Having lived in Seoul for 5 months, I want to write my final post by giving you recommendations for restaurants because we know that is a very important part of any trip to another country. The best way to build friendships is through people’s stomachs.
Korean food is delicious! Traditional food can be found anywhere and in any mom and pop restaurant. There are many and they are a bit hard to find if you can’t read Korean. Most times, they are upstairs or downstairs in an unassuming building. Look for the word “sekdang” in Naver Maps which means restaurant. I would certainly recommend staple dishes like dakgalbi which is stir fried chicken, dukkbokki which is rice cake, gimbap which is rise rolls, dwaeji gukbap which is pork and rice soup, samgyupsal which is grilled pork belly, and more.
I came across a restaurant chain called Myeongnyun Jinsa which is a very popular grill all over Korea. This is an all-you-can-eat kbbq restaurant where you can order as much meat as you want, as well as side dishes too.
There is also another all-you-can-eat restaurant called Dokki which is a popular dukkbokki chain in Korea. You can grab as much dukkbokki with different flavors and additions to eat with it! Dukkbokki might be considered junk food in Korea, but I still like it as a meal anyway!
In terms of western food, it will be a bit hard to find good western food. Personally, the international food scene in Seoul is severely lacking because of taste. Western food always tastes more sweet. There is certainly variety in Seoul, but it does not compare to food scenes like in New York City, Montreal, London, or etc. In terms of western restaurants that I returned to, here are several that I enjoyed.
Casa Latina in Hongdae is a latino restaurant that had delicious food and friendly staff! The owner is Ecuadorian and many foreigners visit this restaurant. The food is significantly better than other latino/spanish/mexican restaurants that I’ve tried. My go-to is the Pork Moros and a refreshing passion fruit juice. They also have a bar where they serve pina coladas, coquito, and other latin alcohols.
Shamrock Irish Bar in Hongdae is also a great place to visit because it has a great vibe, a billiards table, darts, and great music! Plus, the pina coladas are honestly delicious. Not so alcoholic, but they definitely use Coco Lopez, so you know the quality will be good. Just as good as the ones that I make back at home. This is a great place to pre-game before clubbing because its right next to a bunch of clubs, like Atension and such.
Rosso 1924 is a good pizza joint in Hongdae! So is Monster Pizza which is closest to a new york slice.
There are so many places to go and not enough time to see them all. But I would recommend trying your best to get local recommendations but also take them with a grain of salt. Korean taste buds tend to favor sweet foods (anecdotal based on all of my native Korean friends’ tastes). Western food is okay. Korean traditional food is much better, but you do get tired at some point! It’s good to have variety.