Traveling as a foodie is a wonderful experience. Focusing on the food of a specific country gives you an insight into its culture unlike anything else you can experience. Culture and food are synonymous in many countries. Since it is what sustains us, food plays an important role in the representation of any human civilization.
When thinking about food as the focal point of your travel, you should keep a few things in mind. Dietary preferences and allergies should be at the top of the list. Some places will be easier to explore than others, depending on what you like to eat. But don’t knock things until you try them—sometimes food that you would normally never try ends up being your favorite.
If you are a serious foodie, Seoul, South Korea should be on your travel list. You might not have even considered Seoul as a foodie location, or you might be nervous because you’ve heard that they like their food spicy. But push those concerns aside because the truth is that Seoul is the perfect place to get unique and delicious dishes you’ll never forget. Let’s go over the best foodie experiences in Seoul that will convince you this global city should be number one of your food travel list.
The top cultural foodie experience in Seoul is their street food. Seoul is a city unlike any other. You can be walking through rows of skyscrapers and high-end brand stores in the shopping district Myeongdong while munching on traditional Korean tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes) or Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancakes).
The street food is a mixture of old school Korean dishes and more modern snacks (a potato tornado is a must if you’re in Seoul). The best part about this street food culture is you can find it anywhere. There are street food stands in every district of the capital. No matter where you decide to explore in Seoul (or other parts of South Korea for that matter), the street food will be there calling you.
In Seoul, no foodie experience would be complete without stopping by one of their many markets. These are very common in Seoul and can be seen in most districts. Each one has a specific specialization depending on the area. So do a little research beforehand and head over to the market of your choice.
The historic Gwangjang Market cannot be beaten, and it’s one of the top places for things to see & do in Seoul. Gwangjang is a night market with the best street foods, from bibimbap to Korean mung bean pancakes. It’s also famous for the wide selection of traditional Korean textiles, so if a thriving nightlife, historic cultural artifacts, and of course, amazing food are on your list for amazing experiences, Gwangjan is the place to go.
If you’re interested in seafood specifically, Seoul has one of the best fish markets in the world. NorYangJin market has all different types of seafood including prawns, crab, and octopi. This market is open 24 hours a day, but if you’re looking for something particularly cool to watch, come at 3 am. That’s when the daily fish auction happens.
Traditional Korean Food
Korea has a rich food culture that has spanned back centuries. Any foodie would dream of diving into the delicious soups and rice dishes the country has to offer. Nowadays, Korea has tailored its food more towards those who enjoy meat and cheese, but most of their traditional dishes can easily be made vegetarian.
Whether or not you follow a veggie-based diet, Korea has a traditional dish for you. The district called Insadong is best known for its traditional aesthetic and culture. If you’re looking for high-quality bibimbap (rice with mixed veggies and sometimes egg/meat plus gochujang) or japchae (sweet potato noodles, veggies, and sometimes meat), Insadong is the place for you.