What I ate in Seoul – May 2019

Similar to my previous 2 trips to Korea back in 2017 and 2018, I have attempted to not repeat the food I ate in Korea after someone told me that Korean food all kind of tasted the same.

I always attempt to do that self-declared challenge in my every trip as I wanted to show that there’s a lot of different types of food in Korea and for my solo trip, I actually ended up eating a lot of non-Korean food as Korean food usually requires sharing.

Anyway, I would like to start off my post by writing about the food in the area I stayed at which was near:

  • Ikseon-dong
  • Insa-dong
  • Samcheong-dong/Anguk
  • Gyeongbuk-goong (The Palace)
  • Gwangjang Market

Here’s a simple map I prepared so that you can kind of get a rough gauge of the places.

As mentioned in my previous post, I stayed at

#1. [The AN Hostel] @ $175 for 4 nights (After ShopBack’s cashback)

Check Pricing

I really enjoyed the location of this hostel. Perhaps it was the decent weather, I was able to save money on transport by walking everywhere.

There was one night I walked 20-30 mins home from Myeongdong and I could walk to Gwangjang Market and then Dongdaemun as well.

I had breakfast at the numerous cafes around the area and the best part is you get to be the first in line when the cafe opens. Haha, that’s what I did for long queue Dongbaek Bakery Souffle Pancakes!

#2 Dongbaek Bakery Souffle Pancakes

Korean Name: 동백양과점 DongBaek Bakery soufflé pancakes

Address: 166-73 Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 종로구 익선동 166-73

Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm; daily

This is a really small shop. I think it can only sit 20-25 people at any one time? At the same time, their pancakes are made from scratch so it takes about 20 minutes per order (or that’s what they told me). From my friends experiences, they had to queue more than 30 mins to enter on a weekday afternoon but thankfully, I did not had to queue at all. In fact, I was hovering at the area from 9am, on the first day in Korea as I couldn’t check-in to my accommodation when I arrived). Then again, I did not have to queue but.. I waited a long time for them to open. Haha.

Gosh, the pancakes were crazily expensive. Strawberry pancakes are their signature and you could choose between the normal strawberry and they had this more expensive seasonal strawberry option which was 30,000W! As it was spring, they also had a seasonal ‘Cherry Blossom Souffle’ which was 30,000W as well.

Well, since I was alone and I had to be on a budget or perhaps more cost-conscious, I opted for the original strawberry pancake which was 23,000W ($26). How could I go by without coffeee? Their drip latte (which was not bad) set me back at another 8,500W.

There you go – my breakfast that morning cost me 31,500W ($37). cost-conscious. yea right.

Verdict: IT IS NICE BUT.. definitely not worth the price. Then again, I tried to think back on all the pancakes that I’ve eaten to date, I don’t think anything can be compared to this. The softness of the batter and the lightness of the cream is damn amazing. To be fair, I have not tried Japan’s grams yet so I’m not sure if there’s any that can be compared. I guess, once is enough, or perhaps when I feel rich in future, I’ll eat it again =p

#3 Gaesung Mando – Goong

Korean Name: 개성만두 궁

Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gwanhun-dong, 30-11서울특별시 종로구 관훈동 30-11

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm

Verdict: I visited this place cause it was kind of like featured on a michelin restaurant but for whatever reasons, I’m reminded of another similar type of food called Myeongdong Kyoja which was noodles and dumpling restaurant. I think it is fine but I wouldn’t like need to eat this again. The mandus (dumplings) were huge and tastiness was average but I like the rice cakes in the soup!

So basically if you only have one chance for mandus, please eat Myeongdong Kyoja instead. Their kimchi is the best thing ever.

#4 Wood & Brick

Korean Name:

Address: 5-2 Jae-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 종로구 재동 5-2

Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm

I ended up at this cafe as.. there weren’t much options available before 10am; apart from the chain-shops which I wanted to avoid. I like the outdoor/alfresco area of the cafe and you can go up to Level 2 and 3 if I didn’t recall wrongly. It was pretty pricey – my latte and Rare Cheese Danish was 5,500W each. Western breakfast ain’t cheap in Korea but I wasn’t in the mood of asian food that morning so I guess.. it was a necessary expense.

#5 Cha Teul (Traditional Tea House)

To enter, you have to remove your shoes. There’s only one VIP room with tables and chairs. The rest of the sitting area looks like the one below: low tables and floor sitting. To be honest, I think it might be a little uncomfortable for the older folks who have difficulty sitting cross-legged.

It was a very fancy tea set or perhaps tea steps where they give you many items and equipment which makes you pause and appreciate the art of tea brewing.

