Food in Seoul (South Korea)

As one of the last posted about my trip to South Korea, I thought it would be fun to make a master post (compilation) post of all the foods I ate in Seoul. Looking back I wish I tried out more authentic Korean cuisine. Because of the person that went along, I couldn’t eat most of the food I initially wanted to try. But, I still ate a lot of delicious food.

Korean café food
To start the day I would eat at a café. There are plenty to choose from, they even have Western brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Most of the menus have English written under each food item, making it easier to order. There was only one instance where everything was only written in Korean. The price range may vary, depending which café you’ll visit. The foods they sell at Korean cafés are bread types, sweet desserts or even a combination of both. There’s often a great variety of drinks to choose from. Next time, I think I’ll be sticking to warm meals throughout the day. The problem is that Korean desserts and even the bread are way too sweet for my liking. I’m not really a fan of sugary food but it didn’t hurt stepping out of my comfort zone.

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koreancafedrinkcranberrytea2Chiabatta bread stuffed with mushroom & cranberry tea

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_DSC9699Sweet corn bun, mini salad sandwiches & Chai tea latte

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koreanbreadbaggleblueberry1Blueberry bagel

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KoreanwafflewhippedcreamriinaWaffles with syrup, whipped cream & jelly

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_DSC8976Hello Kitty waffle covered in chocolate sauce, with ice cream, fruit and whipped cream.

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koreanbread1riinaFocaccia bread

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mangosixwafflefrozenyoghurt1Waffle with frozen yogurt and berries

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koreanhoneybreadwhippedcreambanana2Korean Honey Bread Brick Toast, with whipped cream, peanut butter and bananas, is a well-known Korean dessert. I didn’t have a chance try it because I’ḿ allergic to some of the containing ingredients.

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koreanmochiricecakeredbeanIchigo Daifuku 大福餅 (strawberry rice cake) originates from Japan and I was a bit surprised to see that they also eat this in Korea. I had this dessert many times before. It contains mochi (rice cake), anko (sweet red bean paste) and one strawberry. This was good but I had better before. The mochi was a little bit too hard and the anko a bit too sweet. But overall, it was still delicious. 

koreanHoneybreadinjeolmiToastInjeolmi Toast is another well-known Korean dessert. It’s quite similar to the honey toast but much smaller in size. It’s a very sweet and sugary white grilled sandwich filled with a soft chewy rice cake, sprinkled with soybean powder, honey and almonds.

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Linefriendsmacarons

linefriendsmacronsallthecharacterscafe1Line Cafe Brown & Friends Macarons are sweet treats you can buy at the Line Friends Café in Garuso-gil, Gangnam. You can buy them in a pack or single. They’re chocolate, lemon, vanilla flavoured and come in the shapes of the three Line Friends Brown, Cony and Sally.  

Korean Snacks
If you want to buy snacks in Korea, you don’t have to look far. At every corner, you can find a convenience store. These stores are filled with all kind of necessities from day to day life but you can mostly find drinks and food items, cold and warm. Most of the shopkeepers don’t understand English, so, if you want to ask something it can be difficult. The prices are relatively cheap.

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koreanriceballfillingconviencestore2Korean rice ball (onigiri) filled with meat 

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tteokbokkiconviencestorecup2Convenience store ready to eat Tteokbokki

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koreanoreoicecreamBubble Tree soft icecream

riinalovelettkoreansofticecreamKorean convenience store soft chocolate icecream

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Bungeoppangkoreanfishicecreaminside12Samanco Bungeoppang icecream, I have been seeing this icecream on a few sites, so, I had to try it. It’s a waffle in a shape of a fish, filled with regular vanilla icecream and sweet red bean paste. 

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BinggraebananamilkriinalovelettBinggrea banana, melon & strawberry flavoured milk are also very famous throughout Korea. These are just flavoured milk, nothing less and nothing more. Strawberry is my favourite out of the three. 

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Korean Street Food
What’s really cool about Seoul is that you don’t really have to go to a restaurant for a satisfying meal. When it’s heading towards supper time, street food vendors emerge from wherever they came from. You have a lot of variety to choose from. You have different meats on a stick, chicken in cups, waffles covered in whipped cream, cups of fruit, vegetables and fresh healthy beverages. The prices are cheap and even some of the vendor owners can speak English very well. I really wanted to try out more street food but unfortunately, I didn’t really have the chance. Hopefully, I can come again to Seoul and try out more food.

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koreansausegesonastick1Korean Sausage on a stick. These are pork sausages, they remind me of mini hotdogs. Some sausages are stuffed with rice cake inside them. Very spicy and delicious. 

