Wondering what to eat in Seoul during your visit? You’re not alone! With unique and delicious dishes that can’t be found anywhere else, it’s no wonder Seoul is a foodie’s paradise and often called the best place to eat in Korea.
If you’re planning a trip to Seoul, or are just curious about Korean cuisine, check out this list of 12 most-loved Korean dishes in Seoul! From traditional favorites like bibimbap and bulgogi to more modern dishes like tteokbokki, you’ll surely enjoy the best flavors Seoul has to offer.
1. Bibimbap | Mixed Rice Bowl
Bibimbap is one of the most popular Korean dishes, and for good reason! A bowl of bibimbap makes a healthy lunch or dinner and gives you enough energy for an active day.
Bibimbap literally translates to “mixed rice”. It is typically made with rice, vegetables, and meat, all cooked in a distinctive stone pot and then garnished with raw eggs, nori (seaweed), and sesame seeds. The pot is then brought to your table still bubbling, and you mix everything together before eating. Bibimbap is definitely worth trying if you are looking for a delicious and filling meal.
Seoul is the perfect place to try bibimbap, as there are countless restaurants that serve this dish. Whether you are looking for a traditional experience or something a little more modern, you’ll surely find a bibimbap restaurant that suits your taste.
2. Samgyeopsalgui | Grilled Pork Belly
Samgyeopsalgui is a popular Korean dish that consists of thin slices of grilled pork belly served with rice and other side dishes. The pork belly is marinated in a special yummy sauce before being grilled, resulting in a dish that is both flavorful and satisfying.
Seoul is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, so it is the perfect place to try samgyeopsalgui, especially at one of the following restaurants: Hallimdon-ga (near Sinchon station), Dojeok (near Sangsu station), or Simin sikdang (near Jongno 3-ga station). Otherwise, you can find samgyeopsalgui in the menu of almost any BBQ restaurant in Seoul.
3. Kimchi | Fermented Vegetables
A traditional side dish made from cabbage, radish, and other vegetables, kimchi is one of Korea’s most famous fermented foods with a distinctive flavor of spicy, salty, and sour. In addition, the kimchi fermentation process increases its nutritional value, making it a healthy food choice. Kimchi is also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and minerals.
Aged kimchi is called “jang” and has a strong flavor, while fresh kimchi is called “jeot” and has a milder flavor. Although kimchi is usually served with rice, it can also be used in soup or stew, as a filling for fried pastries called “kimchi buns”, or as a popular ingredient in Korean BBQ.
The best way to really experience kimchi is to try it in multiple dishes. That way you can appreciate the different ways that it can be used and the different flavors that it can provide. There are many great restaurants in Seoul that serve it. You can also find kimchi at most Korean markets.
When shopping for kimchi, look for jars that are marked “vegan” or “vegetarian,” as some brands of kimchi contain fish sauce or other animal-based ingredients. Vegan and vegetarian kimchi is just as delicious as the traditional kind, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!
4. Samgyetang | Chicken Soup
Samgyetang is a soup made with chicken, rice, ginseng, and other Korean ingredients. It is one of South Korea’s most loved dishes and is particularly popular in the summer months.
Since Korean people belive samgyetang is beneficial for their health, they often eat this dish as a tonic or an immunity-booster. Samgyetang is traditionally made with a whole chicken, but nowadays it is also common to find versions made with chicken breast and served with kimchi and rice on the side.
There are many great places to try samgyetang in Seoul. One of the most popular spots is Tosokchon – a famous restaurant located near Gyeongbokgung Palace and has been serving samgyetang since the Joseon Dynasty.
If you are looking for a delicious and healthy soup, samgyetang is definitely worth trying. Whether you are a fan of chicken or not, this dish is sure to tantalize your taste buds.
5. Bulgogi | Grilled Beef
If you’re visiting Seoul, one dish you absolutely must try is bulgogi. Bulgogi is a Korean dish of grilled or roasted meat, typically beef. The meat is usually thinly sliced and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and other spices. When it’s grilled, the result is incredibly flavorful and tender meat that just melts in your mouth.
There are many great places to try bulgogi in Seoul. One of the most popular spots is Gwangyang Bulgogi in Gangnam where only the freshest ingredients are used and this dish is served with a variety of traditional side dishes. Some other restaurants to try bulgogi are Hangaram (near City Hall station), Parc Seoul (near Hangangjin station), and Batgodong (near Apgujeongrodeo station).
