Korea is world-renowned for its exquisite cuisine, all eight provinces having their distinct pleasure. If you do not know where to start with trying out Korean food, here is a good guideline. GT invites you to its wonderful selection that you can enjoy within Seoul. Be careful, this might make you tremendously hungry.
Budae jjigae (Spicy Sausage Stew)
▲ Budae Jjigae
Budae jjigae is a food closely associated with Uijeongbu and Songtan. Budae means army and jjigae is a type of soup. It was originated right after the Korean War, when there was a lack of food in Seoul. Out of hunger, people made a stew using sausage and Spam left over from the U.S. military bases. However, over time, it became a popular dish, though we now use high quality ingredients. Overall, the budae jjigaes of Uigeongbu and Songtan have similar tastes. They are both spicy and put ingredients, such as ramen, cheese, and vegetables, which add flavor. However, Songtan’s budae jjigae is less greasy and has a cleaner taste.
Songtan Budae Jjigae Place Seochodong, Seocho District, Gangnam Station Exit 8 Price 7,000 won Contact 02-583-3199
Chungcheong North Province
Olgaengiguk (Marsh Snail Soup)
Olgaengiguk is possibly the most famous food in Chungcheong North Province. Olgaengi is a dialect for marsh snails, and this guk comes alive with a handful of olgaengi in it. Olgaengiguk is similar to soybean stew, with a taste of ocean. It is strangely refreshing and thus, good for hangovers. Olgaengiguk is also known for its effectiveness in digestion and eliminating heavy metals in our bodies. It is even good for people with diabetes or liver problems. With all these merits plus good taste, olgaengiguk is truly a dish straight from home. Enjoy a nice walk around the nearby mountain and go try olgaengiguk.
Chungcheong Province Olgaengi Place Banpodaero 5gil, Seocho District Price 7,000 won Contact 02-523-5222
Gondre-Namul Bap (Gondre Herb with Rice)
▲ Gondre-Namul Bap
Located near Cheonggyesan Station, there is a place where hikers of Cheonggyesan gather to eat after their intense workout. They eat gondre-namul bap, which is a simple but famous dish in Jeongson, Gangwon Province, consisting of white rice and a leafy herb named gondre (cirsium setidens). This traditional dish was made when food was scarce in the country, so people from Jeongson started looking for edible ingredient that is popular for its soft, clean taste and smell. The distinctive herb, along with doenjang jjigae, will be enough to re-energize you and make you feel fresh again.
Gondre-Jip Place Shinwondong, Seocho District Price 7,000 won Contact 02-574-4542
Chungcheong South Province
Byeongcheon Sundae (Byeongcheon styled Korean Sausage)
▲ Byeongcheon Sundae
Byeongcheon sundae is one of Chungcheong South Province’s top delicacies originated from the village of Byeongcheon in Cheonan-si. Byeongcheon sundae has become widely known for 50 years as a pork manufacturing factory came in this area, allowing mass production to be possible. Unlike the original sundae we usually eat, Byeongcheon sundae is special in that it is packed with a mixture of vegetables and seonji (clotted blood from slaughtered cows and pigs) giving it a softer chew. Besides its sundae, Byeongcheon is also famous for its typical sundae soup (sundaeguk) which has a clean yet deep taste as it uses fat-free pig bones.
Byeongcheon Hanbang Tojong Sundae Place Jegidong, Dongdaemun District Price Sundaeguk 6,000 won Byeongcheon Sundae 15,000 won Contact 02-921-5609
Gyeongsang North Province
Andong Jjim Dak (Andong Steamed Chicken)
▲ Andong Jjim Dak
Bongchu Jjim Dak sells the most famous dish representing Andong, Kyeongsang North Province. Traditional cooks have made this in order to correspond to the western fried chicken wave. Andong Jjim Dak is a fusion food of fried chicken and Dak Bokkeumtang (braised chicken). A bite of plain chicken will start as sweet and end as spicy. The combination of the spiciness released from Cheongyang chilis and the sweetness from the soy sauce is just so amazing. The gooey flattened glass noodles are the best friend of the chicken. Don’t stop! A bowl of rice fried with the leftover sauce cannot be missed out on.
Bongchu Jjim Dak Place Anamdong 5ga, Seongbuk District, Anam Station Exit 3 Price 15,000 won for two servings Contact 02-922-6981
Jeolla North Province
Jeonju Kongnamul Gukbap (Bean Sprout Soup with Rice)
▲ Jeonju Kongnamul Gukbap
While most people know Jeonju from its famous bibimbob, this city is also famous for its kongnamul gukbap. Kongnamul, a bean sprout, is a common ingredient in Korean cuisine and is full of vitamin C. Kongnamul grown in Jeonju is regarded as the best in Korea. Koreans commonly eat kongnamul gukbap to recover from a hangover because it contains aspartic acid, which lowers the alcohol concentration. It is also a filling meal, as a ttukbaegi is chock full of steamed rice and bean sprouts. This hot soup, made with anchovy stock and seasoned with green chilies, has a hearty flavor and makes every diner feel fitter and healthier.
Jeonju Kongnaru Kongnamul Gukbap Place Seochodong, Seocho District, Nambuterminal Station Exit 5. Price 6,000 won Contact 02-3474-6443
Gyeongsang South Province
Mil-myeon (Cold Wheat Noodles)
Being one of the local foods distinct to Busan, mil-myeon is a dish with meat broth and noodles made up of flour, potato starch, and sweet potato starch. The most widely accepted origin of mil-myeon is that impoverished refugees during the Korean War obtained the relatively cheap flour instead of buckwheat to cook noodles. There are usually two types of mil-myeon, mul mil-myeon (with soup) and bibim mil-myeon (mixed with red pepper sauce). The chewy noodles with cool broth enable people to feel refreshed after eating. Although mil-myeon is mostly preferred in hot summer, some people also have them in winter to “beat the cold with cold.”
Busan Mil-myeon Place Seokchon-dong, Songpa District Price Mul mil-myeon and Bibim mil-myeon 6,000 won Contact 02-417-8887
Jeolla South Province
Ggomak (Small Oyster)
Jeolla South Province, Bulgyo is renowned for its ggomak. It is relatively smaller than oyster, and closed tight with hard shell. With different seasonings and soft noodles, ggomak presents a gravitational pull as people stretch out for more. Although it is relatively expensive compared to other cuisine, ggomak makes people forget about the price itself. The tenderness of ggomak is not even enough to explain the awe when it actually sits on the tongue. Unlike from clams and oysters, ggomak does not smell so fishy, and this is why it is loved by people regardless of their age. Though expensive, it is worth the risk.
Namdo Pajeon Place Yangjaedong, Seocho District Price 19,000 won Contact 02-8246-9137