Top 5 Local Restos in Seoul That You Should Definitely Try
Opting out of a food trip in any place or country you visit definitely takes the fun out of it. But more than the fun, you are missing out on getting to know more about their culture and history that you can taste in every bit of their food. If you have the budget in your travel for food, we highly recommend that you take every meal in their local restaurants. You don’t only get to eat good food but you’re also helping out a local business.
The South Korean Food
We’re sure that once or twice in your life, you have tried Korean food like k-bbq, k-chicken, japchae, kimchi, and many more. And we bet that you tried it out because you craved for it while watching your idol’s mukbang or a k-drama.
South Korean cuisine is very diverse and many have taken quite a liking to it. From the modern and experimental styles to the traditional ones, many people from different cultures are trying it out.
South Korea is located between the Chinese Mainland and islands of Japan which produced many shared cultural characteristics with the two countries. But it’s important to note that Korea’s unique geography and climate heavily influenced the many differences between these two countries as well. South Korea has rich land that favorably supports rice farms as well as mountainous regions that yield a wide variety of edible greens.
And of course, there’s also the fresh seafood that South Korea is very popular with. That is thanks to the jagged coastlines of the southern and western coasts which provided an ideal environment to grow a variety of marine products. And the seasons also play a big role in terms of seasonal food that produces a variety of flavors.
Top 5 Local Restos in Seoul
Seoul is the capital of South Korea and home to modern skyscrapers, technology, and pop culture. But in the midst of all this contemporary chaos are peaceful Buddhist temples and palaces as well as lively street markets and nature spots where you can just simply relax.
Here we listed the top 5 local restos that you should definitely check out in Seoul. We’ve featured one for each main meal and of course, we threw in some cafes to indulge in as well.
📍 85-5, Myeong-dong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 중구 남대문로 68-1
This coffee shop definitely gets aesthetics and it’s impossible to just pass by something this beautiful. This store is located in Jonggak and Gwanghwamun areas where there are a lot of offices making it an ideal breakfast spot for workers. And if you’re in Seoul, this is a must-visit.
They offer different coffee and tea flavors (Musket Milk Tea is good) and there are also yogurt and smoothies available. But the most-recommended food here are their sweet and savory pies freshly-baked every morning. You can try their minced meat pie, fried chicken pie, or their apple pie.
All of the pie fillings are very savory and rich and at just that, they’re already worth the money. And the crust is very crispy which blends well with the soft fillings. You will definitely enjoy your breakfast here.
📍 154-3, Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul / 서울특별시 종로구 돈화문로11나길 26-4
After a hearty breakfast of pies. You can indulge in teas, desserts, and a really refreshing roof top view here at Kkilook House. Kkilook is inspired from the onomatopoeia for a seagull that’s why you’ll see that they have a logo of a flying seagull and the theme of their cafe is white with wooden accents and frames. And if you look carefully enough, you’ll spot many seagull decorations all over the place.
Kkilook House is located in Ikseondong (익선동) which is sort of an “It” neighborhood which attracted many young creatives like artists and designers to turn their passion into a profession. Now, it has evolved into one of the most popular neighborhoods in Seoul with lots of vintage shops, hip cafes, and artist galleries.
The seats by the window here are the most popular spots for Instagram photos. You can take some really nice pictures here while you indulge in some more baked goods and aromatic teas.
📍 12 Myeongdong 9-gil, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Hadongkwan offers traditional Korean dishes and definitely makes the best restaurant to visit after lunch especially because they close after 4pm. And since they’re very popular, lunch is almost always crowded so it’s good to visit early for a good spot to enjoy their food.
This restaurant is already 70 years old and initially located on a back alley just a short distance from Cheonggye Stream. While the original restaurant was demolished during the process of redevelopment in the area, the owner kept the original wooden doors and tables. That’s why the new location at Myeongdong still retained the spirit of the original restaurant.
Their signature dish is gomtang or simmered beef soup with rice which is very good after a long morning of work as it’s very refreshing. Many recommend asking for ggak-guk which is juice from diced radish kimchi and adding minced green onions as well. And then finish your meal with some Hadongkwan barley tea for the full experience.
📍 356-9 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Hongdae is one of the most popular places in Seoul and this cozy Japanese-Korean fusion cafe is a must-visit. It’s a small shop just off the main street at Hongdae and it’s quite difficult to find but once you do, it’s definitely worth all the trouble.
Dango-Jip is most popular for its dango or the Japanese sweet dumplings. These are made from rice flour coated in different sauces like red bean, sweet soy sauce, green tea, and cherry blossom (which is their most ordered flavor).
For shaved ice, you should definitely try their cherry blossom shaved ice topped with cherry blossom puree and sweet white bean paste as base. It’s a great destination for those who just want to relax with a friend and grab a bite. And speaking of bites, this place also offers Japanese rice bowls like Ochazuke and donburi.
5. Han Chu Korean Fried Chicken & Beer / 한추
📍 549-9 Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Chicken and beer for dinner is a very popular combination that most Koreans eat or so we see in K-dramas. And Han Chu is definitely the most recommended place to enjoy chimaek which is a compound word from chi-cken and maek-ju (beer). THey open their doors for customers at 5pm just in time for an early dinner and long beer-chugging time.
First off, Korean fried chicken is definitely one of the most favorite styles in most restaurants around the world with their double-fried method which results in supremely crispy, crunchy, and less greasy skin. While different chimaek restaurants have different styles, this is one of the most popular. Second, most recommend trying out their deep-fried green peppers stuffed with pork as well.
Han Chu Chicken has been in the chimaek business for 20 years now and they’re not going anywhere. They have no franchise and their only restaurant is located in Sinsa-dong so make sure you put this in your food trip itinerary!
South Korea is definitely a good place to try out different food. This list only features a few but you can try out many more especially when you visit provinces like Busan.