안녕하세요 여러분!~ To go along with my blog post about ten things to do in Seoul, South Korea, I thought I would also write a blog post about ten things to Eat in Seoul, South Korea. The way to my heart is definitely food and there was never a lack of delicious food in Seoul. On every single block, there will be restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores galore! Sometimes looking at the menu and choosing what to eat can be pretty difficult. So hopefully some of these foods will make it on your “food bucket list!”
(1. 빙수 (Korean Shaved Ice Dessert – bing-soo)
- Bingsu is a summertime favorite for Koreans and tourists alike. (It definitely stole my heart!) It is a shaved ice dessert topped with a variety of things: condensed milk, fruit, nuts, cake pieces, chocolate, red bean, and more. I like to describe eating bingsu like eating sweet snow. Though it is shaved ice, it does not resemble the crunchy, hard shaved ice found in the states. It is softer and more flavorful and that is why it is so very delicious!
(2. 돈까스 (Fried Pork Cutlet – ton-ka-seu)
- I believe Donkatsu is originally a Japanese dish, but Korea has created its own version of it. This is such an unhealthy meal but that is what makes it so delicious. Donkatsu is a fried pork cutlet which is usually served plain; however, you can also find some tasty spin-offs like Cheese Donkatsu (치즈 돈까스) and Sweet Potato Donkatsu (고구마돈까스). Donkatsu is usually topped with a gravy sauce of sorts or mayonnaise or both! My favorite place to eat Donkatsu is at Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국). Definitely, try it out!~
(3. 삼겹살 (Korean grilled pork belly – sam-gyup-sal)
- Samgyupsal is fatty pork belly slices that are grilled. It is usually eaten with lettuce (상추), spinach (시금치), garlic (마늘), kimchi (김치), and onions (양파). The leafy vegetables are often used to wrap the meat into a ball. My favorite way to eat samgyupsal is to wrap it with radish (무). Korean barbecue and samgyupsal outside of Korea is delicious but nothing can compare to what you can eat in Korea!
(4. 김밥 (Seaweed rice rolls – gim-bap)
- 김밥 is a really easy (and usually cheap) meal or snack that is very delicious. Kimbap is basically seaweed rice rolls with various ingredients like egg, tuna, ham, cheese, kimchi, carrots, radish, cucumber, and more. It is often compared to sushi rolls except that kimbap is not made with raw fish or seafood. Kimbap Rolls are a quick meal to eat on the go and can be purchased at convenience stores. 삼각김밥 (Triangle Kimbap) is the popular type of kimbap that can be purchased at a convenience store for very cheap. When you are low on cash, want some fresh, healthy food, or need some portable food for a busy lifestyle or picnic, Kimbap Rolls are the way to go!
(5. 국수/면류 (Noodles – gook-soo/myun-ryu)
Noodles are a staple of Korean cuisine and many dishes focus around all types of noodles: buckwheat noodles, wheat flour noodles, and even sweet potato noodles. They fill you up really well and are also super tasty!~ There are so many noodle options in Korea. And you can even get other cultures’ noodles very easily as Korea has a very diverse range of noodle selections: Japanese, Chinese, Italian, etc. Even simple ramen from the convenience store can prove to be delicious– especially if you are hungry. Just make sure to read whether the noodles are spicy or not, you do not want to accidentally take part in the fire noodle challenge XD !!
(6. 치킨 (Fried Chicken- chi-kin)
The combo of Chicken and Beer is a beloved one. The slang for this combo is 치맥 (chi-maek). But besides being a good food to eat whilst drinking, fried chicken is enjoyed by Koreans of all ages. Korea has normal fried chicken like KFC chicken, but Korea also has their own version of fried chicken– and it is delicious. The batter is different and a lot of times, the chicken is covered in pepper flakes to make it spicy. Radish is also often paired with fried chicken to compliment its flavors. The best fried chicken in Korea, hands down, is at 교촌 치킨 (kyo-chon chi-kin). And if you do not like spicy, you can always get the original or honey flavored chickens.
I never really thought about turning waffles and toast into desserts–and that the transformation would end well–before visiting South Korea. But now, if I am being honest, all waffles should be sweet! You can get waffles on the street or in cafes covered with sweet syrups, cinnamon, whipped cream, and chocolate. Toasts also come in a wide variety of flavors and are mostly cafe dishes but you can find some toast vendors on the street.
(8. 떡볶이 (Spicy Rice Cakes – ddeok-bok-ki)
Ddeokbokki is probably one of the most famous dishes of Korea. It is the dish foreigners usually first learn about, and Korea makes sure to advertise it on every travel show and brochure. Ddeokbokki can come in different forms with some being in a liquid based sauce while others are dry. My favorite way to eat ddeokbokki is with ramen. Cheese ddeokbokki is also very tasty~ And you can not have ddeokbokki without fish cakes too!
(9. 버블티 (Bubble Tea – buh-beul-tee)
Bubble tea can be an oddity to Americans who have never tried it, but once you do, your whole life will change. Bubble tea is a tea-based drink with milk and tapioca balls (Though you can see a shop on every block in Korea, this drink was actually created in Taiwan.) In most shops, you can ask to change the amount of sugar and ice in your drink which can really alter the flavor of your drink. It all depends on how much of a sweet tooth you are. And if you say you drink bubble tea, but that you do not eat the pearls… you are a disgrace.
(10. 길거리 음식 (Street Food – gil-geo-ri eum-sik)
The concept of street food can be found in other cities– like New York where you can buy hot dogs for cheap or a nice smoothie. But, there are other places, like Chicago, where street food is not as common as an occurrence. Luckily, Koreans love their street food and there is always lots of it! Especially at night at the most crowded popular places. You can get things ranging from 붕어빵 with red bean or custard to spicy chicken, egg bread, candied strawberries, octopus, 번데기 (silkworm pupae), and ice cream. This type of food is rarely healthy but it can be cheap and a perfect sidekick to a night of shopping.
And that is all I have in store for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading about foods you must try while you are in Korea. I did not want to do too many of the more popular foods– like bibimbap or kimchi–but I had to include some famous ones: ddeokbokki, samgyupsal, and kimbap. I also hope you did not read this at midnight or on an empty stomach… if you did, I am sorry. Book a flight to Korea right now!
- Emma (敏娜）