-order.
  • All mains are all priced at 19,800 KRW.

  • Specialty dishes here include the pork steak salad and pilaf. if you google abit, you will read lotsa ‘ooooohs and aaaaaaahs‘ about how nice and how fantastically-value-for-money this place is. The pork steak salad comes with three slabs of pork! feels more like we’d ordered pork steak with salad, than a salad dish #^.^#

  • The lemony beer is a grrrrrrreat item to order on a hot summer’s day or night for that matter!

You can click HERE, HERE and HERE to read what others have to say about Seoga and Cook.

seoga cook map


Seoga & Cook, Hongdae
Hours: 11:30 AM ~ 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM ~ 10:30 PM
395-17 Seogyo-dong, Mapo gu, Seoul
(It’s just a couple of shops away from Haha’s 401 restaurant!)
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 395-17

Subway: Hongdae Station, Exit 9 (or Hapjeong Station, Exit 3)
From Hongdae Exit 9, walk past the streets lined with roadside stalls and restaurants and go towards where the main shopping streets are (You will have to cross a busy road; just follow the crowds, hee!)

Past the shopping streets, turn left and walk towards Sang Sang Ma Dang (famous landmark), Seoga & Cook is just sorta of diagonally opposite SSMD. It’s about a nice and lots-to-see 15 minutes’ walk.



Still on Western food, there’s a very nice restaurant in Agpujeong, the swanky area.

zen 1

But it’s abit of a walk from the nearest subway station, maybe about 15 minutes. They also have outlets at Myeongdong and Hongdae, but the Agpujeong one is the loveliest. It’s a two-storey building with lotsa lush greens within the restaurant compounds. When you’re there, it feels like you’re whisked away to some mighty secluded and private space within the city.

Although prices ain’t exorbitant, they ain’t exactly very cheap. Go if you feel like going somewhere with ambience. Read more HERE.

zen 2


Zen Hideaway (Agpujeong)
Hours: Weekdays: 11:30am – 02:00am, Weekends: 11:30am – 00:00mn
Tel: +82-2-541-1461, 6261
24, Eonju-ro 168-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 강남구 언주로 168길 24 (신사동)

Subway: Apgujeong Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 2
Upon exiting the station, make a u-turn and turn right at the corner. Go straight for 500m and cross the street at the crosswalk near Woori Bank. Turn right and go continue straight for 200m. Turn left onto the alley next to the Luxe building. Zen Hideaway is 200m ahead on the right.


5. Tosokchon Samgyetang

One of the most famous Korean dishes has gotta be the samgyetang, or ginseng chicken. Strangely, the Koreans particularly like to eat samgyetang during the hot summer months, believing that it will help them with their stamina and strength when our bodies feel tired easily due to the hot weather.

I, on the other hand, kindda prefer to have steaming hot soupy stuff during winter, keke!

Anyway, if you’re looking for samgyetang, look no further than Tosokchon (土俗村人參雞湯). It’s one of the best in Seoul, and the location is really convenient. If you’re planning to go to the Gyeongbokgung (Palace), then you might wanna plan these two on the same day.


Tosokchon’s a really short walk away from the subway station. Housed in a hanok, traditional Korean house, you can also get to see what a hanok looks like if you go have a meal.

The late President Roh Moo Hyun was a big fan of the samgyetang here. In fact, he even tried to get them to pass the recipe to his chef so that he could have samgyetang at home!

Nope, Tosokchon has a strong belief that only they can create the dish the way they want to, that’s why they didn’t agree to pass on the recipe. And this is also why they have not opened a second outlet or started a franchise business despite being so popular. They want to ensure that quality’s maintained.

Other than samgyetang, many people also like the black chicken version. You may see some people order the roast chicken, but I really wouldn’t recommend. If you want roast or fried chicken, there are better places to have them. But oh, you can try their seafood pancake (haemul pajeon) though, not bad.

The queue can get pretty long during meal times, so you might wanna go slightly earlier before the usual meal times. But the place’s big and service’s fast, so don’t get deterred even if you see a queue.

And oh, it’s one of those places where you gotta remove your shoes and sit on the floor and eat. So… hehe, leave your holey socks at home!

The popular-in-this-region traveling couple blog Kampungboycitygal has also blogged about Tosokchon HERE, or you can also click HERE for more details about the samgeytang at Tosokchon.



Tosokchon Samgyetang
Hours: 10:00am to 22:00pm
Tel: +82-2-737-7444
5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5 (체부동)

Subway: Gyeongbokgung Station,Exit 2.
Go straight about 170m and turn left onto Jahamun-ro 5-gil Road. Tosokchon (토속촌) is located 10m ahead on the left.


