The best local dishes in Seoul are loved by many people, mostly because they’re easily accessible, nutritious and flavourful. This is a place where you can conveniently enjoy simple food locals love, such as tteokbokki (rice cakes in spicy sauce), stir-fried octopus and soondae (sausage) – these also make great side dishes for alcoholic beverages.

    There are also foods that are enjoyed for both the flavours and atmosphere, such as samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) and bindaetteok (mung bean pancake). Go on a happy gourmet trip across the city to enjoy a variety of Korean dishes. Read on for our guide to famous foods locals love to eat in Seoul.


    Pyeongyang naengmyeon

    Pyeongyang-style cold buckwheat noodles

    Pyeongyang naengmyeon (Pyeongyang-style cold buckwheat noodles) is a popular delicacy year-round, especially in summer. While it originated in Pyeongyang (North Korea), you can find many restaurants serving this dish in Seoul. 

    As the name suggests, the dish consists of buckwheat noodles in a chilled soup, topped with sliced meat and a hardboiled egg. It is recommended for both children and foreigners as it's quite mild and light in flavour. Many people eat Pyeongyang naengmyeon with dumplings. 



    Ox bone soup

    Seolleongtang is a milky off-white soup made by boiling ox bone for several hours. This healthy dish boiled is usually paired with rice, various side dishes, and kimchi or kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi). Most restaurants provide salt, ground pepper, and spring onions. You can season your seolleongtang at the table according to your personal taste. 



    Loach soup

    Chueotang is a soup made of ground pond loach, chilli paste, perilla powder, soybean paste, and ginger. It originated in Namwon, a city in North Jeolla Province, but you can easily find many local restaurants serving this dish in Seoul. However, Seoul-style chueotang is usually not spicy. If you want to spice up the dish, just add some Cheongyang chilli peppers.



    Mung bean pancake

    Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) is a Korean traditional dish that's commonly found in Seoul. It's primarily made with mung bean flour, chopped kimchi, minced meat, bean sprouts and various seasonings. The batter is pan-fried until golden brown, and served with dipping sauce, kimchi and pickled onion. Locals often claim that the best bindaetteok is found at Gwangjang Market.



    Spicy rice cakes

    Tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes) is one of the most common street foods in South Korea. Great for those who love a bit of spice, this chewy treat is essentially Korean rice cakes cooked in sweet-spicy gochujang sauce. Distinguished by its bright red-orange ensemble, this popular snack is usually sold at street vendors and independent snack bars.



    Ginseng chicken soup

    Locals believe that the body’s energy must be replenished during summer, so it is a common practice for them to consume a piping hot bowl of samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) between the months of June and early September.

    This nourishing soup consists of a small spring chicken stuffed with chestnuts, garlic, dried jujubes, ginseng, glutinous rice, and ginkgo nuts. The ingredients are then slow-cooked until the meat is very tender and the thick broth permeates a slightly bitter yet fragrant taste.


    Ganjang gejang

    Raw crabs marinated in soy sauce

    Ganjang gejang is a Korean traditional dish that is made of marinated fresh raw crabs in soy sauce. While the recipe sounds simple, it is not easy to cook at home because fresh and high-quality ingredients are needed to get the taste right.

    It has a strong flavour, so it's best to pair ganjang gejang with a bowl of rice and various side dishes. You can find many restaurants specialising in this dish in Sinsa-dong, a foodie street in Seoul's Gangnam district. 



    Braised pigs' feet

    Jokbal (braised pigs' feet) is one of the most unique local dishes in Seoul. There is even a well-known area for jokbal in the city – Jangchung-dong has many traditional restaurants dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. The dish is made by braising pig trotters in a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and rice wine. Enjoy it like the locals by wrapping slices of meat with lettuce, kimchi, and pickled radish. 


    Soondae bokkeum

    Stir-fried Korean sausage

    Soondae bokkeum is loved by many Koreans as an inexpensive and hearty side dish. It's made by stir-frying blood sausage with vegetables, rice cake, and gochujang (red chilli paste). In Sillim-dong, you can head to Sundae Town, where many restaurants specialising in sundae bokkeum are located.


    Jukkumi bokkeum

    Spicy stir-fried octopus

    Jukkumi bokkeum (stir-fried octopus) is great for seafood lovers in Seoul. It's basically baby octopus marinated in a spicy gochujang (red chilli) sauce. You can enjoy it with rice or by wrapping small portions of the octopus in lettuce. Jjukkumi Street in Dongdaemun is famous for jukkumi bokkeum.

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