10 of¬†My Favorite¬†Korean¬†Foods
I‚Äôm a huge fan of Korean food and especially the Korean feasts where a mind-blowing array of main and side dishes are¬†placed on the table before you.
I‚Äôve listed a few of my absolute favorite Korean foods I‚Äôve tried so far, and dishes that you can find across Seoul and South Korea. This is not an extensive list, just a samplers platter of a few of my personal favorites.
- Banchan¬†(side dishes) ‚Äì Let‚Äôs begin with banchan, which is the name used to describe the multitude of Korean side dishes that can include all sorts of mini plates¬†of pickles, chili marinated bits, fritters, and even sometimes little bites of leftovers. While a main dish might be the heart of Korean food, the banchan side dishes are the body, they make a meal function and make a meal complete. Kimchi is one of the most common banchan.
- Gamjatang¬†(pork bone potato stew) ‚Äì¬†This soup is made with pork spine bones and potatoes which are boiled until the meat left is fall apart tender. You can usually order the kimchi version, which is absolutely sensational. Of all the food mentioned in this Seoul travel guide blog, this is one of my absolute favorite dishes.
- Gogigui (all things grilled meat) ‚Äì One of the ultimate Korean meals are pieces of meat, grilled on your table before you with all the side dishes and dipping sauces. Korean barbecue is incredibly delicious.
- Sundubu Jjigae¬†(kimchi stew) ‚Äì Mainly made with un-curdled tofu and lots of red chili flakes, sundubu jjiggae is both spicy and richly flavorful. The tofu is so good it almost tastes likes scrambled eggs.
- Naengmyeon¬†(type of noodles) ‚Äì Of all the Korean noodle dishes, naengmyeon which is a type of buckwheat noodle with some other starches mixed in and served icy cold, is one of my personal favorites. The chewy texture and surprising icy-ness¬†makes this dish fantastic.
- Samgyetang¬†(ginseng chicken soup) ‚Äì Known to be a health dish, but also really¬†delicious, samgyetang is a Korean spring chicken ginseng soup. A whole young chicken is typically stuffed with rice and garlic, and boiled with ginseng and jujube.
- Godeungeo-gui¬†(grilled fish) ‚Äì Any chance that I can get to eat fish, I take it, as fish is one of my personal favorite things to eat. In Seoul you‚Äôll find a dish called godeungeo-gui, which is grilled salted¬†mackerel. The fish is usually nice and oily (full of delicious oils), and goes great with rice and kimchi.
- Mandu¬†(dumplings) ‚Äì Many cultures around the world have some kind of dumpling, and in Korea, mandu are meat and vegetable filled dumpling pockets. They can either be steamed or deep fried,¬†and they are delicious¬†either way.
- Hanjeongsik (full set meal)¬†‚Äì Hanjeongsik, a Korean full set meal, is one of the ultimate Korean meal experiences. An array of food that will literally cover every square centimeter of your table is placed before you, including a mix of main and side dishes. It‚Äôs¬†a dream come true for food lovers.
- Patbingsu¬†(shaved ice dessert) ‚Äì This last Korean food on the list is a dessert that is not my personal favorite, but it‚Äôs one of my wife‚Äôs favorites. The literal translation is¬†red beans and ice, but they have become somewhat of a national and international Korean shaved ice phenomena full of bright and colorful toppings. Here are some of the famous places to eat patbingsu in Seoul.
There are not only thousands of restaurants in Seoul, but there are literally thousands of really good restaurants in Seoul.¬†So in this Seoul travel guide, I‚Äôm writing from my personal experience about restaurants and dishes that I enjoyed. However, I haven‚Äôt even come close to eating at a measurable percentage of all the restaurants in Seoul.
The point I want to make is: Don‚Äôt limit yourself to just the¬†restaurants I‚Äôve mentioned below, but do some research in the area you‚Äôre staying in and you‚Äôll likely find similar restaurants.
