Category Archives: Seoul

[Seoul, Korea] Sinseon Seolnongtang 神仙雪濃湯

Apparently this is a a popular seolnongtang chain, and I happened to drop in on the Sinchon location.  There is also a branch in Myeongdong.

Directions:  Line 2 to Sinchon Station, exit 3.  Walk straight for 200 meters, then make a right at the big intersection.  Walk for about 100 meters, and the restaurant will be on your right

Hours:  open 24 hours!!!

More info from the Korea Tourism Site:  http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1364777

 

I kind of stumbled into this restaurant by accident.  I was walking around Ewha Womans Univ and Sinchon area one evening, and didn’t know what I should eat for dinner.  This place was brightly lit and full of people, so I figured it must be pretty good.  Service was really quick and friendly.  I guess this was also one of the locations where they filmed Shining Inheritance — there were pictures of the cast and from the drama along the walls!  The seolnongtang was really good, I definitely recommend it!

 

I sat by the bar facing the window, and the menu was right on the window. In multiple languages too!  For a few of the soups, you can choose between regular or the large size.

 

Each table has 3 tubs of different side dishes, so help yourself!  This is the spicy pickled radish.  Juicy, crunchy and with a bit of a kick.  Mmmm…

 

Kimchi – there are scissors so that you can cut it into smaller sizes.  This is the regular kimchi.

 

There’s also the whole kimchi, which is less fermented.  Both are great accompaniments to the soup!

 

The seolnontang!  It’s Australian ox bone soup with brisket.  The soup is pretty flavorful, so I didn’t add too much seasoning.  It’s a richer soup than the one in LA at Han Bat Sul Lung Tang.  The soup comes with a bowl of Korean rice.  The beef brisket was soft and full of the ox bone soup flavor.  A really great and simple meal for a cold day!  I ordered the regular size, which is already a pretty big portion, so can’t imagine how big a large one must be! W7,000 (around USD $7).

[Seoul, Korea] Jeonju Joongang Hweguan 全州中央會館

Address: Jung-gu Chungmuro-1-ga 24-11 (중구 충무로 1가 24-11); +82 776 5889

Hours:  8:30am — 10:30pm

Directions:  Line 4 to Myeongdong station, Exit 6. Turn left and make a left at the first street you come to.  Keep walking, for about 3 minutes and you’ll see a Uniqlo store.  The restaurant is in an alley next to Uniqlo.  Usually there’s also an old man (dressed in a white robe with a straw cone hat) standing in front of the alley, holding a large banner for restaurant.

 

Review from CNN Travel: http://travel.cnn.com/seoul/eat/seouls-5-best-bibimbap-880232

 

This restaurant was mentioned in all of my travel books, not to mention countless food blogs and even CNN Travel, so I knew I had to make a stop here for the bibimbap.  This place calls itself the origin of the dolsot bibimbap (bibimbap in a hot stone pot), have been around for 50 years, and offers a large menu including samgyetang and various barbecue dishes.  Great place to stop for lunch or dinner (or even breakfast!) when you are tired from shopping in Myeongdong.  🙂

 

Entrance to the restaurant

 

The side dishes are simple but really good (from top left going clockwise): there’s the usual kimchi, pickled radish, spicy squid, seasoned mushroom sprouts.  I loved the spicy squid!

 

Complementary soup also came with the meal:  it was a spicy bean sprout miso soup.  Mmmm!

 

Every review I read about recommended the original dolsot bibimbap, so that’s what I ordered.  It comes with an assortment of veggies and a bit of galbi (barbecued beef).  Add the spicy red sauce, then mix everything!  For those of you who like a little pan-crust to your bimbimbap, wait a few minutes before you start eating.  Be careful, the pot is very hot!  Portions are pretty generous.  W10K (around USD $10)

This bibimbap gives off such a great aroma when it arrives at the table – I think it’s because they add sesame oil to the bibimbap.  The texture and flavors are both great. Like CNN Travel mentions, it is a little sweeter, at least compared to the ones I’ve had in LA.

Enjoy!

[Seoul, Korea] Tobang 土房

Address:  Seoul-si Jongno-gu Gwanhun-dong 73-1

Directions:  Line 3, Anguk station, exit 6.  Go straight about 100 meters, then left turn into the Insadong main street (Insadong-gil).  Walk around 120 meters, and the restaurant will be on your left side.  About a 7 minute walk from exit 6.

You can read more about the restaurant at the Korea Tourism site.

 

I was shopping around Insadong and needed to find a place to eat.  So I flipped open one of my travel books and found this place.  It’s very easy to find, amongst all of the souvenir shops on the main Insadong street.  The restaurant itself is pretty small, but service was really fast.  Tobang serves great traditional Korean food, including many different stews (kimchi, dried pollack, doenjang, etc).   Take off your shoes before being seated on the floor cushions!

 

The simple (and yes, multi-lingual) menu.  Prices are really reasonable.  I think the kimchi jiggae is the most popular dish here – saw a lot of people eating that.

