Korean food is spectacular. My host mom is an awesome cook and has been kind enough to cook various Korean dishes for me to try. So far I’ve had Korean bbq, kimchi, fried rice, Koreanized western food, and lots more. I think being able to have family dinner has helped me get settled into the Korean lifestyle.
In Seoul, there is an abundance of restaurants. In Gwanak-gu (SNU area) there are many American chains: Subway, Cold Stone, McDonald’s, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Around Seoul, you can easily find any big American franchise ranging from Jamba Juice to TGI Fridays. When I first saw all the big chain restaurants, I vowed to avoid them because I wanted to try traditional Korean food. Apparently these chains have slight variations in their menus. There might be green tea something or a bulgogi (Korean beef dish) overhaul. One of these days I will go check it out.
As for Korean food, big franchises and small businesses, they are all so tasty and give giant servings. The one type of eatery I see a lot is a tteokboki shops/street stalls. Tteokboki is a very popular Korean snack that incorporates rice cakes and fish cake into a heavenly sweet and spicy sauce. I’ve gone to various restaurants and all have been a hit. No misses, yet. Most young people go out to eat. For about $6-$10, people can get a really good meal with a lot of food. So why go to the market and make a mess their own home?
Even the lowest part of the food quality spectrum tastes good: school cafeteria. Seoul National University’s cafeteria serves up a variety of Korean dishes: bibimbap, jajangmyun, naengmyun, etc. Meals range from 1500 won to 4000 won. Whether it’s the cheapest meal or the most expensive meal, you will be full by the end. If you’re not, you can actually go ask for seconds, free of charge!