If you see a good looking restaurant, check it out. It probably will be really good. Ok, now that I‚Äôve said that, here are a few of the restaurants I ate at:
- Jaedong Sundubu¬†‚Äì This place serves a seriously amazing bowl of sundubu jjiggae (soft tofu stew). Address:¬†Bukchon-ro 2-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea; How to get there: Take the subway to¬†Anguk station and Exit #2.
- Bukchon Son Mandu ‚Äì This famous restaurant in Seoul serves mandu dumplings, both steamed and fried, and an awesome bowl of naengmyeon, cold buckwheat noodles. Address: Branches in Insadong and within the Bukchon Hanok Village (original branch); Open hours:¬†11 am ‚Äì 10 pm daily; Prices: About 5,000 ‚Äì 10,000 Won ($4.27 ‚Äì $8.53) per person.
- ÏòàÏÜ°ÏàØÎ∂àÍ∞àÎπÑ (for grilled meat, sorry not sure of the English name) ‚Äì This is just a local typical neighborhood grilled meat restaurant near Seoul Station that serves¬†both pork and beef. I liked it because it was friendly and no-frills, just good food and a nice atmosphere. Address: ; Open hours: 10:30 am ‚Äì 11:30 pm daily; Another good option for grilled meat in Seoul is New Village¬†Restaurant.
- Hanchu (ÌïúÏ∂î fried chicken and beer) ‚Äì I got this restaurant recommendation from my friends Dan and Jeffrey of¬†Foodiehub. Hanchu does crazy good fried chicken, and their trick is they add some pounded fresh¬†chili to the batter. Address:¬†549-9 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul; Open hours: 5 pm ‚Äì 3 am daily; Prices: One whole fried chicken is 17,000 Won ($14.50).
- Jinjujip (ÏßÑÏ£ºÏßë)¬†‚Äì Oxtail soup (kkori gomtang) is a dish that Koreans do very well, and while I enjoyed, it seemed to be overpriced. But never the less, it was pretty good. This place is located within the back alley of Namdaemun Market. Open hours: I‚Äôm not fully sure, but I think it‚Äôs mainly a lunch restaurant; How to get there: Namdaemun Market, take the metro to¬†Hoehyeon Station, Exit 5; Price ‚Äì 21,000 Won ($17.62) for the oxtail soup, which was very pricey.
- Gogung (Í≥†Í∂Å ‚Äì Ïù∏ÏÇ¨ÎèôÏ†ê) Bibimbap ‚Äì Bibimbap is a famous Korean dish of rice and toppings all mixed together. When you‚Äôre in Insadong (there‚Äôs also a branch in Myeong-dong), this is a great place to try bibimbap. Address:¬†38 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-300, South Korea; Open hours:¬†11 am ‚Äì 9:30 pm daily; How to get there: Take the metro to¬†Anguk Station, Exit 6.
- Dongdaemun¬†Grilled Fish Street ‚Äì Located near the Dongdaemun Market, there‚Äôs a street, more like a walking alley, that‚Äôs filled with grilled fish restaurants. They all looked pretty similar, and they all remain quite local. The fish was salty and grilled to perfection. How to get there: Take the metro to¬†Dongdaemun Station, Exit 9, walk up the street to the market, and then cut into the alley.
- Namdaemun Hairtail Alley ‚Äì Similar to the grilled fish alley, but this time within Namdaemun Market, there‚Äôs a hairtail fish alley where you‚Äôll find a number of restaurants serving a spicy hairtail¬†(cutlassfish) chili stew. I had it for the first time on this trip to Seoul, and it‚Äôs now one of my favorite Korean dishes. Open hours: throughout lunch and early evening, probably best to go at lunch, and some restaurants are closed on Sunday; How to get there: To get to Namdaemun market, take the metro to¬†Hoehyeon Station, Exit 5.
- Gamjatang near Seoul Station ‚Äì On this trip to Seoul, this was my first meal, as soon as my wife and I got to Seoul Station we were hungry. Just outside the station, across the street from Exit 15 is a nice neighborhood restaurant¬†to eat gamjatang. How to get there: Seoul Station to Exit 15, cross the street and walk to your right hand side.