Since it was my first time in Seoul, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the foodie scene. One thing I knew for sure: the local Korean food was going to be amazing!! I was really surprised at how inexpensive the food was. You could get a really good fulfilling meal for under $7-8. Since you don’t have to tip and tax is included, what you see on the menu is what you pay. So eating out isn’t that expensive at all (unless you order rounds and rounds of beer and soju, then that’s a different story). I was lucky enough to have two Korean friends to show me around Seoul and take me to some very blog-worthy Korean restaurants. There were times I went to explore by myself and took a chance at random restaurants, and those still turned out really satisfying. You won’t be able to use Yelp there, but you can use Mango Plate and Naver (although it would require you to know some Korean to read through them). Also, the majority of restaurants (even the hole-in-the-wall spots) accepted credit cards unlike the ones in LA and SF! I was so shocked!
1 Cafe AUN: It’s about 4 months old and in a cute alley in Itaewon. It feels very cozy and cute inside. Did I mention how incredible their french toast is?? It’s loaded with many flavors and toppings (banana, blueberry, etc) and mind-blowing. It’s best to get a variety of things and share. Definitely worth coming here for the perfect brunch spot! Thanks for taking me here, Silvia!
2 OUR Bakery: My friend Silvia said that this bakery is so good that celebrities come here all the time. I could see why, their “Dirty Choco” chocolate croissant is to die for! Their tiramisu pastry was amazing too! The coffee is satisfying as well. Highly recommended! Besides, you might spot a celebrity or two while munching on some pastries!
3 The Plate Dessert: My friend Seul asked me if I wanted to go to a dessert place that had pretty desserts, and I was like, “of course!” She took me to The Plate Dessert and she was right, it was one of the most artsy dessert places I’ve ever seen! Not only did they look good, they also tasted amazing! It’s both visually and tastefully incredible!
4 Mapo Mandu: Really great Korean dumplings, supposedly super popular in Seoul that they had to open a second location just a couple of steps away. The prices were very reasonable and there were a lot of good options to cater to your cravings. I really like the pork and curry dumplings! You also gotta try their spicy rice cake (tteokbokki) too!
5 Underyard: It might be tricky to find it, but you can find the cafe in Gangnam-gu near Dosan Park. I had no idea what I was signing myself up for but the moment I had a bite of their Shrimp & Salmon Sandwich, I knew this place was instantly one of my favorites! I had a taste of Silvia’s avocado toast too and it was very impressive! I mean, I can compare it with LA’s avocado toasts and it was legit. They are also known for their coffee too, so be sure to check it out!
6 Thunder: Fresh Chicken & Drink: You have to try the fried chicken places around Dongdaemun area near the DDP! There were like 6-8 fried chicken places alone along Eulji-ro 44-gil and I took a chance at one of them. It was so good that I destroyed an entire plate all by myself!
7 Street Vendors: I say be bold and try out the many street vendors all over Seoul! I had this delicious chicken skewer that you could customize with the many sauce options. This was right across the DDP in front of the aPM/Goodmorning CITY shopping area. There were so many street vendors I wanted to try but didn’t have time for. Did I mention it’s pretty cheap??
8 Cafe Flamingo: Right around the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Samcheongdong, it’s the perfect stop to end your Royal Palace tour with the best carrot cake and coffee! This carrot cake melts in your mouth and loaded with the right sweetness and flavors! The cafe is also really pretty too.
9 Fresh Fish: It’s a hole in a wall that Krys Khloe found in some random alley near Dongdaemun Station. I can’t even find an address for it but here is a Google Map pin. It’s the entrance to the alleyway and you’ll find 8-10 fresh fish vendors that grill many kinds of fish for you. It’s an adventure and worth the exploration!
10 Old School Korean Fried Chicken: It’s located in Itaewon (Google Map pin). The name is in Korean, and it’s pretty much an old-fashioned mom and pop place that serves amazing fried chicken. I’ve never had old school style before, and it definitely tasted differently from all the fried chicken I’ve had. If you want something different and a taste of the old generation fried chicken, you have to visit here!
Hope this was a helpful guide for your next foodie adventure in your Seoul trip! Thanks for stopping by! Special thanks to Krys Khloe, Seul, Silvia, and other local friends that took me around and made my trip memorable!