6. Dak-galbi | Spicy Stir-fried Chicken
Dak-galbi is a much loved Korean dish made with chicken, gochujang (red pepper paste), and vegetables. The chicken is marinated in the gochujang sauce, then grilled on a hot plate. Dak-galbi is typically served with rice and a variety of side dishes. It’s a delicious and hearty meal, perfect for a cold winter day.
If you’re visiting Seoul, you definitely have to try dak-galbi. There are many great places to eat it, but one of the most popular spots is Yoogane Dakgalbi with 2 restaurants in Myeongdong and Daegu. The restaurants are often crowded, but it’s worth the wait.
7. Gimbap | Seaweed Rolls
A famous Korean dish made of rice, vegetables, and meat rolled in seaweed, gimbap is typically served with gochujang (a spicy red pepper paste) and soy sauce for dipping. It is a great meal to take on the go and can be found at many convenience stores and markets in Seoul.
While gimbap may look simple, it is packed with flavor and nutrition. The rice is usually seasoned with sesame oil and salt, and the vegetables can vary depending on what is in season. Common fillings include cucumber, carrot, radish, egg, and spinach. Gimbap can also be made with beef or pork for a heartier meal. With so many delicious options, it is no wonder that gimbap is one of the most popular Korean dishes!
Gimbap can be found at most Korean restaurants, but there are a few places in Seoul that are particularly famous for their gimbap. One such place is Gimgane in Jung-gu, where the gimbap is made fresh to order. Another option is Joseon Gimbap near Anguk station with tasty and reasonably-priced Korean dishes.
8. Japchae | Stir-fried Glass Noodles
Japchae is a popular Korean dish made from stir-fried glass noodles mixed with vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, carrots, and spinach, as well as beef or chicken, and then seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. The dish is often served as a side dish or appetizer, but it can also be enjoyed as a main course.
A popular dish in Korean restaurants, Japchae is often served at special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. The dish can also be found at street markets and food stalls. Japchae is a popular choice for takeout and delivery due to its easy transportation and storage.
9. Tteokbokki | Korean Rice Cakes
If you are looking for a delicious and traditional Korean dish, tteokbokki is a great choice. The dish is flavorful and spicy and is sure to satisfy your hunger. Made of rice cakes and red pepper paste, tteokbokki is normally served with boiled eggs and vegetables. However, there are also many variations that can be found in Korean restaurants nowadays, such as cheese-filled or black sauce tteokbokki.
While many restaurants offer tteokbokki in their menus, the best places to try this dish are perhaps Seoul’s street food markets.
10. Haemul-pajeon | Korean Pancake
Typically eaten as an appetizer or main course, Haemul-pajeon is a popular dish in Korea that consists of a savory pancake made with scallions, seafood and green onion and served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili pepper flakes. The most common type of seafood used in Haemul-pajeon is shrimp, but squid, clams, and crab can also be used. Haemul-pajeon can be found at most Korean restaurants and food markets in Seoul.
Galbi is a Korean dish made of beef short ribs that are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and garlic, before being grilled over charcoal. It is typically served with sides like kimchi, rice, and noodles.
Galbi is a popular dish in South Korea, and can be found at restaurants throughout the country. If you are visiting Seoul, be sure to check out some of the city’s best galbi restaurants, from hole-in-the-wall places to upscale dining establishments. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find yourself hooked on this tasty Korean treat!
12. Budae-jjigae | Kimchi Stew
A delicious stew that is perfect for a cold winter day, budae-jjigae is a popular Korean dish made by boiling kimchi, vegetables, and Western ingredients such as sausages. The dish is very filling and satisfying with a distinctive spicy flavor.
While visiting Seoul, you can try budae-jjigae at Nolboo – a famous restaurant near the Swiss Grand Hotel. Another highly-rated place is Myeongdong Budae Jjigae near Myeongdong shopping streets.
Summary: What to eat in Seoul | 12 Most-Loved Korean Dishes in Seoul to try
That’s it for our list of 12 must-try Korean dishes when in Seoul. Have you tried any of them before? Let me know in the comment section below – I’d love to hear about your experience! And if you haven’t been to Seoul yet, be sure to add these delicious eats to your itinerary!
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