(Click images for sources)
Seoul is home to a number of food towns and streets, clusters of specific types of Korean foods all found in one specific place. If you’re a fan of Korean foods, be sure to check out these awesome food towns in Seoul!
Note: Most of these dishes (besides galbi) will cost approximately less than 10,000 won a person (that is if you take it easy on the alcohol! ;)).
Tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) is Korea’s representative street food. And although Korean street food is quite popular with tourists, it’s also a local favorite for Koreans. And that’s why there’s a tteokbokki town in Sindang-dong. Sindang’s Tteokbokki Town has represented street food in Korea since the 90’s. The tteokbokki restaurants here are famous for a so-called “secret recipe.” But even if it is just a marketing ploy, at the least you can get tteokbokki made fresh with each order right at your table instead of just getting a scoop of premade tteokbokki from a food truck in Seoul. Also, there are uber delicious extras you can add to your order of tteokbokki (i.e. eggs, ramyeon noodles, dumplings, etc.). And with over 15 tteokbokki restaurants to choose from, this is the place to go if you’re wondering where to eat tteokbokki in Seoul!
See reviews here: yeinjee.com, Korea Tourism Organization, rlarud001 (video)
How to get here by Subway: Get out of exit 8 of Sindang Station (신당역), line 2, line 6, and immediately turn left. Go straight approximately 5 minutes.
If you’re looking for famous naengmyun restaurants in Seoul, head over to Ojang-dong. Naengmyun is a North Korean dish that originated in North Korea, and when the Korean War ended, a few smart North Koreans were able to sneak in their North Korean naengmyun recipes to Seoul, and for whatever reason, a number of them gathered at Ojang-dong, Seoul. This naengmyun street has both varieties of delicious Korean cold noodles: the cold broth variety, mul naengmyun (물냉면) and the spicy, broth-less variety, bibim naengmyun (비빔냉면). The restaurants here can get pretty crowded (especially during summer months), so plan on waiting on line and also getting up right after your meal.
See reviews here: seouleats, discoveringkorea (video), 10mag (see #10 & #5), eekim.com,
How to get here by Subway: Leave exit 8 of Euljiro 4-ga Station (을지로 4-가역), line 2, line 5, and go straight till the next light. Make left at the light and go straight for naengmyeon street.
This might be the number 1 place to go if you’re wondering where to eat galbi or samgyupsal in Seoul. Majang Meat Market has tons of butcher shops selling the freshest meat in Seoul. These butcher shops supply many of the galbi restaurants in Seoul. But right next to the butcher shops, you can head over a little bit away to find a Seoul mecca for Korean galbi restaurants. When you head over there, be prepared to deal with pushy ajummas and ajeoshis that will be vying for your business. But that may not even be a bad thing; some will offer free drinks or food as “service” for your business. Some places will even let you bring meat you buy at the butcher shops and eat it at their restaurant (with a service fee, of course). Why go to any other galbi restaurant in Seoul when the meat comes straight from here anyway? It’s cheaper and fresher. Double whammy!
See reviews here: 10mag, visitseoul.net
How to get here by Subway: [Warning, approximately 15 minute walk - taxi may be appropriate for some] Exit 2 of Majang Station. Walk straight (past the gas station) until you see an overpass (do not go under the overpass). Make a left before the overpass and walk past the school and all the apartment buildings. Food street will show after the apartment complex.
Another Korean street food favorite for foreigners and Koreans alike is sundae (blood sausage). On any given night you can see hordes of people eating sundae at truck stands across Korea. But don’t waste your energy looking for the best sundae in Seoul, just make your way over to Sillim-dong’s Sundae Town. This sundae town is actually located in buildings filled to the brim with sundae restaurants. Here you can get the standard sundae, or you can also get sundae varieties such as sundae soup (순대국/sundaeguk) or Sundae Town’s specialty, white sundae (백순대/baeksundae), which is sundae stir fried with noodles, vegetables, and other ingredients. Don’t forget to kick back a few shots of soju along with your sundae to eat like an ajoeshi!
See reviews here: 10mag, visitseoul.net, ROK On (video)
How to get here by Subway: Leave exit 3 of Sillim Station (신림역), line 2, and make the 2nd right (small alleyway). Go straight and Sundae Town is on your right.
Jokbal (pigs feet) is wildly popular in Korea. And if you want to eat jokbal like a local Korean, head over to jokbal street in Gongdeok. Practically unheard of by foreigners, go to this place if you want an ultra local Korean feel. Although there are only a few restaurants to choose from, these are some of the most famous jokbal restaurants in Seoul. They’ve been around for decades, and that equates to getting served by a few rough-around-the-edges ajummas that serve some awesome jokbal. But more than going for the local feel or the ajummas with character, one of the main attractions of this popular jokbal street is the awesome serving portions of… all you can eat! Although not all of these jokbal restaurants will offer this, there are a number of restaurants that do. Sweet! Now you can eat pig feet like… a pig! :X
Think pigs feet is gross? Read Seoulistic.com’s list of 5 Crazy, Weird, Bizzare Korean Foods for the Brave!
Tip: Many of these restaurants will offer a free serving of sundae soup (순대국/sundaeguk) with any order of jokbal.
If you’re looking for places to eat jeon in Seoul, head a few stores down from the jokbal (pigs feet) restaurants. There you’ll find a number of famous restaurants that serve jeon (Korean pancake) and twigim (fried snacks). On a busy night, you’ll most definitely have to wait in line to get some of their delicious jeon and twigim. But that might be because these foods are perfect to pick at while kicking back a few drinks and talking smack about the ex. But before you pick at your food, you also get to pick out your own food as well. When it’s your turn to be seated, grab a basket and start picking all the jeon and twigim you want. Hand the basket to the ajumma and receive your fried goods minutes later!
See reviews here: gogimandu.com, seoulselection
How to get here by Subway: Leave exit 5 of Gongdeok Station (공덕역), line 5, line 6, AREX and go straight. Jokbal restaurants will appear first, and the jeon restaurants a few meters down.
Jjukkumi is a Korean food that is unfamiliar to many non-Koreans who have never been t0 Korea. But be careful. Have jjukkumi once, and it can quickly turn into one of your favorite Korean dishes. That is… if you like spicy Korean food! Jjukkumi is baby octopus (actually a small species of octopus) stir-fried in a spicy Korean gochuhang (red pepper paste) sauce. The ultra red color of this dish should be warning enough of how spicy this food can be. But many Korean ajoeshis like to wash the spice with a shot of soju. And there’s no place better to get red faced from alcohol and spicy Korean food than Cheonho-dong. If you do end up going here, don’t forget to eat jjukkumi like a Cheongo-dong local, by getting fried rice in your left over jjukkumi. Also, this is spicy for local Koreans as well, so do as they do and cool down your mouth with gyeranjjim (계란찜/steamed eggs) or kulpis (쿨피스), a fruit drink. Oh yea, and feel lucky… you just read this entire post and became an insider Seoulite!
See reviews/food porn here (only Korean available): Korean Blogger 1, Korean Blogger 2
How to get here by Subway: Leave exit 6 of Cheonho Station (천호역), line 5, line 8, and go straight approximately 5 minutes and make the first right (don’t veer after getting out of the station). After making the right, take the fork to the left.
Which food town/street are you going to?
Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com