Whenever we go abroad, my family and I would just “go with the flow” and eat in restaurants where it is convenient for us.
So, here is where the tide took us. Unfortunately, I cannot remember all Korean restaurants we visited but, here are some that might kick start your food trip when you visit Korea.
- Kimbap Chingu, Myeong-dong.
If you want to eat light or simply craving for kimbap, “Kimbap Chingu” is the place to be. They have a variety of kimbap flavors including bulgogi, shrimp and kimchi. Unfortunately, the weather was bad and it was raining hard during the time we ate there so we ended up ordering spicy tofu stew and dumplings instead!
The menu is in Korean and i-mo will give you a “check-list” to put in your order. After eating, you go to the cashier to pay.
*In Korean restaurants, you don’t say “ajuhmma” to the female servers, rather you call them “i-mo” for respect.
- Food Cafe, Dongdaemun
Near the vicinity of Doota Duty Free, “Food Cafe” is a great place to satisfy your katsu cravings! Side dishes are “self-service” so, if you ran out of kimchi and pickled radish, shouting “i-mo” would be a no-no. We ordered omurice, which was delicious; curry katsu, perfectly fried and of course spicy tofu stew. I love the spicy tofu stew (chige) so much I had to eat it in almost every meal!
Don’t worry, the menu has “subtitles.”
*Fun fact, for some reason, waiters of this particular branch were very good at Mandarin.
- Han Il Jang, Jeongro 3-ga
My mom’s definition of Korean food is “gogi“(meat)- period. I think it was only on our third day in Korea where we found out about this gogi restaurant near our hotel! What’s unique about this particular restaurant is how they grill the meat — slightly tilting one side of their skillet downward, allowing the oil to drop on a saucer while cooking the meat. Pretty smart, right?
About ten side dishes were served and you also have to go to the cashier to pay for the bill.
- Song Ok, Gangnam-gu
Because we were so tired in finding a particular store in Gangnam-gu, we accidentally stopped by this place! They offered bibimbap which was delicious and the fun part was how i-mo was waiting for me to say “chal meokkaseumnida”.
- Food Capital, Lotte World
Of all the restaurants we tried, “Food Capital” is definitely one of the best. Over 30+ food varieties from about 10+ different stalls (brands), they offered jajangmyeon, jjamppong, sweet and sour pork, katsu, and anything you can imagine! Of course, in a Korean setting!
Upon choosing from what I call the “glass-menu,” you have to pay at the cashier.
The lady would give you a buzzer for each meal you ordered. Take note, you don’t get your food from the same stall- it depends on which restaurant you ordered your food! The “glass-menu” tells you that so, better read it well! We didn’t know about this so we had to guess from the 10+ stalls!
- COEX Mall Lower Ground, Samseong-dong
The hidden gem of COEX Mall- the food court! It’s not your average food court, it’s a food heaven! From hundreds of varieties, we ended up getting from “Kushideli”: fried calamari and tempura; “Genzi-Ya”: maki haven and from “Carpaccio”: sushi and more sushi! The perfect example of “pigging-out”.
You definitely have to visit these restaurants when you come to Korea! I know there are more gogi places, jjamppong restaurants and the like but, I hope this can help you know where to start.
Enjoy food trippin’ in Korea!
Written by Krew Member Max Chua