Seoul: Food fiesta

Aug 8, 2016 by

Notes on our trip in Seoul can be seen here and shopping in Seoul can be read here


Gosh.. I’m hungry now just thinking about writing this note. It’s 22.34 and such a perfect time to nibble before sleep. Hahaha. We came to Seoul with a handful restaurants list that we wanted to try. Yet we didn’t manage to visit all of them simply because we’re too tired to walk the distance. One restaurant we didn’t manage to try was Tosokchon, famous for its samgyetang. I have to be honest that I’m still regretting our my decision not to go back to the area.


Most of the time we dined at whichever food court / restaurant we saw interesting. By interesting I mean a nearly full house / the number of people queueing if it’s at a food court. Even we had a stroller with us, we were up for the adventure by going to small restaurants where we had to leave our stroller outside. Lol. All for the sake of food. We also didn’t bother to check for a high chair as somehow Nathan was eating well most of the time. He sat on my lap and ate in a good manner. That well that he didn’t spoil his bib. Traveling magic?


Disclaimer: I’m not a food blogger so I don’t have names for most of this restaurants. I also don’t have the exact address for most of them and decent photos. Most of the times we’re so hungry that we forget to take a photo. Walking makes you hungry indeed…


Hadongkwan (link here)

Myeongdong area

Upon entering this restaurant, you’ll be asked to choose from 4 dishes. Actually one dish with 4 filling (price) variations. Regular beef soup, special, extra special and extra extra special. Ok, I made those up but it was something along that line. We ordered the cheapest beef soup and the one above it to see what’s different. Apparently the regular (cheapest) beef soup only has meat and the slightly more expensive has other parts.


Hadongkwan Beef Soup

Hadongkwan Beef Soup


This was one of the best dishes we had in Seoul. The beef soup was so clear yet flavoursome. Nathan loved eating this and was so upset when I took his bowl for top up. One tip, go for breakfast because it’s open early morning until late afternoon. And because it’s nice to fill up with a warm dish for a busy shopping day.



Myeongdong Kyoja

Similar to Hadongkwan, Myeongdong Kyoja only has 4 dishes. Handcut noodle in soup, noodle in soya soup, noodle with spicy sauce and mandu (dumplings). We both love noodles so we opted for 2 bowls of handcut noodles and a portion of mandu. I would love to try the spicy noodle but as I had to share with Nathan, it wasn’t an option. Next time I will!


Myeongdong Kyoja

Myeongdong Kyoja


It was so good!! Seriously, all the soup dishes we had in Seoul was really good. It’s always tasty but not over the top. I initially thought that the portion was too big but I actually wanted to have a second bowl if they can serve half portion. Haha. We came in around 7.30pm and it was full throughout. But people eat and leave so don’t be afraid just show up and dine.


Myeongdong Kyoja. Last meal in Seoul

Myeongdong Kyoja, last meal in Seoul


The tiny restaurant behind Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

We met up with Phodi’s colleague, Jun and his lovely family for a Saturday lunch. We said we wanted something authentically Korean. They brought us to this TINY restaurant behind MMCA, near the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was TINY TINY. The restaurant only fit 12 people max. 2 on bar stools with street view + 10 on long table tatami style. The entrance of the restaurant is straight to the kitchen and on the left side are the 2 stools and the tatami area.


tiny restaurant behind MMCA Seoul

tiny restaurant behind MMCA Seoul


half of the restaurant. On the right side (same width) is the kitchen

half of the restaurant. On the right side (same width) is the kitchen


Jun ordered for us some Kimbap (spicy and regular) and 2 bowl of soups. Nathan who just woke up from 1+ hour nap in the park enjoyed his lunch. He loves nori so Kimbap became our go-to food/snack for Nathan during our trip.


with Jun and his lovely family

with Jun and his lovely family


Noryangjin Fish Market

We had a dinner date here with our Melbourne friend, Icasia, who’s currently studying language in Seoul. Ica said none of her friends are interested to go so (hopefully) she’s happy that we asked here to bring us here. We’re lucky that the market has moved to a new building. The old building, located in front of the new one, was definitely not appealing.

They moved in February 2016 and it definitely felt new. Yet it’s a fish market so expect wet floors. The smell, on the other hand, was ok. Just be ready for water splashes as the sellers like to show off their sales. I had mini heart attack when a seller suddenly pull a lobster out of the aquarium and almost drench our stroller. Luckily Nathan was asleep in Ergo. Also be aware with fish killing that might happen. They will take out your fish, put it on a scale, if it’s ok, they’ll hammered the fish’s head and chop chop. Ouch.


Noryangjin fish market

Lots of fishes, jumbo crabs, lobsters, various clams, abalone (crazy cheap!!), and lots more seafood that we didn’t recognise. Too bad we had language barriers that we couldn’t ask for more information. Sea urchin (uni) was very popular and thus, cheap. I think it was ₩10,000 (A$ 11) for 4. I remember eating one in Melbourne and it was almost tripled in price.