 

The side dishes were all really good – there’s the usual kimchi, seaweed salad, marinated mushrooms.  There was even marinated raw crab!  The crab meat was sweet and succulent, while balanced by the hot spices.  Yummy!  You can ask for free refills on the side dishes and rice (except for the marinated raw crab).

 

My doenjang jiggae (aka Korean miso stew) came boiling hot.  It was a tad spicy (there was a lot of jalapenos in the soup), but really hit the spot on a cold day.  The stew had tofu and vegetables.  Only W5,500  (US $5.50)

[Seoul, Korea] Gyeongbokgung BBQ 景福宮韓式烤肉

Mareunnae-ro 88-5, Seoul, Korea

서울시 중구 저동2가 88-5

Open hours:10am-4pm,5pm-10pm

Directions:  Line 4 to Myeongdong station, Exit 6. Turn left and keep walking until you see Myeongdong Theater at your left corner, then turn right at that street.  Keep walking, past Myeongdong Cathedral and a big street.  The restaurant will be on your right.  About a 15 minute walk from exit 6.

Map:

 

Don’t be fooled by the name of the restaurant – it’s actually located in Myeongdong which is not close by Gyeongbokgung Palace.  This restaurant is quite popular with tourists, I read so many reviews before I went there, but wasn’t expecting much since I’ve had my share of Korean BBQ in LA.  This place is well known for its Korean beef (hanu) but also has other meats like pork, chicken etc.  The quality of the meat is actually really good, I highly recommend it if you’re in Myeongdong.

 

Outside of the restaurant

 

The menu is in multiple languages and will indicate the price per portion.  I ordered the Korean rib-eye, which was W 38K for a 1 person portion (approx US $38).  Hanu is pretty expensive so expect to shell out $$ wherever you go.

 

The 1 person portion comes in 2 steaks.  The marbling is so nice on the meat!  It was melt in the mouth goodness!!!  The server grilled it to just medium on the meat, still a little pink in the middle, perfect!

 

Real coal is used for the grill.  The server will grill and cut up the meats for you, no work needed on your part except to eat!

 

So many side dishes come with the bbq… they were all yum!

 

More side dishes, including the steamed egg and kimchi jiggae (stew).  The kimchi jiggae was really good!

 

Kimchi pancake also came as a side dish.  It was crispy, not too spicy and had tons of kimchi flavor.  Mmmm…

 

What also sets this restaurant apart is the amount and variety of veggies they provide, to wrap up your grilled meats with – there was the regular lettuce, shiso leaf, wasabi leaf, and other leafy greens.  All of them went really well with the grilled meat.

 

The meal ends with a cup of refreshing ice plum tea!

 

Coupon: there is a coupon available on this Japanese website http://www.seoulnavi.com/food/905.  I used it and it works!  10% off on beef and 5% off on pork.

[Seoul, Korea] Tosokchon Samgyetang 土俗村蔘雞湯

Chebu-dong 85-1 Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea

 

Directions:  Line 3 to Gyeongbokgung station, Exit 2.  Walk straight for 100m from Exit 2, turn left at the GS25 convenience store and it’s on your left.  Alternatively, if you’re coming from Gyeongbokgung Palace, once you exit Gwanghwamun, turn right, walk straight (past Exit 2 of Gyeongbokgung station), turn left at the GS25 and the restaurant will be on your left.

 

Samgyetang is a whole chicken soup, stuffed with ginseng and sticky rice.  This was the best one I’ve ever had.  The restaurant seemed small from the outside, but inside, it’s like a village!  It was converted from a traditional Korean house (a hanok) and so busy with customers.  But, service was really fast.  And it gets crowded, so be prepared for a wait.  Seating can also be a bit crowded, so you might be rubbing elbows with your neighbors.

 

 

Outside of the restaurant

 

Once you’ve indicated the number in your party, you’ll be led to a dining area (there are several).  Take off your shoes before entering the dining area!  Seating is on the floor (with cushions).

 

The side dishes are self-serve, at every table, so grab as much as you’d like.  The pickled radish was soo good!  It wasn’t spicy…just a bit of a kick, with some sweetness and lots of crunchiness!  So addicting…

 

And of course there’s kimchi. Nom nom nom…  After you order, the waitress will hand you a badge with a number.  Once you’re done eating, take the badge to the counter to pay.

 

The menu is simple, just 4 different types of the samgyetang – which either has different kind of ginseng or chicken.  Based on the reviews I’ve read from before, everyone recommended the original samgyetang, which is the second choice on the menu, so that’s the one I went with.  W15,000 is approximately US $15

 

The samgyetang arrives bubbling hot!  The broth is milky and flavorful.  There’s salt and pepper at the table, if you’d like to season the broth some more.  The chicken itself is so tender, yet still juicy, and just falls off the bone.  The sticky rice stuffing, with dates and chestnut, was perfect with the side dishes.  Awesome meal for a cold day!