It was nothing complicated and the art of slowness of brewing tea can be quite therapeutic. I didn’t get any food in this place as I was alone and it would have been pricey if I had no one to share my food with.

I was lucky to be given a ‘window’ seat and this was the view from my window seat!

Korean Name: 차마시는뜰

Address: 26 Bukchon-ro 11na-gil, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 종로구 삼청동 북촌로11나길 26

Opening Hours: 11am – 10:30pm

Verdict: I highly suspect that this place can be crowded as I do see a reservations list at the shoe rack area. Please note that to get to this place, you need to walk up some slopes so if you have difficulty walking, it might have been better to take a taxi up the slope. Nevertheless, despite all the slopes, I really enjoy the walk around the samcheong-dong area (thankful for the good weather) and I like the place so much that I actually went for a morning walk around the area on my last day!

[JUST SOME SNIPPETS OF FILMING LOCATIONS IN THIS AREA]

This is like a dead-end alley and in fact, not just ‘another oh hae young’ had been filmed here, there was a scene from ‘Goblin’ which was filmed here as well!

This building was used as the ‘Good Soup’ restaurant in drama Temperature of Love.

Whenever I have the time, I will always come and take photo of this house which has been featured in Lee Min Ho’s Personal Taste drama many years back. What I like about this angle is that you can see Namsan Tower in the background. Well, one thing for sure is that the shrub outside the house has grown a lot taller.

I’ve lost count of the number of times this mural was featured in K-dramas but you will definitely see it if you walk up to Samcheong-dong from the insa-dong street.

You can read my 2013 visit to this place in this post (which feature other K-drama filming locations).

#6 Yookssam Naeng Myeon

Korean Name: 육쌈냉면

Address: 123-1 Supyo-ro, Nakwon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 종로구 낙원동 수표로 123-1

Opening Hours: 11am – 11:30pm

I believe this brand is a franchise chain and I’ve first eaten at this brand back in 2011 in Busan. The taste was so memorable (especially the seasoning of the grilled pork) that I always make it a point to eat at least once whenever I’m in Korea. To be honest, this Jongno outlet taste so much better than the Hongdae one I ate last year.. If you have a choice, do eat the branch here and please bear in mind that the bibim naengmyeon IS SPICY. I used to be able to take the spice but this time round, I had to remove some of the chilli paste but it was still a little spicy for me. You can also add the cold liquid (no idea what it is called) from the kettle to dilute the chili.

Anyway, the best part of this dish is that it is only 7,500W. It was 6,000W back in 2011 but at 7,500W it is still a very affordable and delicious meal with tasty pork. Definitely worth a price!

#7 Gwangjang Market (Raw Beef)

Korean Name: 형제육회

Address: 200-1 Jong-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 종로구 종로4가 종로 200-1

Opening Hours: 9am – 11pm (Closed on Wednesday)

I love beef. and I will only get to eat raw beef in Korea or in Japan. Why would I miss out on my chance to eat raw beef? Well, it was kind of a half mistake cause trying to eat one full serving of beef on your own is a nightmare. Raw beef is awesome but too much raw beef makes your stomach queasy.

Okay, so the shop I dined at (hyung-jae) was not my original choice. I wanted to go this place called Chang Shin창신육회 (where I ate last year), but sadly it wasn’t open on Tuesday.

So the difference between Chang Shin and Hyung Jae was that Chang Shin gave seaweed as a side dish to eat together with the beef and octopus.

However, at Hyung Jae, I wasn’t given the seaweed but I’m not sure if I will only be given seaweed if I ordered the Octopus (not an apple to apple comparison).

Anyway, back to the beef, the marinade is pretty awesome. There’s something about their sesame oil which makes it delicious.

The sad thing was.. I couldn’t finish the entire platter of 15,000W worth of raw beef. I like it but the amount was too much for my stomach to handle and I started feeling weird after eating half the plate. It was to the extent that I felt like I would puke if I were to finish the whole plate. The conclusion is.. never order a plate if you’re alone. You can opt for the bibimbap option which comes with a smaller serving of beef; served together with rice and other vegetables.

Well, this episode ain’t gonna stop my love for beef. I just got to eat in moderation for my next visit.

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Sinsa/Apujeong/Gangnam area

This was another area that I explored quite a bit in my trip as I had a friend staying nearby.

Mokpo-Jib (Dakbokkeum-tang; Spicy Braised Chicken)

Korean Name: 목포집

Address: 24 Gangnam-daero 152-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 강남구 신사동 강남대로152길 24

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 12am

According to my friend, this shop is really famous as it has been featured on korean tv before! Also, the walls are filled with signatures of celebrities and one signature that stood out was DBSK’s Yunho (UKnow). So anyway, for this dish, it is spicy stew with chicken, potato, carrots and rice cake. It is meant for sharing and you need to have at least 2 people to eat this dish. I didn’t see any solo diners when I was in this restaurant.