6. Jin Ok Hwa Dakhanmari (陳玉華一只雞)

Next up is still…. chicken! Dak means chicken in korean and Dakhanmari translates literally into one (whole) chicken; how imaginative, keke!

This is the very first Dakhanmari restaurant and it opened its doors back in 1978. Thirty over years later, it continues to be a very much loved restaurant by the locals, and increasingly, by the foreigners too. It’s located at the Dongdaemun area, so yea, you can pack the shopping and this on the same day.


The restaurant uses only fresh young chickens which are about 35 days old. What people like about this dish is the minimal seasoning used. The whole idea is to let diners enjoy the tenderness of the meat and not be distracted by the seasoning. So it’s a case of you either love it A LOT, or you just find it bland. But hey, you can always add chilli (it’s a very nice and very special marinade sauce!)

I know of people who love it so much that they went back to eat this dish THREE(!) times in the 10-odd days they were in Seoul.

And personally, I do like how tender the chicken is, and I love love love the rice-cakes and the kalguksu noodles (刀削麵)!

Click HERE and HERE for more details of Dakhanmari. And if you’re not sure how to get there, click HERE.



Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (진옥화할매원조닭한마리)
Hours: 10:00am to 10:30pm
18, Jong-ro 40ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 종로40가길 18 (종로5가)

Subway: Dongdaemun Station, Exit 9.
Go straight 160m and turn left at the Industrial Bank of Korea (기업은행). Go straight 50m and turn onto the first side street to the right. Continue 100m straight until you see the restaurant.

Subway: Jongno 5-ga Station, Exit 6.
Turn left onto the first side street and walk 300m.


7. Yeolbong Andong Jjimdak

Yay!! Andong chicken is easily one of my fave dishes!

First things first, Yeolbong is the name of a particular chain of Andong Jjimdak restaurants in Korea; and it’s opened by a Kpop celeb, SE7EN. But don’t let that stop you… the food’s goooood despite being opened by a celeb, haha!


Andong is actually the name of a place, so this is aa special dish that originated from Andong. Jjim refers to the cooking method and we’ve already said ‘dak’ means chicken in Korean.

It’s a casserole dish of braised chicken with potatoes and also glass noodles. The sauce is sweet and spicy, ahhhhh…. a very magical mix.

Now I’m someone who can’t really take very spicy food, although I do love it. If you eat Andong Jjimdak at Yeolbong, you get to choose the spicy level. If you’re like me, please just go for the lowest level, k? The second and third levels of spiciness can be quite lethal.


Yeolbong has several outlets, including one at Hongdae and one at Sinsa, but I personally prefer the one at Gangnam. I really think the food’s the best at the Gangnam branch.

Click HERE to learn more about the dish. And you can also click HERE for detailed directions on how to get to the Yeolbong Gangnam branch.


Yeolbong Andong Jjimdak
Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Tel: +82-2-3445-1012
817-8 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu
강남구역삼동 817-

Subway: Gangnam Station , Exit 11.


8. Myeongdong Gyoja

This is yet another fave restaurant of mine. They’ve been around for a long time, and the two outlets are both in Myeongdong.

Myeongdong Gyoja’s also listed as one the top restaurants in Seoul. Usually quite busy, but coz place’s big and table turnaround is fast, so the wait is not too long.

I like to go there at 11ish for brunch, before the restaurant gets too crowded.

Menu is really simple (which I like!) with only three items, namely, the kalguksu (knife sliced noodles 刀削麵), the chilli cold noodles and the mandu (which is gyoja or what we call dumplings). Portion’s biggish, so three people can share two mains.

What’s nice? Everything’s nice, me thinks, hehe! And I really really really love the kimchi here!


Incidentally, THIS BLOGGGER seems to have very similar taste buds as me coz we seem to always end up liking the same food and restaurants. Hee, she likes the same GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWER AT EDAE! So spicy but so shiiiiiok!

She’s basically said everything I would have said about eating at Myeongdong Gyoja, so you can go read her blog post HERE. She also gave very clear directions on how to get there.


Myeongdong Gyoja
Hours: 10:30am to 9.30pm

Main store (Myeongdong)
25-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu
서울특별시 중구 명동2가 25-2 ‎

Myeongdong Branch
33-4, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu
서울특별시 중구 명동2가 33-4


9. BONJUK PORRIDGE, Myeongdong

You might be familiar with this porridge chain if you’re a K-drama fan and have watched Boys Over Flowers.

But more important than that, this Bonjuk (本粥) porridge concept is actually part of the whole SLOW FOOD philosophy… which I endorse! I think in this Internet age, too much of ‘ppali ppali‘ is not necessarily good for us! Sometimes we really need to slow down and take in the simple beauty of life.