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tteokbokkispicyricecake1Tteokbokki is made out of soft rice cakes, fish cakes and gochujang (a fermeneted Korean condiment). This is a very popular and affordable snack throughout Korea. It has a very savory and spicy taste to it. You have different versions of this dish, such as curry, cheese and chicken Tteobokki.

koreanchickeninacupsweetsourspicy2Cup chicken also known as Korean popcorn chicken. I couldn’t get my bloody camera to focus on the chicken. But it’s just chicken in a cup with spicy sauce over it.

koreanstreetfoodDakkochichickenskewersDakkochi chicken skewers

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Authentic Korean restaurant dishes
Ordering food in a Korean restaurant is not that difficult. Like cafés, most restaurants have menus in English and pictures. You can also examine the signs in front of the food places. Mostly if there’s English written on a restaurant sign, it’s a safe place for non-Korean speakers. Although, this isn’t always the case. I walked into a place where I have been turned down but no hard feelings. These are obstacles you have to face when you’re in a foreign country. Prices may very. Smaller hidden restaurants are a tad cheaper but overall the prices are fairly affordable.

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koreanfriedchickenonionsandKorean fried chicken is my kind of chicken. There have all kind of different flavors and ways to prepare it. You have plenty to choose from. I even saw fried chicken with whipped cream! I took a more simple approach and ordered the natural crispy with onions and garlic. I also ordered spicy fried chicken with potatoes (양념치킨). It was so so good! When I stayed in Seoul I ate about five times Korean fried chicken because it was just too delicious.

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koreanbibimbap13Bibimbap is another famous Korean dish. You have many variations but here’s the vegetarian option. It’s basically served with a bowl of warm rice, meat, vegetables, egg and Gochujang. You only have to mix those ingredients together and your dish is ready to eat.

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_DSC9099All you can eat Korean BBQ Gogigui. You can eat relatively cheap in Hongdae and there are a lot of restaurants/cafés to choose from. Thinking about all the Bulgogi, Galbi and Samgyeopsal make me drool. What I love about Korean culinary are the many side dishes that goes along with the food (banchan). The Korean side dishes that are served the most are kimchi, guk, gochujang and jjiggae. There’s also a Korean way to eat grilled meat. Korean BBQ always comes with sangchu. You’re meant to wrap the grilled meat like a decorative present. The savory juicy taste of the Galbi goes well with the green leaves.

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koreanmixspicerice1Korean BBQ Gogigui. This is different from the all you can eat places, where you have a set price and can eat as much as you can. At the regular Gogigui place, you have to pay for each separate serving. So you can choose pork, beef and chicken. The side dishes are included in the price.

Korean Take Out
If you don’t like eating out every day, then take-out is an option to be used. Almost every eating place in Korea has an option to order food and take it home. After a long day of sightseeing, this is really perfect.

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_DSC0935I noticed that all American-like food are more expensive compared to Korean food. “Korean” pizza was no exception and relatively expensive compared to all the other food that I ate. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course very delicious. Korean pizza is very different compared to the regular pizza I’m used to. With flavors like caramel, whipped cream and chocolate, can you blame me?

_DSC0068Take out Korean Fried Chicken

South Korea: Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil

I was very excited to visit Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil in Gangnam. Garosu-gil is known for its trendy boutiques and trendy people. I couldn’t wait to be left in awe and be inspired.  Shopping in Garosugil is quite expensive compared to its counterparts, Hongdae and Myeongdong. But the quality is made out of better quality and feels more durable. You can also find the 3 concept eyes store. I recommend you shopping for 3ce  makeup here because it’s more peaceful compared to the other stores. You can just look around at ease. The place is filled with well-dressed stylish people. I was told that photographers often take street snaps of these trendy adolescents and scout them for modelling. I didn’t see many photographers but one funny incident happened. When I left the 3 concept eyes makeup store I saw a photographer snapping away. But in front of her was this really old ahjusshi smoking. I was really confused. But when I looked to the corner I saw this really stylish guy posing. Long story short, she wasn’t taking photos of the old man at all. I just laughed.

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The area also has many trendy cafés and restaurants. I have visited LINE FRIENDS Store & Café, where they sell these cute LINE FRIENDS macarons. I also planned to visit the Dore Dore Café, to eat some delicious rainbow cake but that plan unfortunately fell through. I did go to Mango Six. I saw this café many times in Korean drama, so, I definitely wanted to try their desserts and drinks. I ordered a blue mint lemonade drink and a waffle with berries and frozen yoghurt on top. They also sell the famous honey bread with whipped cream.

