I loveeeeeee Korean food (and food in general). After more than a month in Korea, I’ve had some great food experiences and I would like to recommend some Korean dishes that you should try! Plus of course where you can find these dishes.
Neng Myeon (냉면)
Neng Myeon literally translates to Cold Noodles. It’s not only cold, there’s actually ice shavings in the soup. I know it sounds weird but trust me, in Summer or early Autumn when it’s hot, Neng Myeon is the bomb. If you can take spicy, try out Bibim Neng Myeon (비빔냉면). Personally, I prefer Bibim Neng Myeon over the normal one. The noodles are made out of Buckwheat and the texture is really chewy. TIP: use the scissors provided to cut the noodles before attempting to eat it as it can be difficult to chew if not cut first.
Another TIP: Reduce the amount of Gojuchang (Korean chili paste) that is on top of the Bibim Neng Myeon first before mixing it when you are eating it for the first time. I made a brave decision to mix all of the Gojuchang into my noodles my first time and it almost burned my tongue HAHA. I reduced it to half the next time and honestly, it was still pretty spicy for me.
In Seoul, I would recommend going to Yook Ssam Neng Myeon (육쌈냉면) Restaurant for this dish. It is popular Neng Myeon Chain Store that even celebrities visit their store. In Yook Ssam Neng Myeon, both Neng Myeons come with grilled pork as a side dish which makes the dish even more tasty! The good thing about eating here is that the menu comes in English and the prices are very reasonable. It will cost you around 6,000 won for one bowl of Neng Myeon and a plate of roasted pork. Since its a chain store, you can also find it in most places in Seoul. There is one in Sinchon and one in Myeong Dong if that helps narrow down your search.
Store front photo credit to Gourmetchoice Blog
Jjajangmyeon (짜장면) and Tang Su Yuk (탕수육)
These dishes are Korean Chinese dishes that I think are an amazing combination and should be eaten together. Jjajangmyeon is black bean sauce noodles. It’s a fairly simple dish – just noodles with a ton of black bean sauce and onions in it.
Tang Su Yuk is Korea’s version of Sweet and Sour Pork. Another popular dish that usually accompanies Jjajangmyeon is Jjampong (짬뽕), Korean spicy seafood soup. I prefer Tang Su Yuk though 😉 I’m not really sure why these 3 dishes are usually eaten together but I think it may be because Jjajangmyeon is too bland on its own. Jjajangmyeon with Tang Su Yuk on the other hand is awesomeee!
One of the best place to Jjajangmyeon and Tang Su Yuk, in my opinion, is in Sinchon. The restaurant name is called Bok Sung Gak Chinese Restaurant Club (복성각). The price for a bowl of Jjajangmyeon is 5,000KRW. The smallest portion for Tang Su Yuk is 15,000 KRW and its pretty big. 4 of us shared the Tang Su Yuk dish and we almost could not finish it. So do share it with your friends! The store is located in a small alley behind Sinchon’s main street and may be slightly difficult to find. Here’s the location on Google Maps, hope it helps!
Okay, putting Tonkatsu can be quite debatable as it may be more known as a Japanese dish than a Korean dish. But.. the Koreans have incorporated this dish into their cuisine and I’ve eaten so much Tonkatsu dishes in my 6 weeks in Korea. For those who don’t know, Tonkatsu is a deep fried breaded pork cutlet. There are many variations to the dish so eating it can never really get boring. Sometimes it is served with curry, sometimes with cheese fondue on the side, and other times it’s just a fried dish with plain rice.
The most amazing variation of the dish that I have tried is Cheese Tonkatsu at a hidden place near Jongak Station called Hooni Doni (후니도니). I mean just look at how much cheese is inside the cutlets. One set of the Cheese Tonkatsu with rice costs 8,000 won, very reasonable considering the portion!
Hooni Doni is located in basement 1 of an office building in Jongak called 르메이에르. The building’s location can be found on this map. If you find it hard to locate it, just ask some friendly Koreans in the building and they may be able to point you to the right direction.
Happy food hunting in Seoul! I will post more of my favourite food to eat in another post when I have them! 🙂