12 Must-Try Korean Food in Seoul & Where to Get Them!

Looking for a place where you can get the best Korean food in Seoul? Visit this restaurant in Hongdae!

Highlights

  • If you’ll visit Korea soon, make sure to visit this BBQ grill that locals love!
  • Two Korean dishes in Seoul that I think all first-time visitors should have are Jeonju bibimbap and chimaek or Korean fried chicken and beer!
  • Discover the best restaurants in Seoul and book them at a discount using WAUG! Download the app here and sign up to get a $3 discount coupon.

Explore more: Hongdae Restaurants: Discover the Best Dining Spots Right Now

Must-Try Korean Food in Seoul

A lot of WAUG blog readers have told me that they want to travel to South Korea for the food. I can totally relate. Before moving to Seoul, I’ve also made a couple of trips from Manila to Incheon for what you may call a culinary adventure. My itinerary would always have something like juk or Korean porridge for breakfast, jajangmyeon or samgyetang for lunch, and Korean BBQ or chimaek for dinner. (Yes, there were days when all I did was eat!)

If you too are planning your own Korean food adventure, whether as a first-time or frequent visitor, then consider the following list of some of the best Korean food that you can have in Seoul:

1. Korean BBQ

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Aged meat in Woo Mi Hak.

I doubt that you’d want to miss having Korean BBQ in Seoul, so let’s start with this. If you watch Korean dramas or have been to a Korean BBQ grill in your home country, then you probably know the concept: grill, eat, and repeat. But in case you’re unsure how it works, here’s a quick walkthrough:

  • Place your bag, jacket, and other valuables inside the plastic bag. This is to avoid having grease on them. (Not all restaurants provide a bag, though.)
  • Order your meat. People usually go to grills that serve dwaejigogi (pork) and order moksal (shoulder blade) or samgyeopsal (pork belly) — the two most preferred cuts. There are also many restaurants where you can get sogogi (beef), but they can get really expensive. (It’s for this reason that many Koreans save sogogi for special occasions.)
  • Munch. After you place your order, you’ll be given complimentary small plates of Korean side dishes or banchan. They usually consist of kimchi, fritters, potatoes, and fish cake strips, which you can enjoy while waiting for the meat to cook.
  • Wrap. Aside from banchan, you’ll also get various leaves or ssam, which, translates to wrap. Once your meat cooks, dip them in the sauce and wrap them up with lettuce or perilla leaves. (This is the best time to get some soju or beer, if you haven’t yet.)
  • Finish off with fried rice. Rice is usually saved for last. You can order 1 serving (good for 2 people), and the staff will make you a nice bokkeumbap or fried rice using some of your leftover banchan.

Here are some Korean BBQ grills in Seoul that you can visit (they have an English menu and you can book them online at a discount!):

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2. Bibimbap

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Jeonju Bibimbap.

Bibimbap is recognized by the Korea Tourism Organization as the representative food of South Korea. It consists of meat and various vegetables that you’re supposed to mix together before consuming. There’s a lot of bibimbap variations, but the most popular one is Jeonju Bibimbap. It’s the one that has beef (tartare or fried), egg (raw yolk or fried), and sprouts, and it usually comes with radish soup.

Jeonju City is roughly 2 hours away from Seoul (you can book this tour if you want to visit!), but if you don’t want to take the trip, you can still get a taste of their bibimbap in Seoul! Click below to see the restaurant to visit:

3. Bulgogi

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Bulgogi.

A bowl of bulgogi consists of thinly-sliced marinated beef on top of hot rice. The term translates to “fire meat”, but the taste is just the right balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. To try this Korean food in Seoul, visit the same restaurant that serves #2 and #4 on this list. They offer satisfying bulgogi sets starting at ₩11,800 or $8.5 (special online rate). Click below to learn more:

4. Jeon & Makgeolli

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Jeon and makgeolli.

If it happens to rain in Seoul when you visit Korea, then make sure to have jeon and makgeolli — two Korean food that locals usually have during rainy days. In general, jeon is a savory pancake that can be filled with vegetables and some protein. Makgeolli is Korean rice wine that looks like milk and tastes slightly sweet and bitter. You can get a taste of both when you visit the Joseon Era Pub in Hongdae, which you can learn more about in this blog post.

