Yoohoo~ Guess who just got back from Seoul (again!)?
Yes yes, yours truly did!
That probably explains why this space’s dead for a little bit – cos I was caught up with work! You know, the usual bit of work that you need to clear before embarking on a guilt-free trip 😀
Just so you know, my average length of trip whenever I go to South Korea is usually at least a week. So unlike my usual trips to South Korea (or Seoul to be exact), I had very little time this time round – I only had four full days. So much to eat, yet so little time!
Okay, now with so little time and a long list of to-eats, what would be the food itinerary be like?
To be honest, I was a biiiiiiiit hesitant on whether I should do up such post because I don’t want everyone to start flocking to my favourite eats!
But aiyaaa ok lor since I often get friends asking me where to go and what to do in Seoul, I can just ask them to check my blog out hehe #sharingiscaring (and I need to gain some karma points too so that I can score tickets to EXO’s concert when they start their next tour huhuhu~)
So here we go! My MUST-EATs when in Seoul!
1) 공릉 닭한마리 (Gongreung Dalkhanmari)
닭 = “Dalk” which means Chicken
한마리 = “Han-ma-ri” which means One
So 공릉 닭한마리 (Gongreung Dalkhanmari) literally translates to 孔陵一只鸡 or Gong3 Ling2 One (whole) Chicken.
There are quite a few Dalkhanmari restaurants out there but Gongreung Dalkhanmari started its business back in early 1990, with its the first store opened in Gongreung-dong, Luyuan District, in the north of Seoul.
The restaurant has two levels; Tatami-style seating on the first, and regular dining tables on the second. Most of the time they will fill up the first level before directing people to the second level.
The restaurant uses a whole chicken to boil with other vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushroom and potatoes.
At first sight, the dish may look plain and unexciting to you, or some people might just think: It’s just chicken and soup what. No it’s not! I assure you, it’s life-changing chicken – It really is!
You cannot judge a book by its cover. I mean, there must be a reason why after almost 30 years later, the restaurant is still highly patronized by the locals, as well as foreigners, yes?
You can dip your chicken into the dipping sauce served individually that is made from chili, garlic and soy sauce seasoned with mustard. Very very yummy!
Some people might also add the sliced vegetable into the dipping sauce for the extra crunchiness, but personally I don’t do that.
Ohhh! You can also order extra portion of ingredients such as potatos, mushrooms or 떡 사리 (Tteok Sa Ri = Rice Cake) according to your own personal preferences, but have to pay lah.
We’ve added an additional portion of rice cake to ours in this pot here!
Of course, if you still find it too bland and no kick, you can always add some chilli paste and garlic, OR pour the entire plate of 배추김치 (Bae Chu Kim Chi = Cabbage Kimchi) served on the side into the pot (like how we always do, except we’d request for MORE kimchi and add em’ all in – the kimchi’s FOC!)
But you might want to avoiding doing it in front of the 이모 (ee-mo = auntie) lurking around unless you’re wishing for an earful from them, because apparently no one else eats like that. Or at least that was what we’ve observed of the other tables. Their pot of broth’s usually clear, unlike ours :p
Need some carbs? No problem, just order some 칼국수 (kal-guk-soo = “knife noodles”) to be added into your pot of chicken!
But as you do so, always remember to leave a little room in your tummy for the final touch to the whole dalkhanmari experience – the 계란죽 (gye-ran-juk= egg porridge)!
Using the remaining broth (the essence!), you can request for the ee-mo to make some porridge out of it.
THIS. IS. DA. BOMB.
I was blown away when I had my first bite. IT WAS SO DARN EFFING GOOD! No seriously, its just rice, egg and seaweed, but I swear I could taste heaven in my mouth.
I kid you not when I said we had this twice within the four days we were in Seoul.
I’ve brought different groups of people (family and friends) there and they all LOVE it! Really! 老少咸宜; suitable for the young and the old. “Safe” dish to feed your elderly parents if you’re travelling with them, especially if they’re not that much of a fan of Korean food.
Oh, and you don’t have to worry about any language barrier because the ee-mo there speaks Mandarin. Just don’t expect them to be polite to you ya? :p
공릉 닭한마리 (Gongreung Dalkhanmari)
Address: 서울 서대문구 연세로2길 77 (Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Yeonse-ro 2 gil 77)
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 11am – 12am
How To Get There: Subway line 2 (green), 신촌역 (Sinchon Station), exit 4.
Keep walking straight until you pass CGV Sinchon Artreon and turn left into the lane just before the Homerun Batting Cages
2) 칼삼겹살 압구정로데오점 (Kal Samgyeopsal Apgujeong Rodeo)
This ain’t no any other ordinary Korean barbecue restaurant!
This one’s been blessed and graced by the almighty Oh Sehun!!!
Translation: 170419 So today Sehunnie came out to eat together with his manager hehe I miss you ㅠ
Even though I just saw you, I’m missing you already TT #sehun
Okok, fangirling aside, but it seems that this barbecue restaurant’s pretty popular amongst the celebrities as well since we were greeted by a great wall of signatures at the entrance.
Amongst them, we saw Sehun’s!
