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Aug 31, 2010 12:24 PM

Two days solo dining in Seoul

I'll be spending two days (Saturday and Sunday) in Seoul soon, and I'm looking for recommendations of where to dine. I wil be traveling alone, and I'm only interested in Korean food since I only have a few meals. I don't speak Korean, so I will probably need English menus unless a place serves only a single dish.

Can anyone recommend good places to get authentic Korean food. I'm eager to try some street food as well, so markets or street stalls are fine.

I'm embarassed to say that the only dishes I'm familiar with are bi bim bap, kalbi beef, bulgogi and Korean fried chicken. I'd be happy with any of these or other dishes anyone can recommend.



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  1. Lloyd: As long as you can point, you will be able to eat in most places in Seoul.

    Street food is everywhere, but areas with Universities usually have plenty of restaurants and street food stalls. Try the Ewha Womans Univ, Sinchon, Hongik Univ stops on the green subway line, or Hyehwa on the blue line. Gangnam on the greenline also has tons of eating places where you can walk by, see the menu, or see what people are eating and then try a dish.
    If you go to the myongdong area, which is full of street food, shops, and restaurants, there are lots of restaurants for handcut noodles, andong chicken stew, and everything you can imagine. The service people in the area usually speak Japanese and English. I usually go to myongdong for andong chicken stew and xialongbao (Chinese soup dumplings). Unfortunately, I don't even know the names of the restaurants because I go to the same place or just walk around, see which one is crowded, and give it a try. Another fun area to walk around and eat is Insadong. If you head into the alleys within Insadong, there are plenty of authentic Korean restaurants full of Korean people. These might be easier to navigate if you can't read or speak Korean. Or you could just venture into a packed restaurant that you stumble upon throughout the city, point at something someone else is eating and give it a try. That's usually how I go boldly into unfamiliar restaurants and environments.

    Other dishes you may want to try is samgetang (chicken soup), jiajiamiang (noodles with black bean sauce), champon (noodles with spicy seafood), fatty pork belly, spicy tofu soup, spicy chicken stew. Of course, there is also dog soup (haven't tried it and have no interest), blood soup (have tried it and it wasn't to my liking), among others.

    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: lecker

      If you are adventurous enough and are willing to try dog, go for it. I had it in China served on a sizzling platter (fajitas-style), and it was delicious. It was moist and had a rich flavor similar (and arguably, better than) beef.

    2. hi...i agree w/ the samgyetang rec above...the place i went to a lot was called Baekje (sp?) Samgyetang and is centrally located, on a second floor in MyongDong...

      Interested to hear how your trip went...when i was in Seoul, i found it to be a very very difficult city to dine solo seemed to me that the great majority of the restaurants in Seoul would not even consider seating a solo diner, as most had tables mainly for groups...even at a pajeun place, i was told they only seat groups of two or more and was turned away (even though i was starving and offered to order food-for-two)...i can't think of any city in the entire world where i've had this kind of trouble dining solo...(i.e. in Thailand, they might find it odd or sad to see a solo diner since restaurant food is supposed to be social fun, but will happily seat you) was frustrating, esp because i generally found the people in Seoul to be friendly, gregarious, and kind to strangers...

      that's part of the reason i ate so much samgyetang: it's a dish for one, so those places will always seat you...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Simon

        I had some good food in Seoul, but I didn't end up at any traditional restaurants. I was only in town from Saturday morning through late afternoon on Sunday, and my hotel provided breakfast. On Saturday, I stopped at a fried chicken place near one of the palaces. I was wandering around hungry and sort of stumbled onto this place on a street with lots of shops. That night I ate some street food (mandoo an some fried fish) at the night market. On Sunday, I wandered around the outdoor market in Insadong and had some kebabs. I liked what I ate, and avoided all things western, but I don' think I got a true taste of Seoul dining.

        1. re: LloydG

          Cool...sounds like you had fun though :) cheers