Noryangjin fish market Seoul

On stalls with sashimi service, you choose your fish, choose the serving size and they’ll prepare your sashimi right here and now. Otherwise, you can bring your seafood to one of the restaurants upstairs. More likely you’ll be approached by a staff who will help you to choose and bargain. That’s our guy in the middle. He speaks 4/5 languages, definitely to cater tourists like us.

Noryangjin fish market

Once you find your seller, choose your seafood and bargain. Can’t bargain too much though as their price is competitive anyway. Then the restaurant guy will lead you to his restaurant and explain the pricing scheme. Our was free for sashimi, ₩5,000 for steam / boil / grill and ₩3,000 charge per head for plates. Silly us for not asking these beforehand. Like what could we do now that our seafood’s in his hands??

thank you Ica!

dinner with Ica! – suspicious baby who just woke up

We came here with one particular mission: eating octopus sashimi. When I was 12, my dad went to Seoul for the first time and he told me of how he ate octopus sashimi. Too bad I couldn’t try it as I’m pregnant. Ica and Phodi tried it and here’s their reaction:

TBH I’m glad that I didn’t have to try it. Those tentacles look like worms! Yuck. But Phodi and Ica said that it wasn’t that special apart from fighting to get them away from the chopsticks. Oh well… at least they’ve tried it.

Korean BBQ

When in Korea, eat Korean BBQ for sure!! What surprised us is the fact that we were not allowed to mix pork and beef on the same grill. Here in Indonesia (and also in Australia), we could mix everything on the grill. Beef, pork, chicken, seafood, whatever. The waitresses were equally surprised when we asked why. It was like us asking why the sun rises from the east. LOL.

Our first Korean BBQ was in the lively Jongno-Gu. After we walked along the Cheonggyecheon Stream, we found a hype alleys area in Jongno-Gu and randomly chose a restaurant. Busy, packed with locals, pictures on menu… all good. So there we had our first Korean BBQ in Seoul. We accidentally burnt our pork belly and the ahjuma exchanged it with the new one. After a long and deep sigh that is. Sorry!!


Namdaemun Noodle Alley

I’ve mentioned the alley here. It’s really just an alley with noodle stalls on its sides. Pick your stall, order and start eating. It’s either noodles or bibimbap. Easy peasy!

namdaemun noodle alley

feel free to ask for extras

making hand cut noodle

making hand cut noodle

Lotte Foodcourt

We didn’t have time to eat in (who wants to cook anyway!!) but looking at this fresh produce at Lotte Supermarket was satisfying. And they sold a whole box of uni for A$10 / Rp. 100.000. WANT!! (But can’t)




And saying bye-bye to this…

lotte mart sushi

So we settled with tamago nigiri and strawberries!!! Korean sweet strawberries which Nathan looooove.

lotte mart seoul

and on other day, some Bibimbap and mandu for dinner.

lotte mart seoul

lotte mart seoul

close up look

Korean Fried Chicken

With all the craze about Korean fried chicken, we wanted to try what the locals have. After our walk along the Hangang River, we found this busy bar-like stall that only sells fried chicken. Thanks to the help of a friendly local, she ordered us a non-spicy box which turned out to be spicy. Poor Nathan for he only ate pickled raddish, bread and small sausage for the night (bad mom alert). Luckily he was entertained by the colourful Banpo Bridge view outside.

korean fried chicken

A Japanese cafe in Insadong with only 3 items on the menu

restaurant in insadong seoul

What to do when a cafe only have 3 items on its menu list? You order all! A pork cutlet curry, cold soba and a salad. The cafe was lovely too with lots of air and lights coming in. We enjoyed it.


We love Seoul!! Thank you for the delicious food, the lovely weather and for showing us that technology and culture can live side by side. I was truly mesmerized each time I stood in an ancient site and seeing high rises buildings in the background. And even more amazed when I saw young people wearing hanbok freely on the streets. Things that never happened in Indonesia during ordinary days. Thank you for reminding me to be proud of my own culture.

hanbok in Korea

surrounded by Korean girls in their hanbok

And as for Nathan, we loved seeing him exploring each day. Not wasting a day without outings to the park where he ran or just playing with sand. We noticed that he was replicating the activities he did at home. For example, he was moving the sand from his side to over the rope fence. He was so into it that 2 brothers came over and curiously watching then following him. Hahaha. Their mom was looking at us like “WHAT IS YOUR KID DOING?!!!” but we’re happy that he could create a game on his own.

the world is a playground

the world is a playground


Until next time, Seoul! We’ll be back.


bye Seoul!

airport shot – bye Seoul!

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