And… SHINee’s Jonghyun ㅠㅠ
We also spotted signatures from other K-pop stars like TVXQ, FT Island, 2AM, 2PM, CN Blue, TWICE, Wanna One, BigBang etc etc.
With the great wall of signatures out there, you’d think that the restaurant would be packed with foreigners (ahem, fangirls) but nope! The diners there were all locals! Me likey!
From what I recall, the restaurant used to serve three different types of samgyeopsal marinated with different seasonings. But it seems that they’re only serving the 칼생삼겹살 (Kal Saeng Samgyeopsal) which I reckon it’s their signature samgyeopsal now.
Which is fine! I mean at least for foreigners who can’t read Korean, you don’t have to fuss too much as to which one to order since there’s only one option out there.
Unlike the other Korean barbecues out there where you usually see them meat marinated with reddish sauce, at Kal Samgyeopsal, they’d only sprinkled erm, rosemary (?) on the meat. That could be why they call it “칼생삼겹살” (Kal Saeng Samgyeopsal). “Kal” meaning knife, I reckon it’s the tool they used when dealing with the meat? And “Saeng” (生) being it raw and closest to its original form without having much marination.
The meat’s so thick but super tender! Every bite oozes with juice, SO SATISFYING!
We also ordered the 열큰칼국수 (Yeol-eun-kal-guk-soo) and 냉면 (Naeng-myeon = cold noodles) to share. Both are super good too!
The thing I really like about having Korean barbecue in Korea besides the atmosphere (everyone’s speaking in Korean!! duh -.-) is that they are usually very generous. The 된장찌개 (Doen-jang-jji-gae = soybean paste stew) is usually served as 서비스 (service, which means FOC) and the 반찬 (ban-chan = side dish) are free-flow.
After ordering a few rounds of alcohol, the total bill still ends up pocket-friendly! Even when we’re in the High SES area like Apgujeong.
So yes, if you want good food or perhaps randomly bump into K-pop stars, go to Kal Samgyeopsal! Who knows, you might really see them in the flesh!
칼삼겹살 압구정로데오점 (Kal Samgyeopsal Apgujeong Rodeo)
Address: 서울 강남구 도산대로51길 41, 신사동 657-21 1층
(Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Dosandae-ro 51 gil 41, Sinsa-dong 657-21 Level 1)
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 5pm – 2am
How To Get There: Subway Bundang Line (Yellow), 압구정로데오역 (Apgujeongrodeo Station), exit 5.
Walk straight for about 93m.
Turn right at Aveda Experience Centre, then continue walking straight for another 145m.
Turn left upon seeing Ministop and continue walking for another 28m.
3) 미쓰족발 홍대본점 (Myth Jokbal Hongdae)
I love love love 족발!
족발 = Jokbal, is a Korean dish consisting of pig’s trotters cooked with soy sauce and spices.
Although 미쓰족발 (Myth Jokbal) has a few outlet, but the one that we frequented the most is the one at Hongdae.
Yep, they have menu in English so you don’t have to worry about not knowing what to order.
You can either dine-in at the restaurant itself or 포장 (po-jang = take-out). But for us, we’d usually do take-out instead, so we can enjoy them in the comfort of our apartment and in our PJs. Also because to us…jokbal is considered food that can only be eaten as supper (diet, what diet?!)
Please take a look at how much effort they put into their packaging for take-outs!
The set also came with 반찬 (ban-chan = side dish) and a salad with black olives, almonds and tangy vinaigrette.
We’d also ordered the 주먹밥 (ju-meok-bap = “ju meok” means “fist” and “bap” means “rice”), which are essentially korean rice balls flavoured with tuna, mayonnaise and seaweed.
Kitchen gloves were also provided so that we can squeeze em’ into mini bite-sized balls. Keke, we had so much fun doing just that!
Jokbal o glorious jokbal~ I can’t emphasize enough, how insanely good, how fatty, juicy, tender it is. Dip them into the sauces that came along, gosh~ I can eat this every day!
And oh, microwave them for ultimate yumminess if you can’t tear into em’ rightaway after reaching your Airbnb apartment!
미쓰족발 홍대본점 (Myth Jokbal Hongdae)
Address: 서울 마포구 어울마당로 123-1, 동교동 164-12
(Seoul, Mapo-gu, Eoulmadang-ro 123-1, Donggyo-dong 164-12)
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 12pm – 4am
How To Get There: Subway Line 2 (Green), 홍대입구역 (Hongik University Station), exit 9.
Turn left upon coming out from the subway exit, walk straight for about 86m.
Turn left to the lane after you’ve passed Etude House and Coffee Brown on your right.
4) 마을식당 홍대서교점 (Saemaeul Sikdang Hongdae)
When one’s in Korea, there is no such thing as too much barbecue!
새마을식당 (Saemaeul Sikdang) is one barbecue restaurant that I really like. Really affordable too. If you’re giving someone a treat in Seoul, do it here! They have quite many outlets in Seoul, including Myeongdong and Gangnam, but the one that I usually go to is the one in Hongdae.
Really really popular amongst the locals and as well as amongst the foreigners. So I’d highly suggest that you go earlier to queue.