Anyway, this porridge chain is quite big in Korea or at least I see quite alot of it in Seoul, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to chance upon it. But since most of you will definitely spend time in Myeongdong, I’ll just ‘show’ you where the Myeongdong branch is.


On a cold winter day or for days when you just don’t have appetite, Bonjuk is a great choice. Healthy and nutritious too! Many people recommend the pumpkin porridge, but I personally like the oyster and also the seafood. Then again, I love love love seafood, keke!

Portion’s quite big though, so you might wanna share. If there’re two of you, you can order one porridge, and of course, you can order two if there’re three of you. But hor, strangely, some outlets don’t let you order two if there’re four of you… Chey, then just sit separately lor!

Or…. just takeaway!



Bonjuk Porridge
Tel: +82-2-755-3562
65-2 Chungmuro2-ga, Jung-gu,Seoul,South Korea
서올시 중구 충무로2가 65-2번지 2충

Subway: Myeongdong Station, Exit 6
Come out from Exit 6, turn left and then turn right at the first turn. Bonjuk is on level 2, opposite Starbucks.



There’s actually a narrow alley in the midst of the Myeongdong shopping area where you can find some seafood restaurants. There’s one particular one that I’d eaten at a few times, and hehe, I didn’t know it’s famous!


Myeongdong Eomeonijip (translates into Mother’s House) is a haemultang (seafood stew) restaurant with 40 years’ history. If you like seafood stew, this is the place to check out! Not cheap though, can’t remember how much, but I think it’s about S$50 or so.

Let me say again that as much as I like spicy food, I can’t really take spicy food. How sad, right? Yea, I know!! But I still can’t resist wolfing down this!



Eomeonijip Seafood Stew
Tel: +82-2-776-3896
11-6, Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Seafood Soup Alley @ Myeongdong
Walk down the alley between Esquire Shoe Store and Spris from the main street, and you can see the seafood soup restaurants clustered in this narrow lane.


11. Two-Two Chicken, Myeongdong

Did you know that some Koreans like to three-stop dinner rounds? They will usually start at some BBQ restaurant, move on to either a KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) or MAKGEOLLI BAR, and then to karaoke, or maybe a POJANGMACHA.

So, checking out the Two-Two Chicken at Myeongdong after some very intense shopping would be fab! You can check out photos of this outlet HERE.

Truth be told, KFC has never meant the same to me ever since I was introduced to CHIMAEK!



And of course, the chimaek fever really hit the roof coz of the drama MY LOVE FROM THE STAR.

Coz my friends and I tend to stay at the Myeongdong area, we always pack chicken back to eat in our room and chat away the hours. Heart-to-heart talk amongst girls with chimaek is da bomb!!


Actually, I love KYOCHON KFC even more, but the Kyochon outlets don’t seem to pop up within my line of sight conveniently enough, so… Anyway, if you do come across a Kyochon, EAT!!


Two-Two KFC, Myeongdong
Tel: +82-2-2275-2297
Hours: 12:00pm to 02:00am
6-4 Namsandong 2(i)-Ga, Jung-gu

Subway: Myeongdong Station, Exit 3 (or just go up the escalator), then walk into the street at the left of Pacific Hotel. Follow the smell, haha!


12. Soy Crab (Ganjang Gejang Alley), Sinsa

Yay!! Finally it’s time to talk about one of my fave-fave food in Korea, the soy crab!! Ganjang Gejang is actually marinated raw crabs with lotsa lotsa lotsa roe!


My Korean friend told me there’re some Koreans who can’t take soy crab coz it’s too raw for them, but those who love them really really love them.

Hehe, for me, it was love at first bite! I don’t actually remember it, but Emz told me the first words to come out of my mouth after sinking my teeth into the crab for the first time were, OH MY EFFING GOD! Fwahwahwah!

You can read more about what soy crab is all about and how to eat it HERE.

I’ve heard and read that Pro Soy Crab is supposedly the best, or at least amongst the best. Check out the history HERE, and click HERE for address and directions. I understand that Pro Soy Crab is open 24/7.

There’s actually a Ganjang Gejang alley in Sinsa-dong! Hehe, so unthinkable that a place so chic and all has an alley selling this very local and strong-flavoured dish! But I guess that’s the beauty of Seoul.

This was the one I’d gone to, it’s called Masan and it’s also a 24-hour outfit. Masan also has a long history. It’s pretty much the first soy crab restaurant at the beginning of the alley. It’s amongst one of the biggest there, and also one of the most patronized.

They’ve Mandarin speaking staff in case you need help with the ordering.



Directions: Take subway line 3 to Sinsa Station and go out exit 4. Walk straight for about 20 meters and take a right. Walk for about 80 meters and you should see the beginning of Ganjang Gejang Alley.


