Food for the S(e)oul

There is such a wide variety of food that you can try in Seoul that every day is a different gastronomic experience! I thought that I would get bored of the food after more than a week there and would start craving Chinese food, but I was pretty surprised that it didn’t happen! It can get a little tiring on the tastebuds to have such flavourful food every single day though. But the good thing was that we found options to balance out all the delicious food and desserts with these lighter options.

1. Ox Bone Soup

img_2005_zpsela6epphNumber #1 on the list for a lighter food option would be the beef soup from Sinseon Seolnongtang. It’s really popular, with long queues in front of the restaurant during mealtimes, but thankfully the wait isn’t too long. Seolnongtang (7,000 KRW) is an ox-bone stew, and though its first appearance looks bland, it literally grew on me the more I drank it! There’s salt on the side which you can add to taste, but I barely added any in because once I got used to the natural flavour of the soup, it was addictively good with minimal seasoning required. It has been boiled with ox bones for hours, giving it a milky appearance, and a deliciously comforting flavour that is very mild yet remarkably satisfying. I couldn’t quite believe how much I enjoyed it! We also ordered the Sinseon Jjinmandu (6,000 KRW for 5pcs), and they were MASSIVE. The filling was pretty tasty, but we felt there was a tad too much skin, which we ended up abandoning.


Sinseon Seolnongtang
Address: 3-1, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Nearest Metro Station: Myeongdong

2. Beef Soup

img_2203_zpsoawsftufHadongkwan is pretty similar in concept to Seolnongtang, but known for its long history, and perhaps that’s the reason why they can charge a premium for their food as well. The Gomtang cost 12,000 KRW, and a clear soup with rice in it and topped with Korean beef. Like the former, the Gomtang is very light as well, and you can add salt and green onions for additional flavour. I liked how the kimchi served on the side went well with the soup too, so I dumped a serving of it into my bowl as well. The restaurant prides itself on its soup which is made from 100% natural ingredients and being free of artificial additives. Complete your meal with the Hadongkwan barley tea after you’ve finished your soup.

If I had to choose between #1 and #2, I’d pick Seolnongtang for the bigger portion of meat and I liked the soup better! Paying a premium for history’s sake is just not quite my thing, but this is still worth trying if you’ve never had it before!


Address: 12, Myeongdong 9-gil, Jung-gu, Seou
Nearest Metro Station: Myeongdong
Open Mon-Sat 7am-4pm (closes early when ingredients are sold out)

3. Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)

img_0202_zpswembgm6iA Korean traditional dish, and one that is nutritious yet heartwarming, you can’t miss out on trying Ginseng Chicken Soup when you’re in Seoul! And Tosokchon Samgyetang is the place to go if it’s your first time trying this dish. The portion is huge, with chicken that has been boiled till it falls off the bone. I liked how the ginseng taste wasn’t too overpowering, yet it was sufficient to make the soup flavourful.


Tosokchon Samgyetang
Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Nearest Metro Station: Geongbokgung
Open daily 10am-10pm

4. Kalguksu noodles


img_2311_zpsssee1cupProbably the closest we could get to Chinese cuisine, we popped by Myeongdong Kyoja thanks to a friend’s recommendation. It was crowded, and pretty busy, but in a typical Chinese fashion, turnover was quick and service was prompt. We got a seat rather quickly, though to optimise the space, we had to share a table with another couple and were pretty much elbow-to-elbow with them and the table perpendicular to ours. Ordering was a straightforward affair as there are only four items on the menu, and you make payment upon ordering for maximum efficiency. In less than 5 minutes, piping hot bowls of soupy noodles were served up, and we slurped it up greedily. We went for the signature Chopped Noodles (8,000 KRW) which I believe is named after the handmade noodles which are sliced off a huge chunk of dough. It came in a simple chicken broth that has been boiled down for hours, which gave it a lovely, homely flavour. It’s chicken soup for the s(e)oul! Do not leave without trying the Dumplings (10,000 KRW) which is also a popular item, and was stuffed with a generous portion of minced pork.


Myeongdong Kyoja
Address: 29, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (Myeong-dong 2-ga) or
33-4 2-ga, Myeong-dong Jung-gu, Seoul
Nearest Metro Station: Myeongdong

5. Army Stew (Budae-jjigae)


img_9784_zpszuoppdwlNolboo is a chain in Seoul that has outlets all over the city, and specialises in Budae Jjigae. We ordered the original Nolboo Budae Jjigae (20,000KRW for 2pax) which actually comes in a set meal option (for the same price) that includes noodles and a drink. It came packed with ingredients including luncheon meat, sausages, minced meat, mushrooms, lots of veggies, kimchi, korean ramen noodles, rice cakes (ddeokbokki), macaroni and some additional type of noodles. Though the ingredients are simple, this piping hot stew with a fiery kick thanks to the addition of hot pepper paste (gochujang) is such a heart and tummy-warming dish that is best enjoyed in cold weather! For fail-safe budae-jjigae, this a great place to try out!


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