When they serve you the dish, the ajumma said it is already cooked so you don’t actually have to wait for the stuff to be cooked before eating. After you’re done with it, you can opt for the fried rice option where they will add rice and seaweed to the remaining gravy in your pot and gosh, this is the most delicious part of the dish! Although we were pretty full, the rice was so delicious that we couldn’t bear to waste anything. Always opt for the rice option!

Gam Seong Dwae Ji (Famous for Pork Belly)

Korean Name: 감성돼지

Address: 15 Gangnam-daero 152-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 강남구 신사동 강남대로152길 15

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 11pm

Apologies for the lack of photos for this outlet as I got too excited about eating meat that I forgot to snap more photos!

Traveling solo, it is very difficult to eat in a grilled meat restaurant as most shops will require you to order at least 2 servings of meat. I’ve heard that some restaurants even reject solo diners. Thankfully, I was able to meet up with a korean friend and I told her I wanted to eat grilled meat.

For this grilled meat outlet, it is rather popular among the local koreans (can’t see much english reviews online actually). We dined at about 6:30pm on a monday so we didn’t have to queue but when we left, there was a long waiting list queue. The best part of eating grilled meat in a korean restaurant is that the staff will do all the cooking for you. I really love this service as you don’t need to wreck your brains on scrutinizing the meat to analyze if it is cooked or not (always the case in SG). The pork belly was really juicy and it was cooked to have a certain type of crispiness! The staff (perhaps sensing that I was a foreigner), assisted me with my first vegetable wrap by plating the veg, meat and sauce and garlic slices for me. It definitely feels good to be served =p

Korean grilled meat is definitely one of my favourite korean food 😀

Brooklyn Burgers

Name: Brooklyn The Burger Joint

Address: 12 Dosan-daero 15-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea 서울특별시 강남구 신사동 도산대로15길 12

Opening Hours: 24 hours

My friend would be pretty upset that I’m writing about this burger brand as it has been her favourite brand and kind of a secret favourite hangout of hers for many years but it recently got viral after a TV show. As a result, she has to battle with longer queue lines now. She told me that their burgers were better than shake shack but she couldn’t describe it. After I have tried it, I finally understood why it was slightly of a different taste but definitely tastes better. Shake Shack was more of a ‘fast food’ concept whereas for Brooklyn Burgers, it was a diner concept and the patty seems more hand-fried and the juiciness is just unforgettable.. The beef patty was more on the peppery taste and the grilled onions and cheese was the right combination! For the fries, it was legit peeled and fried potatoes, not frozen commercialized potato fries. Top-notch quality!

I didn’t get a chance to try their milkshake as it would have been over-eating for me but I heard it is really good!

Price-wise, they are slightly more expensive – my meal was 13,800W – but I felt it was worth every single cent!

Up and coming hipster Cafe area (Eljiro-3-ga)

Korean Name: 을지빈 (Euljibean)

Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, 을지빈 서울특별시 중구 을지로3가 을지빈

Opening Hours: 11:30am (Weekdays) or 12:30 (Weekends) – 10pm

This up and coming hipster place is pretty interesting yet confusing at the same time. The selling point was that.. among the car mechanics/printing shops and other random industrial businesses, there were cafes hidden among the mess. So basically, the cafes are hidden and it’s kind of a challenge to locate them as their signages are often hidden. We were trying to search for a cafe, and the random uncle near us pointed to us the door and the sign which was pretty hidden/camouflaged.

We ended up at this cafe ‘Euljibean’, which was on the second floor and we have a lovely afternoon just staring out of the huge-ass window, watching time pass. Perhaps it was the good weather or the somewhat quiet cafe environment or perhaps it was the good company I had that day; it was so relaxing to sit and chill with good coffee (they use beans from the seal brand aka Fritz Coffee Company).

Delicious Kimbap from Kim-ga-nae

This is a chain shop and it can be found at many places. Do give it a try if you see the name Kim-Ga-Nae 김家네.

Egg Drop – delicious sandwich toast

The previous time I tried this chain, there were only 2 outlets in Seoul and suddenly this year, they have grown to a huge chain of more than 30 shops all over Korea! I ate this in Daegu but there are also outlets in Samcheong-dong, Gangnam, Sinchon, Mapo area. If you can read korean, this list would help.

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And that concludes my food in Seoul series where I did not repeat the food I ate in Korea (except for the burgers cause cry cheeseburger is amazing too).

Read my other posts from my May 2019 trip!

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