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In Korea, there are two notions about food: Eumyangohaeng, the yin-yang and the five elements theory, and Yaksikdongwon, which is similar to Hippocrates’ saying, “Let thy food be thy medicine”.

Eumyangohaeng is combination of two words – Eumyang and Ohaeng. Eumyang, or Yin and Yang, means the balance of light and darkness. Ohaeng, on the other hand, means the five elements of fire, water, tree, metal and earth. All this play of balance between nature and food can easily be seen in the different colors of Korean dishes, with the Korean palette of the colors red, yellow, white, black, and green or blue.


Yaksikdongwon, on the other hand, is based on healthy food that is important for disease prevention.

Various types of fermented food in Korea which are good for your health.

Evolving from its cultural and agricultural histories and its geographical location between China and Japan, Korea’s cuisine is something that the citizens are proud of and is worthy of crossing the international dateline for.

Korean meals always include kimchi, and are “largely based on rice, vegetables, seafood and meat.”

When you order Korean barbecue, it is grilled right in front of you with a tabletop grill, either by the waiter or yourself. It also often comes with banchan (the small side dishes)

Here are some of these foods in our favorite places to eat in Seoul:

1 - Maple Tree House

Website: http://www.mapletreehouse.co.kr/eng/html/main.asp

Locations: Itaewon, Samchon-dong, Gangnam
📍South Korea, 서울특별시 용산구 이태원1동 이태원로27가길 26

What we love:
Although Maple Tree House is greatly known for their barbecue & good quality meats, they also serve great tasting Korean traditional food in modern decor. We ate here twice and loved it both times! We had their Bibimbap, Bulgogi and Soft Tofu Stew the first time and had the Grilled Hanwoo and Jeju Black Pork the second time.

Soft Tofu Stew

Grilling Hanwoo beef. What Kobe beef is to Japan, Hanwoo is to Korea. Check this article as to why Hanwoo beef might be the best beef in the world.

Grilling Black Pork from Jeju. Click this link to find out why this is touted as the Kobe beef of pork.

2-Sanchon (must experience)

Website: http://www.sanchon.com/en/index.php

Location: Insadong
📍2-1 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What we love:
Founded by a former monk who learned how to cook temple foods, this restaurant feels like an oasis in the middle of Insadong.

Apparently, the restaurant’s reputation has dwindled in the past years. It used to be that waiters explained each serving and people would sit on the floors making the whole experience of eating temple food more authentic. Nevertheless, if you haven’t tried anything like this, I would still recommend it for the experience.

Stepping inside the restaurant feels like an invitation to wander a beautiful garden. Traditional Korean snacks and other edibles served at the end of your meal are also available for purchase.
Once you enter, an art gallery will be to your right, while plants all over make you feel that you are entering a temple in the middle of a forest. When we visited, live piano music was also being played.
Before seating, you are to wash your hands in this corner.
We arrived for lunch at 11:30am but were told that they start service at 12 noon. They invited us to go in and wait while having tea. We had the whole place to explore for ourselves!
We went during lunch time and there was only one option on the menu - an assortment of dishes which cost 28,000 krw per person.
What a creative idea to put the menu on the same paper as their New York Times feature.
Soups with assorted dishes
Mushroom kebabs with vegetable pancake and lettuce with rice paper
Finally, the star of the show! Initially, we thought we were going to get hungry after eating here, but you do get full slowly with each serving.
What a refreshing way to end the meal with puffed rice!

3- Yeokjeon Hoegwan

Website: https://www.yukjeon.com/

Location: Mapo
📍47 Tojeong-ro 37-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What we love:

Their Crispy Bulgogi is to die for! We literally braved the rains and floods just to eat here for a second time. You can order the crispy Bulgogi a la carte and get the bigger portion or as a set with soup and rice included. Of course, banchan is always included.

If you want to eat it the traditional way, follow the steps below:

  1. Place a desired amount of bulgogi and raw garlic on top of a sesame leaf
  2. Wrap the leaf around the bulgogi
  3. Dip the wrapped meat in the ssamjang (red paste)
  4. Eat it in one bite and enjoy!

4 - Oh Se Gae Hyung

Website: http://www.go5.co.kr/default/

Location: Insadong
📍14-5 Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What we love:
Located in Insadong, the adventure starts in getting lost in the charming alleys to get here. Their food is ah-mazing and you might just turn vegan once you eat there. Oh Se Gae Hyung is a traditional restaurant where you dine while sitting on the floor. I had the bibimbap all three times we ate here!

One of the charms of Insadong is getting lost in its alleys.
The restaurant is at the very end of one of the alleys where you see the sign “Vegan Restaurant”.
Being a traditional restaurant, you have to remove your shoes before you enter.
Outside, there’s a collage of all the famous vegans/vegetarians!
They offer an extensive menu so you are spoilt for choices. The Sizzling Rice Soup is sooo good!
One of our favorites on the menu is their crispy fried chicken.
All this food cost $30!

Myeongdong Kyoja

Website: http://m.mdkj.co.kr/

Location: According to their website , they only have three locations: two (2) in Myeongdong and (1) in Itaewon.
📍29 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What we love:
We had the Kalguksu and the steamed mandu for lunch. They were sooo good!

The restaurant has only 4 items on their menu. The Myeongdong branch opens at 10:30am but when we arrived at 10:35, upstairs seating was already almost full and there was a long line that formed after us.

This is a big bowl but if you’re having this for brunch and splitting the mandu with another person, I think you should have a bowl each. Cici almost finished it all for himself! Cost: 10,000krw (Photo from their website)
These steamed dumplings are huge & juicy. Cost: 11,000krw (Photo from their website)
These are cold noodles perfect for a very hot day. Very refreshing! (Photo from their website)
These are also cold noodles but this one is spicy. (Photo from their website)
There’s always a queue during peak hours of lunch and dinner time.

These are our favorite places to eat during our 2 weeks stay in Seoul. We tried a lot of restaurants in various neighborhoods but these stood out the most. We hope that we have stimulated your taste buds enough for you to start planning your visit here. And that’s just the top of a long list of reasons why you should be flying to South Korea.







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