Explore, Shop, and Eat at Myeong Dong
Even though Myeong Dong is often labelled as a ‘tourist trap’, my boyfriend and I still very much enjoyed staying next to and shopping at Myeong Dong. Yes it’s touristy. However, it truly has everything you need to get a true Korean shopping experience! Korean beauty products? Check. Face masks? Check. One-size only clothing? Check. Delicious street food? Check.
Myeong Dong is most lively on the weekends and between 11am-7pm. It’s not really a place for night life as most of the vendors close around 10pm. Some notable shops to visit in the Myeong Dong area include: Osulloc Green Tea House (all matcha cafe!), Myeong Dong Kyoja (kalguksu and dumplings), and Marukame Udon.
Go on a Korean Food Tour!
When I was in Seoul, I went on my very first food tour with Korean Food Tours called “The Ultimate Korean BBQ Night Out” and I gotta say, it is an awesome way of meeting other fun travelers and eating delicious local food!
My boyfriend and I were grouped with two other solo travelers, one from the states and one from Australia. We first went to a Mapo-style Korean BBQ that Anthony Bourdain (RIP) was also taken to by Joe. The entire restaurant was filled with only Koreans (no tourists from what I could see), and Joe ordered everything for our table. No Korean language skills? No problem!
If you don’t know how to eat Korean BBQ, don’t worry! They’ve got you covered. On this tour, they taught us how to properly pour our drinks (Koreans are strict on traditions especially around drinking), how to eat and garnish the egg ring around the meat, and how to put the wrap together to make it a flavour bomb!
Just look at that beautiful thick slice of pork belly!
Next on the tour was this hidden Pancake market a couple of blocks away. They have everything pancake from squid to mentaiko to crab.
They also have a HUGE variety of deep fried items that will surely get you salivating (or cringe in fear if you’re on a diet :P).
Joe selected a variety of items for us to try and boy, every item was friggin delicious.
On top of all of these items, you also get to try various kinds of Makegolli (Korean rice wine) and learn about its history! If you are interested in going on this exact tour, here is their Trip Advisor link for more reviews and info. I’d highly recommend it. 🙂
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[ KOREA ] If you're a solo traveller or just want to eat what the locals eat (without knowing their language), I'd recommend checking out a local Food Tour! 🇰🇷🍺 . I went on the Korea Food Tour (hosted by @zenkimchi) as media and had such a fantastic time 🥰 I met new people, went to an extremely local restaurant that I normally wouldn't have been able to go myself, and ate some friggin thick pork belly and Korean savoury pancakes! 🥞🐷 The tour I went to is called "The Ultimate Korean BBQ Night Out" and they bring you to the same resto they brought Anthony Bourdain 👍🙏 #RIP . If anyone is interested, the link to the tour is in my bio! 👈 . 🇰🇷 Catch more Korean food content on my "KOREA" highlights!
Try traditional Korean street food at Gwangjang Market
If you haven’t watched the “Street Food” series from Netflix yet, I’d highly encourage you to watch the “Seoul” episode before you go to Korea! It talks about the Gwangjang Market which is a traditional Korean street food market. They are known for their dukkbokki, soondae, mung bean pancakes, banchans, and ajummas (married aged Korean women) who have been in the business for 50+ years,
I chose a random stall and ordered the Dukbokki (3000 won) and mini gimbap (3000 won).
You can’t leave the Gwanjiang Market without getting soondae/blood sausage (6000 won)! A lot of other vendors try to fill the blood sausage up with tons of vermicelli and not enough blood, which in turn makes the soondae super gel-like and unpleasant. But this vendor is legit. I’d highly recommend getting soondae ONLY in the Gwanjang market.
Try Different Versions of Bingsoo
Bingsoo (shaved ice) is a huge thing in Korea and you’ll often see them promoted at coffee shops. Sulbing is a huge bingsoo company in Korea and we went to two different locations in two days!
It was strawberry season when we were in Korea so EVERYTHING was strawberry flavoured! This one was the fresh strawberry bingsoo with matcha ice-cream. It was absolutely delicious and refreshing. The matcha ice-cream had also great depth of flavour which we loved.
This was the Mango Apple Cheese Bingsoo and we were both super relieved to see that the ‘cheese’ were actually ‘cheesecake’ cubes. 😀 Again, super delicious as always, and perfectly hits the spot after walking around in the heat.
Last but not least is the Matcha Bingsoo from Osulloc Tea House. While it was very heavy in matcha flavour which we love, the ice consistency was not that smooth and it also melted super fast.
All in all, if you’re a fan of sweets, I’d recommend giving bingsoo a try when you’re in Korea.
Go to this All You Can Eat Clam Buffet
When I was researching where to eat in Seoul, I came across Strictly Dumpling’s video on Jogae Changgo. It’s an underground All-you-can-eat CLAM buffet! Not only are you able to grab fresh clams out of the tank and put it straight on your grill, it also comes with unlimited meat, veggies, and other side dishes!
This is a total hole-in-the-wall and there are almost no tourists. All of their menus and instruction sheets are in Korean so I brought my Korean friend here to guide us through the restaurant.
For those of you who don’t speak Korean, get this instruction sheet translated before you go!
OR, I’ll do the heavy lifting for you – here are the basic need-to-knows:
- You will get one plate for seafood, one plate for meat. Don’t switch them up or cross contaminate
- Water is self serve on the side of the restaurant
- Drinks and alcohol are an extra charge
- Fresh clams go on the circular grill, meat and veggies go on the rectangle flat grill
- At the end, bring all your bottles in the plastic basket to the cashier so they can total up your bill
Because this place is underground, there is NO ventilation!! You have to put your clothes and belongings in this blue bag and put THAT inside of your stool.
Here are some random fish cakes, a sausage and rice cake skewer, squid wrapped around a skewer, and last but not least, some octopus chunks.
I had such an amazing time eating all-you-can-eat clams! If you can, try to hit up this place because it is surely not to be missed. For $27 CAD per person, it is a steal!
Happy eating and travelling!