Food is in abundance in Seoul, and like any other metropolitan cities in the world, offers a large variety of choices from roadside stalls to international brand restaurants. There is only so many days and so many meals, but we should have tried many different food and make some decent recommendations along the way.
In Seoul and probably the whole of Korea, hunger is being fulfilled in small restaurants or cafes where you often see in dramas and movies. Such restaurants offers a variety of choices in terms of local Korean food, which ALWAYS comes with a free flow of appetisers to whet your appetite and ice water. These appetisers seem to be changing from day to day depending on availability, and sometimes depending on how much food you ordered. However the various appetisers change, the Kimchi will always be the star of them all.
Salivating on the variety of appetisers? Koreans consume loads of vegetables everyday and only have meaty meals about once or twice a week on average. Therefore, the Kimchi Jigae (Kimchi Stew) is one of the main dish in Koreans’ daily lives. In fact, we actually spotted a family of 4 sharing a large pot of Kimchi Jigae for dinner. Girls should also take note that the portions of food served can be quite large, and can definitely be shared by 2 person when accompanied by rice. The cheapest dish we saw in Korean restaurants is usually the Bibimbap, which costs about 5000-6000 won. All other famous dishes like your Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) and Beef Stew goes beyond 10000 won per portion. Some shopping malls do offer a slightly cheaper option of food in terms of a food court, where stews are sold in the range of 6500-8000 won.
Enjoying the feast on the eyes and the struggles going on in the stomach? One of Koreans’ all time favourites are meat on the grill. 2PM’s Nichkhun & f(x)’s favourite “Samgyupsal” can be considered something not normally consumed on a normal day for Korean families. However, the meat you get to eat in Korea just tastes better than those you can find in Singapore, as one can eat it just by grilling it and there is not a single lingering taste of the raw pork. 2 portions of Samgyup should be good enough for a party of 3 when accompanied with rice and many appetisers for a normal meal. For our case, we had some Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi Korean Pancake) to go along.
Apart from those above, we have tried some roadside snacks that seem to be everywhere along the streets and cannot possibly resist trying them. My personal favourite remains the french fries hot dog stick (or whatever its called).
These sausages and fishcake sticks seems pretty popular among locals.
Some miscellaneous food that we have eaten throughout the trip, and that of course includes fast food. Do not be fooled by the fried chicken cause it is really not that good.
The varying kinds of food on offer will leave you spoilt for choices. Do also lookout for roasted chestnuts that are sold by the streets as it is really very good.
Kimchi, Seaweeds & Ginseng
Many of you will probably be asked to bring back souvenirs, especially in the form of food items like Kimchi, Seaweed and even Ginseng. We had our fair share of that and will be able to share some 2 cents worth into these areas.
Items like Kimchi are sold in sealed packets and freshly packed in large departmental stores like the Lotte departmental store. We will advise getting those already sealed and packed for slightly longer storage period. Do also note that Kimchi cannot be hand carried onto the plane and must be packed into the luggage. Seaweed is also another thing that can be a good buy since they come in many sizes and flavours. It can be easily found in major departmental stores, and also major tourist areas like Myeongdong. The barbeque flavoured seaweed is a personal favourite, and should be one to try if spotted. In summary, department stores are the best place to make your purchases of snack items to be brought back to your country, as everything is available at one single place.
For people who know nuts about Ginsengs, try going for those that are sold in metal tins. There are various numbers on the tins and the prices also varies with those numbers. The numbers basically indicates the size of the ginseng if what the salesperson said is to be trusted. Ginseng can be bought even at the airport and prices are pretty standard, and are often priced in US Dollars for some reason.
Hope these tips are useful to you, and also the food left you drooling on your computer. Do leave your comments and questions while continuously stalking us for more to come.