5. Soju & Dried Pollock

Since we touched on makgeolli, another Korean drink that you should try when you visit Seoul is soju. (Yes, you may have it in your local community store, but having it in Seoul is quite an experience!) Soju, which usually has a 16-25% alcohol, is best paired with dried pollock (황태). Visit the restaurant below to get a taste of this combo:

6. Tteokbokki

Ah, the famous tteokbokki. Having Korean street food like tteokbokki or Korean rice cake is a must when you visit Seoul. You can easily get them from mom-and-pop food carts in Hongdae, Hyehwa, Dongdaemun, and Myeongdong, but I’d recommend this resto-pub that locals love. Here you can enjoy a big bowl of tteokbokki, which you can have with fried chicken, gimmari (deep fried seaweed spring rolls), and squid, among so many other exciting options! The atmosphere in the restaurant is also very laid back, so I’m pretty sure you and your friends will have a great time.

7. Jokbal

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Jokbal.

Jokbal is a Korean dish made of pig’s trotters. I have a love-hate relationship with this sweet and sticky food, but jokbal is actually quite a popular item since it goes well with beer — and Koreans love to drink! Visit the restaurant below to try this Korean food in Seoul:

8. Jjukumi

Jjukkumi is Korean spicy grilled baby octopus, which I really love. It’s a popular Korean treat during spring months (March to May), and people have them in shabu-shabu and stew. However, I always like my jjukkumi stir-fried in gochujang. The spice is very addictive, and I’d definitely recommend this to any first-time traveler. Visit the popular restaurant below to get a taste of this Korean food in Seoul:

9. Gopchang

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Gopchang.

A great alternative to jjukkumi is gopchang, which are tiny intestines. I’d definitely understand if you wouldn’t want to try this, but I guarantee that it’s very good. Like the baby octupus, gopchang is soft and chewy, which makes it another Korean food that you can enjoy while drinking. If you’re up for the challenge, click below to see the traditional restaurant that makes the best gopchang in Seoul!

10. Bossam

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Bossam.

One of the best food that you can try in Seoul is bossam. My colleague told me that it’s very popular among foreigners, and I think it’s got to do with how it tastes and how people eat it. Bossam is actually just boiled pork (plain and simple) that you wrap in lettuce with some garlic, radish salad, and some kimchi. A bite will give you an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

11. Korean Fried Chicken & Beer

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Korean fried chicken.

Sure, fried chicken is fried chicken, but the Korean version is actually delightfully different! They usually coat their fried chix in sticky sweet-and-spicy sauce, and people have it with beer. (The chicken and beer combo is called chimaek.) An order of Korean fried chicken in Seoul usually costs around ₩15,000 or $12.5, but expect the serving to be huge!

You can visit one of the best places to have fried chicken in Seoul by clicking below:

12. Bingsu

If you’ll fly into Korea during summer (June-August), then you’d really want to have bingsu or Korean shaved ice to cool down. There’s a lot of variations for this dessert, but the classic one is the patbingsu or shaved ice with red beans. You can visit Picky Papa in Gangnam to get a taste of the best bingsu in town!

Using WAUG to book restaurants in Seoul that serve Korean food

Save money on your food adventure in Seoul when you book restaurants using the WAUG app! Here are the steps:

  1. Log in or sign up for an account here. (Click the floating coupon to get an extra $3 or ₩3,000 discount coupon!)
  2. Visit the booking page of your preferred Korean restaurant in Seoul.
  3. Choose the date of your visit and provide the other information.
  4. Check out using your Visa, Mastercard, or AMEX.**
  5. Wait for your voucher/s that we’ll send through the WAUG app, which you can download here.

Is your method-of-payment issued in South Korea? You can switch the page’s currency to KRW so you can see the other local payment options, like phone payment.

Find more restaurants that serve Korean cuisine

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WAUG is the leading travel and restaurant activity booking app from Seoul, South Korea. Get the app below to find more restaurants and activities to book!

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Kevin

Kevin

안녕하세요. 글로벌 콘텐츠 마케터 Kevin입니다. Hey, I'm Kevin from the Marketing Team. If you have any questions about WAUG or this blog post, feel free to send me an email!

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