Because there’s more to Korean food than barbeque. Frequent visitor to Seoul Felicia Low recommends her favourite place to check out in each of Seoul’s major districts.
At Dongjak-gu, visit Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
A seafood lovers’ paradise, choose from the amazing array of fish, scallops, prawns, sea urchin, and crabs on display here, then bring your catch of the day to one of the little restaurants by the side of the market to have it cooked. Word to the wise: it’s a wet market with live seafood, so expect to be splashed with water and blood from all the scaling and chopping. You will leave Noryangjin smelling a little icky, but the experience is worth it. Only thing, you’d best leave the shopping at the Lotte department store for another day. Don your wellington boots, as well as a jeans and a jacket you don’t mind getting dirty.
Noryangjin Fishieries Wholesale Market is located at 688 Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu.
In Samcheong-Dong, load up on meat and seafood at Mapletree House
Is it possible to go for a meal of Korean BBQ and walk out of the restaurant smelling like anything but Korean BBQ? At Mapletree House, it is. Little air-vents are strategically placed above the charcoal grill and they’re designed to suck up the fumes emanating from the grill, and … THEY WORK. The last time I was here, I was amazed at how I did not leave the restaurant smelling like BBQ. And the food? In a word: Fabulous. Try the salad topped with black sesame dressing for just the right combination of sweet and tangy. It’s the perfect foil to the prawns that have been buttered and grilled to perfection. The service is also top-notch, with each table having a dedicated waiter ensuring that your food is grilled to perfection.
Mapletree House is located at 31-1 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu.
At Myeung-Dong, take a shopping break at Cafe Poem
When you’ve shopped till you dropped at Myeung-dong, duck into Cafe Poem for some hot chocolate, waffles and parfaits. The portions of the food are generous, so go hungry! The cosy decor – all dimly-lit chandeliers and comfy sofas – is so warm and welcoming that you might just find yourself lingering there an hour or two longer than you planned. Oh, and leave those heels in your hotel room. The cobblestone streets of Myeung-dong can be hard to navigate when you’re tottering on stilettos.
Cafe Poem is located at 54-7, Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu.
In Gangnam, slurp up cold udon at Asosan
This modest Japanese restaurant is proof that simple fare can sometimes be the best. While the don-katsu (pork cutlet rice) is good, what Asosan is famous for is its naengudon (cold udon). The soup is rich and moreish, and the noodles are topped with ingredients like an omelette roll, tomato, and an assortment of noodles. It gets packed during lunch and dinner hours, so try to go a little before or after peak period.
Asosan is located at 619-4 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu.