10 Things You Must Eat in Seoul!

Travel Date: September 2016

Anyone who has ever been to Seoul knows that 4 full days in this busy city is wayyyyy too short. Unfortunately, because my girlfriends J, S, and I booked a last-minute trip to Seoul over dinner 2 weeks before (#yolo right?), beggars can’t be choosers and the return flight prices were the most ideal during those dates.

So with only 4 days and approximately 13 meals – every meal had to count. We planned most of our trips according to food (and shopping) in the area, and here’s 10 things you absolutely have to eat on your next trip to Seoul! Special thanks to J who did most of the planning this trip haha!

 #1. Budae Jjigae

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Chicken Galbi @ Yoogane, Myeong Dong

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Nolboo Budae Jjigae

This was definitely on the top of our list to eat – Budae Jjigae (army stew) is shown in almost all Korean shows, making us salivate every single time. Piping hot pan of ramyeon, kimchi, sausages and meat in spicy sauce mmmmmm…

I love Buddae Jjigae to bits, but it’s just SO EXPENSIVE in Singapore, at least SGD$40 at any place. In Seoul, you can literally walk into any restaurant for delicious army stew, and it’ll cost you about $10 or less per person.

Where to go: Anywhere, but we had our fix at these 2 places.

Yoogane, Myeong Dong | Price: 8,500 Won per person / SGD $10.50

Nolboo Budae Jjigae, Myeong Dong | Price: 5,300 Won per person / SGD $6.50

 #2. Korean BBQ

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MEAT!

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BBQ + Makgeoli = love 😀 

MEAT!! Again, Korean dramas. There’s nothing like gossiping around a steaming grill of tender meat and glasses of soju, preferably in winter, because hot food tastes extra good in the cold weather.

Although SG has many places offering good Korean BBQ especially around the Tanjong Pagar, but the prices here in Seoul makes it extra sweet.

Where to go: New Mapo Galmaegi, Hongdae | Price: 16,000 Won per person / SGD $20

We ordered Pork Belly, Pork Shortribs, Beef Shortribs (2 servings), Makgeoli (2 bottles) all for SGD$20 per person! The grill came with a ring of eggy goodness that you could eat with the meat, along all the usual (delicious) sides like kimchi, radish and lettuce. SO GOOD, plus it kinda feels healthy, cause you are eating grilled meat with veggies, right?

I’m still salivating as I think about it #nojoke.

 #3. Ginseng Chicken Soup

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Ginseng Chicken Soup – 16,000 Won

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Ginseng Korean Black Chicken Soup – 23,000 Won

Another must-try is the traditional Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup. The broth is thick and nutritious, with a whole chicken stuffed with glutinous rice. The meat of the chicken is super tender and peels off easily – yum!

Where to eat: Tosokchon Samgyetang, Gyeongbokgung | Price: 16,000 Won / SGD $19.80

Tosokchon is famous for their Ginseng Chicken Soup – the restaurant was packed with both tourists and locals enjoying their meal in a traditional setting. (You sit on the wooden floor with a low table!)

Pricing is very reasonable at 23,000 Won / SGD $28.50 for Tosokchon Ginseng Korean Black Chicken Soup & 16,000 Won / SGD $19.80 for Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken Soup – they give you little shots of Ginseng that you can pour into the soup or drink it up!

#4. Chimaek

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Made popular by the Korean drama – My Love From Another Star, Chimaek stands for Chicken + Beer, a sinful combination! Seoul is full of joints selling Fried Chicken & Oven baked crispy chicken – original and with different seasoning (usually around 15,000 Won, a good portion for 2 people). There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into one of these babies, and washing it down with beer.

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Fresh out of the oven!

Where to eat: Oppadak at Myeong Dong | Price: 15,000 Won / SGD $18.50 for 2 pax serving

Public Service Announcement: Don’t indulge in chimaek right before a shopping spree – it tends to make you talk and walk at a ridiculous speed, and purchase many things on impulse! haha

#5. Tteokbokki + Gimbap (plus live octopus if you dare!) – Traditional-style

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Ahjumma scooping up some Tteokbokki!

It’s such a waste to not experience the traditional Gwangjang Market and see the bustling activities of the locals. Other than seeing a wide range of merchants (selling everything from fabric to snacks, produce and souvenirs) there is a big section of vendors selling local food.

Many of these merchants sell the same thing – Mung Bean pancakes, Tteokbokki, Gimbap, blood sausage, beancurd skins & live octopus (in tiny tanks, ughhh!).

Take a seat at any of these and be served by an Ahjumma ladling fresh hot food onto a plate!

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So good!!

Where to eat: Gwangjang Market | Price: 10,000 Won / SGD $12.30 for a combination of Tteokbokki, Gimbap & Beancurd skin + a bottle of Makgeoli.

#6. O’sulloc Tea House 

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Hojicha Bingsu!

O’sulluc has many branches throughout Seoul and Jeju Island – it specializes in Green Tea drinks, dessert and products. J had actually tried the outlet at Jeju and raved about it, so we stopped by mid-afternoon for some dessert to cool off!

Must-try: Hojicha Bingsu – super refreshing and light, topped with a scoop of Hojicha Ice Cream! I’ve always preferred Hojicha to Matcha, somehow it tastes more roasted and less sweet to me, which made this Bingsu perfect for the hot afternoon. For matcha lovers, try their Green Tea O Fredo, 7,000 Won (Green Tea shake topped with green tea ice cream)  – it’s really rich but delicious!

Where to eat: O’sulloc Tea House | Price: 34,000 Won / SGD $42 for Hojicha Bingsu, 2 special iced teas, Matcha roll & Green Tea O Fredo!

#7. Handmade Knife Noodles

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Spicy Handmade Noodles

Another specialty in this city is Handmade Korean Knife Noodles. The noodles are very delicate and thin, not chewy or heavy like others. When we visited this place, it was full of locals during the lunchtime crowd – not many tourists at all.

The portion sizes were big in my opinion, but the locals did not have a problem cleaning off the bowl! The light noodles contrasted well with the thick broth. My personal pick is the Spicy Handmade Noodles.

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Noodles in White Bean Broth

S had the special Noodles in White Bean Broth – which was served cold. The broth tasted like soya bean milk, but thicker, and the dish was actually delicious. She loved how easy it was to eat (not getting too “gelat”) although I was more conservative, preferring noodles in hot broth!

Where: Gangnamgyoja, Myeong Dong | Price: 8,000 Won per bowl / SGD $9.90

#8. Fusion Jjampong

Jjampong – Korean spicy noodle soup flavoured with seafood and gochugaru.

This is not usually on the lists of “Korean food to try” but it was SO GOOD! This was our super-cheat meal of the trip, but no regrets ok?

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Ro-pong

Nipong Naepong serves fusion jjampong and pizza – a popular hit among the younger crowd. We ordered the Ro-pong and the signature sweet potato pizza. The Ro-pong was a bowl of noodles with a roe + tomato cream sauce, topped with a mountain of cheese. The result was a tasty, umami, gooey spoonful of noodles, which leaves you wanting more.

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Sweet Potato Pizza

We also loved their sweet potato pizza, which tastes exactly how it sounds – sweet potato and cheese on a thin crust. Although the crust was less crispy than I expected, the pizza was very good.

Where: Nipong Naepong, many outlets in Seoul | Price: 18,800 Won / SGD $23 for a bowl of Ro-pong & Sweet Potato Pizza – big enough to be shared by 3 people!

#9. Random Cafés

Of course, we stopped at many cafes along the way for our coffee fix (ok, I admit that I’m a coffee addict, and my girls had to lead me to cafes when I was running low on caffeine.)

A few notable cafes were Angel-in-us Coffee and Holly’s Coffee – which were all over Seoul.

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Fluff Ball!!

An interesting café was Tia Pol – near the Bukchon Hanok Village. They served Cotton Candy coffee (which was basically cotton candy on top of your coffee lol!)

I liked their Cotton Candy, which was not as sweet than the usual Pasar Malam ones in Singapore, and ended up putting most of it into my Americano to sweeten it up – hey, it works!

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So instagrammable

Where: Tia Pol, Bukchon Street | Price: 5,000 Won / SGD $6.20

Another café was at the new Common Ground shopping “mall” in containers. Don’t forget to take your #ootd in front of the iconic blue containers haha!

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My attempt at an #ootd LOL!

Although most of the shops there are rather pricey, the café Dore Dore is a good place to chill out, with instagrammable interior, lots of natural lighting and pretty cakes. We had such a hard time choosing between the Rainbow Cake and the Tiramisu – and went for tiramisu instead!

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Really good cake!

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Galaxy Nails done at 3D Nails (Jurong East) #obsessed

Where: Dore Dore Cafe at Common Ground, Gwangjin-gu | Price: 25,000 Won for a Vanilla Latte, Hot Cocoa, Tea & Tiramisu cake! #nofilterneeded

#10. Tea Egg + Sweet Rice Drink @ Jjimjilbang

Jjimjilbang – Korean public bathhouse

Last of all, how could you not have an authentic Korean experience at the Jjimjilbang? It’s something everyone should try at least once.

There are quite a few sauna rooms at different temperatures for you to try out like the Ice Room (this one no joke, too cold), Salt Room (around 40-50 degrees celcius) and Jade Room (above 60 degrees I think, also no joke!). Other than that, there are different floors for exercise, entertainment (watch TV), rest and more!

We partook in the Jjimjilbang ritual we saw on Korean dramas – cracking a tea egg on your forehead and drinking cold sweet rice drinks! On hindsight, those tea eggs were not that easy to crack (ouch, painful man!!) but still good to eat. Oh, we also googled how to tie the towels on our heads and walked around like stupid tourists!

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Success!

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Dat egg tho

Other than an ahjumma letting out some potent gas next to us (we ran), it was an amazing experience.

Where to go: Siloam Sauna, Seoul Station | Price: 15,000 Won / SGD $18.50 for entry & about 3,000 Won /SGD $3.70 for food/drinks

Have you tried everything on this list? If not, you should be planning your next trip back to Seoul! Btw, shopping burns calories, so you’re good! 

Hope you guys liked it, spread the love and share!

XOXO

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Mandatory Tourist Shot #basic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seoul Station Airbnb – Perfect For Seoul-Searching below $150 (Must-Go!)

Sweet Studio @ Seoul Station (click link)

First time on Airbnb? Get $40 credit!

Date of visit: September 2016

Perfect for : 3 -4 pax

Seoul was a very impromptu trip for my girls and I, having decided and planned only a couple of weeks in advance. Air tickets were pricey at $800+ (Korean Airlines) due to last minute booking, and we could not spare too much time for accommodation research, in case everywhere would be booked out!

That being said, it was my FIRST time in Seoul and I’ve been watching Running Man and various K-dramas enough to be a little giddy over it, sarang-hae!

Hotels.com provided quite a few options, however as we had 3 pax, the comfortable places were quite pricey, at least $190/night. 5 nights would be a huge dent for us, less moolah for shopping yo!

With this thought, we turned to Airbnb in search for that perfect Korean, K-drama-worthy place. Although we found quite a few places, we eventually decided on this one because of the pictures (superficial, I know), location, and most importantly, reviews!

(Photos from Airbnb, sorry they are a little blurry!)

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Spacious Apartment

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Access to Gym

Of course, anything can look good on website pictures, so let me share more about the place (and some of my own pictures too!)

LOCATION

One of the main points we picked this place for – convenience. It is located super close to Seoul Station – which is pretty much close to anywhere. We travelled to Myeong Dong, Gangnam, Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Bukchon Hanok Village relatively quickly!

There is also an underpass straight to the train station, so when you are travelling back to the airport, you don’t have to lug your things across the road, or when you are returning back at night and don’t feel too safe on the streets!

There is also a cafe right at the bottom of the building, and a convenience store for all your necessities. Oh ya, Gong Cha too, for you Bubble-Tea addicts.

Did I mention that it was walking distance to Lotte Mart? Brownies/Ramyeon/Foooooddd!

The only con was that there seemed to be quite a few sketchy people who were probably homeless, lurking around on the streets nearby. However, they are non-invasive and mostly kept to themselves, and did not even approach us. Overall, I felt really safe there, even though we came back late most of the time.

FOOD

There’s definitely plenty of food nearby (other than the cafe and the convenience store).

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Don’t forget to get your Banana Milk fix from the convenience store!

(Accessories from Statelight.co)

Across the building, there are a number of eateries that open late – all serving delicious Korean fare.

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Our first day’s dinner!

Food is tasty and suppppper affordable – this Buddae-tchigae for 2 and another Soy Bean Stew plus Soju costing less that SGD $10 per person!

Along that street, there’s also foodstands with Ahjummas selling street snacks like sweet potatoes and sausages, as well as a fried chicken joint – for those of you who love jjimae (chicken + beer).

ROOMS

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Our Room!

Our room was spacious and tastefully decorated, with 2 double beds that were comfy! Honestly, I had no problem falling asleep every night. 😀

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Facilities

Just as the listing described, this room was fully equipped with

  • Fridge stocked with drinks (you put 500 Won into the piggy bank for each one)
  • Microwave
  • Washer (the host provides washing powder too!)
  • Stove + cooking equipment
  • Sink
  • Kettle
  • Hair Dryer
  • Cups + Cutlery
  • Wifi Egg (for you to bring around)

In addition, the bathroom was clean and nice, with towels provided too!

I would have loved to check out the gym, but I was wayyyy too tired everyday, besides, I think I burned enough calories walking around those shops lol.

Lastly, this view.

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The Life.

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Gorgeous View

HOSTS

Hosts can usually make or break your experience, and we were fortunate to have good hosts. They made sure we had directions from the airport, and checked in almost everyday!

Whenever we had questions (from how do we get to the airport to where did you get that pretty rug?) they were prompt to reply with very detailed answers. That’s good enough for me.

PRICE

Inclusive of the cleaning & service fee, and a $40 discount I got from airbnb referral, the total cost was SGD $721 for 5 nights, which came down to $144 per night! Totally worth it, in my opinion.

CONCLUSION

Heading to Seoul? If you are not a fan of guesthouses and want something more comfortable and plushy (but don’t want to splurge on a pricey hotel #storyofmylife), this is a place you should look at!

I really love the homey, apartment vibe that makes me feel like I’m actually in Seoul, and living like them, instead of a foreigner stuck in a hotel.

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Brb, Seoul-Searching

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Peace Out!

Hope you liked this piece, stay tuned to more posts on Seoul (what to eat, where to go!)

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