I mean, just look at the crowd!
They have English and Chinese menu catered for the foreigners as well. If you’re not sure what to order, just order their signature items! You’ll never go wrong!
The 열탄불고기 (Yeol-tan-bul-go-gi = Spicy marinated meat)
I know this sounds weird, but the 열탄불고기 (Yeol-tan-bul-go-gi) is best to go with a bowl of icy cold 김치말이국수 (kim-chi-mal-ee-guk-soo = Cold noodles with kimchi)! Just scoop a spoonful of the noodles and soup and top if off with a slice of the meat!
Eat it the Korean way :p
Another must-have when you’re at Saemaeul Sikdang is the 7분김치찌개 (7-minute Kim-chi-jji-gae).
This dish comes with rice, so add the kimchi pork to your rice and top it of with some seaweed (you can add as much or as little to your preference), then mix mix mix before sending what-tastes-like-homemade-heaven into your mouth!
God, help~ I’m so hungry now!
If you’re still not satisfied, I’d suggest you try ordering the 소금구이 (So-geum-gu-ee = Salted pork)
Wrap this with lettuce leaves with 쌈 (ssam) dipping sauce, sliced raw garlic and green chili pepper or a little bit of grilled kimchi! Waaaaaaaah~
I need to go back there soon.
새마을식당 홍대본점 (Saemaeul Sikdang Hongdae)
Address: 서울 마포구 어울마당로 144, 서교동 331-18
(Seoul, Mapo-gu, Eoulmadang-ro 144, Donggyo-dong 331-18)
Operating Hours: Opens 24 hours
How To Get There: Subway Line 2 (Green), 홍대입구역 (Hongik University Station), exit 8.
Turn right into the road upon exiting subway exit 8.
Keep going straight and turn left when you see the convenience store CU on your right.
Walk ahead and you should see Saemaeul Sikdang on your right.
5) 창화당 (Chang Hwa Dang)
Okay, I really contemplated for a bit (two days?) before I decided to let you in on this new “hot place” called 익선동 (Ikseon-dong) in Jongno 3-ga.
Ikseon-dong, being one of the oldest neighborhoods in the center of Seoul, is now a newly emerging hot place in Korea as young artists and entrepreneurs began to open businesses like cafes, restaurants, and handicraft shops with unique concepts and designs. You can read up more about Ikseon-dong here.
Take a stroll around Ikseon-dong, you’d definitely see a long queue right outside this restaurant called 창화당 (Chang Hwa Dang).
“창화당 만두 잘하는 집”
Translation: Chang Hwa Dang: Restaurant that makes good dumplings
The restaurant’s open at 11.30am, but believe me, way before its opening, there are already people waiting outside.
They provide take-out service as well!
So you’re supposed to fill out the waiting list with your name and number of pax and proceed to wait in the line in front of the restaurant for the staff to call out your name when it’s finally your turn.
Meanwhile, you can take a look at the menu and decide what to order!
Its a relatively small restaurant, but thankfully the table turnover rate was quite high so we waited for not more than 45 minutes before we got a table.
Talk about creativity – The table top’s made of serving tray!
Here’s what we ordered (from clockwise): 모둠 만두 (Mo-dum Man-du = All kinds of dumplings – basically assorted dumplings), 김치 볶음밥 (Kim-chi-bok-keum-bap), 김치말이국수 (Kim-chi-mal-ee-guk-soo = Cold noodles with kimchi) and 떡볶이 (Tteok-bokk-ee = spicy rice cake)!
The assorted dumplings consists of meat dumpling, kimchi dumpling, prawn dumpling, grilled beef dumpling and capsicum dumpling. Great choice if you want to try all the different types of dumpling they have!
The dumplings were nicely done. Crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside. Ain’t too oily too!
Kimchi Fried Rice was so-so, I thought.
The 김치말이국수 (Kim-chi-mal-ee-guk-soo) was really refreshing though, especially after queuing under the sun.
떡볶이 (Tteok-bokk-ee) wasn’t too spicy too!
Oh, if you are thinking to visit Ikseon-dong, I would suggest you go there for lunch, then walk around the area to explore because most restaurants there closes after lunch at around 2:30 for their break before they’re open for dinner again at around 5.
창화당 익선동 (Chang Hwa Dang Ikseon-dong)
Address: 서울 종로구 수표로28길 23, 익선동 174 1층
(Seoul, Jongno-gu, Supyo-ro 28 gil 23, Ikseon-dong 174 Level 1)
Mon-Fri: 11.30am – 9.30pm break time, 2.30pm – 4pm
Weekends: 11.30am – 9.30pm, no break time
How To Get There:
Subway Line 1 (Dark Blue), Line 3 (Orange), Line 5 (Purple), 종로3가역 (Jongno 3-ga Station), exit 4.
Cross the road to opposite side of the exit 4 where the convenience store CU is located at.
Walk straight and turn right into the walkway when you see 낙원가구 (Nak-Won-Ga-Gu) on your left.
Turn left at the second junction and you should be able to see 창화당 (Chang Hwa Dang).
That’s all for now, I’ll be back for more!