13. Kimbap Cheonguk

Some of you might thank me for this! Kimbap Cheonguk is a chain of very local 24-hour eateries that you can find at practically every suburb in Seoul. Yup, I’d blogged about it very briefly HERE.


Do yourself a favour and try and remember how the logo looks like. There’s one in Myeongdong, one in Anguk, one in Hyehwa… etc etc etc.

For days when you don’t know what to eat, for days when your group of travel companions can’t agree on where to eat, for days when you just feel like some hearty Korean food, Kimbap Cheonguk is the answer. Their menu’s so extensive and prices quite reasonable since each main is below S$10.

Or even for days when you’re broke, just head up to Kimbap Cheonguk and grab some kimbap.

What is kimbap?

Aigoo, if you’re asking this, you really don’t know much about Korean food hor? This is like super elementary lor! Kimbap refers to those seaweed rice rolls (or what some people call Korean sushi).

Kimbap Cheonguk actually means seaweed rice(roll) heaven. Kim is seaweed and bap is rice. Cheon is sky, and guk is country or nation, so cheonguk is actually 天國 in Chinese.

I like the tuna kimbap (cham-chi kim-bap) here, and I also like a whole host of other dishes here too! Like the spicy beancurd stew (soondubu chigae), the cheese ramyeon, the spicy beef soup (yukgaejang), the omelette rice, etc etc etc!


What?? You mean you have never tried cheese ramyeon? Hehe, it’s not as weird as it sounds, k? It actually tastes nice! On a cool or even cold day, the piping hot cheese ramyeon is a great choice!

They have English menu, so don’t worry about worrying. And oh, the water and banchan (side dishes) are on self-service mode here.

I’ll just tell you how to get to the Myeongdong outlet since it’s quite easy to get to.


Subway: Myeongdong Station, Exit 2 or 3 (or just go up the escalator), then walk into the street at the right of Pacific Hotel. Kimbap Cheonguk is very near Macdonalds.


Wah, this post is already so looooooong and I’m still not done yet! Better split this into two parts coz it’s getting too laggy for me to continue blogging. Check back soon, you hear?

Meanwhile, you can check out THIS AWESOME LINK ON THE FOOD ALLEYS OF SEOUL as you wait for my next post.


2014.11.25 Click HERE for Part 2.

2015.01.19 Click HERE for a more detailed blog post on Ganjang Gejang.

Woohoo! Online travel magazine Tripzilla contacted me about publishing this piece on their site! I said ‘yes’ and HERE it is!

16 comments Add yours
  1. the soy crab looooooooooooooooooks amazing!!! salivating. by the way, risking of sounding foolish, i still need to ask… the one chicken soup… is the head still intact? ;p

  2. Wow!! I am a foodie and someday I would love to be able to visit Seoul and go to each and every place you’ve recommended here. What a massive list of delectably looking food.

    I do have one request though for a future article. I hope you can feature the food places in the Korean drama, “Let’s Eat” which aired in tvN. That series had me salivating at wee hours of the morning during its run.

    All the best!

    1. yo, thanks for popping by and also for leaving me a comment. i intend to blog 1-2 more pieces on where to eat in seoul, and perhaps move on to what else i’d recommend to do or buy when in seoul too.

      hehe, as for your special request for the food places in ‘Let’s Eat’…. am sure there’re blog posts and articles on those already? sorry, i don’t watch alot of k-dramas (am more of a korean variety show fan), so i didn’t watch Let’s Eat. is that the one that beast’s leader doojun starred in?

  3. Oh my!! They all look super yummy! I plan to visit Korea next year. I’m taking very detail notes from your post, Bb. Thanks a lot for the info. :-)

    1. wah….! latigre! a name from soooooo loooooong ago! you ‘found’ me? haha, i no longer blog from that old blogspot blog (in fact, i’ve deleted that blog ^.^;) so surprised to see your name pop up! would the trip next year be your first? if so, then check back occasionally, i intend to share a bit more from my own trips. don’t hold your breath though coz it won’t be too soon ^^

  4. Hi there!! thanks for this awesome post on seoul foods! Can i just check with you, for the Kimbap Cheonguk, you’d mentioned there’s one outlet in Hyehwa. Do you know the directions? I am staying there for my next trip, so I thought I would just wanna head up there, for days when i need a good kimbap! Thanks in adv! =D

    1. hey there! they sell more than just kimbap, do check out their other dishes ^^

      the hyehwa one should be quite easy to find. if you take the hyehwa line (blue color), it’s not far from exit 4 (from memory). actually there’re many, many kimbap cheonguk outlets all over, so shouldn’t be hard to find one.

      have fun!

Leave a Reply