1. Kong Bul at Hongdae (콩불 홍대점)
345-2 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울시 마포구 서교동 345-2 1층
Nearest Subway: Hongik University, Line 2, Exit 9
Stumbled upon this hidden gem of a place located at Hongdae on a snowy day while we were on the way to the subway station. The weather left us hungry and cold, the menu looked delish from the outside, and the people looked warm enough and full on the inside. True enough, served with such generous portions of meat, beansprouts, udon, cheese and fried rice for later (rice and seaweed), we were snuggly and full, and not being able to differentiate from being too full or just tired. The dish was a little spicy, and I cannot possibly remember which set we ordered. But the coolpis drink that comes in the set saved the burning tongues on fire.
The set price is listed as 18,000 won for 2 pax, and additional pax would be an extra of 6,000 won per pax, which they will show you an extra serving of meat and rice. The drink and the rest of the ingredients stays the same. You could even do add-ons if you’d like! I kept bugging ju and my sis to head back there to eat again before we leave, and so we did, ordering another soy set which was non-spicy this time. But we all preferred the first set (spicy) better!
2. Sulbing (설빙), Korean Dessert Cafe
Check out polkadotyyann experience with Patbingsu here!
We had to check this dessert place out, since it was a recommendation from Rch, a friend who frequents and love Korea (even more than I do!) We ordered one of the most popular dishes - Injulmi Sulbing and the Ricecake Toast with a cup of Americano. I am generally a-okay with this dish, which has a powdery chewy texture when eaten together with the rice cake, although I wished we went back again to try the Mango or Strawberry Sulbing version instead.
The rice cake toast was a mixture of soft yet crunchy and you generally cannot go wrong with it. It feels like a soft french toast with a crunch on the outside :) We actually tried similar versions of Sulbing at other dessert cafes in Hongdae (Mango FTW!). Om nom nom :)
It definitely wasn’t the best bimbimbap that I’ve tried, but along the streets of Hongdae are plenty of restaurants and small eateries. When I say plenty, I mean - you’ll be spoilt for choice. My suggestion: Work out a budget for each meal that you’ll have, you’ll probably be able to settle for food within your budget, unless your taste buds takes control.
However, Hongdae may not hone all the best food of Seoul. Here I’ve shared another site of Mark, For the love of bibimbap :) You wouldn’t go wrong with kimchi, and you definitely wouldn’t go wrong with recommendations from CNN. I haven’t exactly tasted an awesome bibimbap before, so it’s pretty hard to make comparisons among other things, and the one that I’ve tried didn’t exactly give me the wow factor either.
So no address for you :P
For the love of my life, this Korean version of Ginseng Chicken Soup with Rice is to die for, especially in Winter. To be out in the cold (-8 deg) and then indulge in a hot bowl of soup steaming your face with the aroma of slight ginseng - mmhm… The korean Samgyetang is a bone-in chicken with sticky rice, ginseng and garlic (I think).
I read on KBCG (Kampung Boy City Gal) blog before heading to Seoul that they have one of the nation’s/ city best Samgyetang just a stone throw away from the Gyeong Bok Gung Palace (which we visited) but did not queue for it, sadly. Right now, in the cooler temperatures of Singapore, especially in the night, I wished I had it as a source of comfort food.
To find out where it is, hop over to their site on Tosokchon here.
If you haven’t already seen it, here:
(These 2 pictures below are retrieved from KBCG’s blog)
5. Papavalley Pizza
Located right beside another awesome shopping destination (with superrr good bargains and buys) - The Gangnam Underground Shopping Arcade, is the Gangnam Shinsegae Mall, Korea’s first ever Departmental Store. But shopping is not the point here, another post maybe?
The point is, there is a delicious hidden Papavalley Pizza Branch located inside the Gangnam Shinsegae Mall, Basement 1 where all the fresh food market and food hall is. We couldn’t make out why were there such a long line for its pizza, but like other Singaporeans, joining in a long line could mean that you’ll be close to tasting something either super delicious or something that’s probably overrated. But for Koreans to line up appx 10-15 minutes for it, it’s pretty much a deal.