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South Korea: Bukchon Hanok Village

After visiting the beautiful Changdeokgung Palace, I visited the historical Bukchon Hanok Village which is nearby. Bukchon village consist of traditional houses, called Hanok. You can explore the village with a guided tour but I decided to explore the village on my own. There’s such an overflowing serenity through the village, it felt for a moment I was really in the Joseon time period. Time stood still. It really kept me wondering how people lived their daily lives back in those days. I’ve got the impression that they must have lived very humble lives back then. It warms my heart and I’m glad I got to see it with my own eyes. As of today, most of these buildings operate as tea houses, guesthouses and cultural centers. Walking through the village is an unique experience I will never forget.

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When I finished exploring the stunning village, I went to relax at a restaurant. I ordered Bibimbap, a famous Korean dish. You have many variations but I went for the vegetarian option. It’s basically served with a bowl of warm rice, vegetables, egg and Gochujang. You only have to mix those ingredients together and your dish is ready to eat.

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Changdeokgung Palace & The Secret Garden Huwon

Changdeokgung Palace is my favourite palace I visited in South Korea. Although it looks similar to other palaces, it has a beautiful palace garden.  You can enter the palace grounds without a tour guide and wander aimlessly around. The palace grounds consist of a public area and a royal family residence building which is the most reserved of the other five royal buildings. The grounds are massive and there’s much to see.

Huwon garden can only be entered with a guide. It’s known as a resting place for the king and royal family members. The garden is provided with lots of pavillions, greens and has even a tree that’s over 300 years old. Although, you have to stick mostly with the group it’s still a wonderful place to visit.

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South Korea: Han River

After days that consisted of shopping and sightseeing, I decided to take it easy and spend a day relaxing at Han river.  A lot of people come her to enjoy the beautiful park. I saw many people jogging, cycling, fishing or just taking a relaxing walk. Some passerby caught my eye because their faces were covered with masks and sunglasses. The person I was with told me that some Korean celebrities/Kpop idols visit this area. They’re covered up to protect their privacy. I’m not sure if that’s true. I rather think that they’re just protecting their faces from the bright sunlight.

I brought a few snacks, so I could have a little picknick along the coastline. I just had a  with meat filling inside, some crisps and Binggrae flavored strawberry milk. I actually drunk a lot of those flavored milk drinks.

I wish I could have beautiful relaxing moments like this every day.

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South Korea: Myeongdong

Myeongdong is the place for buying cosmetics. They have many stores reaching from Etude House to Skinfood. I really suggest buying makeup and skin products in Myeongdong because they often have amazing deals and sales. For instance, I bought a few things at Etude House and I got a facial cream for only ₩4,000. They also have great deals for facial masks and so on. The sale ladies can be very pushy and I suggest people to be beware of that. One lady talked me into buying a collagen cream and an exfoliate lotion, which I didn’t really needed.  When you entered the store they also tend to follow you around. It can be very handy if you want to ask questions but I’m more of a quiet shopper. I like to take my time and look at all the options before buying something. I’m really bad at ignoring people, so it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. It was something I really needed to get used to.

You can also buy clothes in Myeongdong but the prices are a bit higher compared to Hongdae. Although, I remember buying quite a bit of fashion items there. They have many cute clothing shops, therefore, I couldn’t help myself. There are a few department stores as well. My favourite one is Lotte Young Plaza. This mall fits the taste of a younger generation and combines street style with luxury. They have brands like Pinkage, Stylenanda, Wonderplace and many more. I took many pictures as well as photos from makeup items. But my memory card got corrupted and unfortunately, I’ve lost the data :'(.

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For dinner, I had Korean chicken. I’m quite the chicken fanatic if I say so myself and watching all those mouth-watering videos it became my mission to eat Korean fried chicken. Koreans take their chicken very serious. They have all kind of different flavors and ways to prepare it. You have plenty to choose from. I even saw fried chicken with whipped cream! I took a more simple approach and ordered the natural crispy with onions, garlic. I also ordered spicy fried chicken with potatoes (양념치킨). It was so so good! When I stayed in Seoul I ate about five times Korean chicken because it was just too delicious.  