An open concept kitchen, you get to watch the employees and the pizzas in action - How they get from the making stage to the final stage - All super fast. I call it, perfect muscle memory :) We were even hungry while in the line *Hurry upppp* and bought 2 boxes in the end. Oh my, it tastes awesome while it’s hot. The cheese was satisfying, the heat and the thin crust melted in your mouth and all the other ingredients were bursting with flavors. I mean, that’s how normal pizzas should taste.
But our fingers kept pinching for more. Well, if there are any other outlets, I’d definitely give it a go. But this was super random, a chance-upon after we were done with shopping and feeling super hungry and grouchy. Papavalley saved the day :)
Express Bus Terminal (Subway Line 3 and 7)
6. Korean Fried Chicken and Beer
Korean Fried Chicken had been the hype of food to eat in Korea, and maybe even in Singapore. Locals love it when they have their fried chicken paired with beer, and they love it even if you’re just going to have chicken and beer for the meal itself. So… Their portions are usually huge - to share, and they tend to have other flavors for you to pick in the menu, though the best and popular ones would just be Fried and Fried Chicken alone.
Everywhere has it’s own version of “Korea’s/ Seoul’s Best Fried Chicken”, and like a lot of other food, is subjected to personal preference and taste. We chanced upon this particular BBQ food chain (BBQ Chicken), located near Hapjeong Station. After visiting Bau House (located at Hapjeong), we walked out and took a right turn, caught in the cold not knowing where shall we dine, the smell of BBQ chicken led us into this store.
People-packed and friendly service, we looked around and saw people ordering Fried Chicken to share. And so we did the same. The salad is complementary, and I think you do get fruits after too. They do 4,500 won take-outs as well, which another day we ordered back to our apartment in Hongdae, just a 5 minute walk away which I talked about in my previous post on Seoul Airbnb here.
We also tried another Chicken & Beer restaurant somewhere in Hongdae, and they both have very different types of Fried Chicken - The ones we had in Hongdae were “skinnier”, while the ones we had at this particular chain was fatter and juicier. You take your pick :)
BBQ Chicken Hapjeong Seutajeom
Hapjeong Station Line 2 Exit 2
7. Korean Steamboat
Lastly, with all the Korean BBQ (KBBQ) spotted at almost every corner of Seoul, another to-eat during winter is Korean’s version of steamboat - Where they have vegetables, 떡볶이 (Ddeokbokki/Tteokbokki/Topokki) - Korean Spicy Rice Cakes, ramen, kimchi and your choice of meat in the pot is set to boil with their own special sauces.
We had korean steamboat for almost 3 times throughout the entire 15 days trip, all in different versions. The above we had it in Busan, at one of their Busan Market, which was pretty cheap (15,000 for 3pax) and tasted incredible. It wasn’t exactly too spicy. Other days, we dined at Crazy Dduk, with many variations of the traditional Ddeokbokki, with crazy level amount of spice (which we chosed) and some soy sauce version. Yes call us crazy but it was too spicy that we couldn’t go on!
I’d definitely like to recommend that to you to just give it a try:
Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 345-14호 2층
Tel No: 02-337-2919
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm
It ranges from 12,000 - 20,000 won for each set of Dduk, depending on the number of add-ons you have, but it’s a sharing pot, so per pax it’s pretty reasonable! More pictures in the coming posts :)
With that, here are my Top 7 Favorites to Eat in Seoul, Korea - while I’m going to special mention a Korean BBQ restaurant that we’ve patronized twice in 2 days located at Dongdaemun in another post.
Ta! Have a good trip and the Seoul Adventure awaits!
Feel free to email me at jolene @ newindecember.com if you have questions! I'll be more than glad to help you :)