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South Korea: Achasan mountain hike scenery

Although I already did a lot of walking in South Korea, I really wanted to hike through the mountains. In my country I don’t have mountains or hills. So, I wanted to take this opportunity. I decided to take it easy and decided to hike at mountain Achasan, which is suppose to be a 30-40 minute easy breezy walk. But…ok…first, I got lost. I couldn’t find the damn mountain and walked aimlessly throughout the city. Secondly, when I thought I actually “found” the mountain…it wasn’t that fucking easy as they promised. The tour map promised  an easy hike with lots of stairs but instead I was walking on slippery rocks and landed in the “jungle”. I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual beer would pop out and attack us! Later I discovered that I actually took a very difficult route on mountain Yongmansan which eventually connects with mountain Achasan. When I arrived at the top I saw another path with lots of stairs and it became clear that was the “easy Achasan route”.

Although I was dying and trying my best not to fall. It was all worth it in the end. At the top, you have this really beautiful view overlooking Seoul city and Hangang river. The photos don’t do it justice. It’s so much more stunning in real life.  

Oh yeah…after succeeding in not falling, on my way down…reaching the ground, I fell out of nowhere.

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When I went home I ordered pizza at the Korean Pizza Hut and chocolate oreo boba tea. Very deserving for our hard hiking accomplishment. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course was very delicious, I could eat the whole thing just by myself.

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South Korea: Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine was the only shrine I visited in South Korea. I had a hard time remembering it and had to look it up. It slowly came back to me when I recalled seeing the racoon dog scavenging around the shrine grounds. One of the few instances I saw wildlife in Seoul. Although the shrine was impressive, it still felt a bit underwhelming compared to the other attractions I have seen. To be honest, I regretted skipping Jogyesa temple for this. It still haunts me that I didn’t went to see the pretty colorful lanterns at the temple.

Anyway,  Jongmyo shrine was a place of worships for the kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty. Here is where they performed the oldest ceremony and still reenact it to this day. Our tour guide also told us not to walk on the stone footpath. It consists of three separate pavements and the middle one is only meant for the king. If you would disrespect this, the king would come and haunt you. So, she made us jump over it! Haha!

After the tour I went and explore the city for a bit.

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South Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace & Cheonggyecheon stream

Visiting the beautiful palaces in Seoul was one of my highest priorities of my trip. One of the first palaces on my list was Gyeongbokgung Palace Also known as the North Palace. The premises were once destroyed during the Japanese Invasion. Thankfully, they were later restored and made it possible for us to admire it today. Although, restorations are still ongoing, there are still a lot of beautiful things to see. You have Gwanghwamun Gate, which greets you and welcomes you inside the palace. Geunjeongjeon, which is the Imperial Throne Hall where the king was greeted by ambassadors. Gyeonghoeru, which is a pavilion surround by water like an island. And, Hyangwonjeong pond which is truly one of my favourite. A pavilion which is also surrounded by water but connected to the ground by this picturesque bridge. It made me feel like I was in a fairytale.

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What I really love about the Korean palaces is that they are really colorful. This traditional decorative coloring art is called Dancheong (단청) and has various symbolic meanings. The function is not only decorative but also had the purpose to protect the buildings surface against hot and cold temperatures and to make the material less noticeable.

After visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace I traveled to Cheonggyecheon stream which is nearby. This creek is about 8,4km long and eventually connects to Han river. In 2005 it has been restored and transformed into a lovely and calm stream. I had a nice leisurely stroll following the stream. Afterwards, I rested and relaxed for a bit while putting our feet in the water. A quiet moment amidst the buzzing city life.

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South Korea: Hello Kitty Café

When I was in Hongdae I visited the new Hello Kitty café. When I was younger I used to really adore Hello Kitty. I even had a Hello Kitty mobile phone. Nowadays Hello Kitty isn’’t really doing it for me anymore but I still wanted to visit the newly opened café in Hongdae. I know my inner child would be screaming at me if I didn’’t.

It’’s hard to miss the entrance to the café. I was greeted by the vividly pink gate with a huge ribbon on top. There are steps leading up to the building. The café is a two-storey building and of course decorated in pink. There’s a giftshop located at the left side. Here you can buy all things Hello Kitty. The stock ranges from stuffed animals to stationary. I must say that they put a lot of effort in decorating the place. At every corner there’’s Hello Kitty themed art, merchandise and statues. On the second floor there’’s even a Hello kitty themed bedroom.

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The food and beverages are quite affordable. The price ranges from ₩5,000 to ₩12,000. I ordered a lemon drink and a Hello Kitty waffle covered in chocolate sauce, with icecream, fruit and whipped cream. The drink was way too sweet and made my teeth scream in agony. The Hello Kitty waffle tasted really good but the aroma of the icecream was a tad too heavy for me. Overall, the dessert was leaning more to the okay side, but then again most people who visited came here rather for the décor than the actual food. That’’s why, I recommend visiting only if you’’re a true Hello Kitty fanatic.

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