|:: Seoul, Korea
, Korea Exhibition Center Area , Youi-do Area , Suburban ...
& Shopping Guide
of Korean Food
A diverse array of foods and dishes can be found throughout
Korea was once primarily an agricultural nation, and Koreans
have cultivated rice as their staple food since ancient
times. These days Korean cuisine is characterized by a wide
variety of meat and fish dishes along with wild greens and
vegetables. Various fermented and preserved food, such as
kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), jeotgal (seafood fermented
in salt) and doenjang (fermented soy bean paste) are notable
for their specific flavor and high nutritional value.
The prominent feature of a Korean table setting is that
all dishes are served at the same time. Traditionally, the
number of side dishes varied from 3 for the lower classes
to 12 for royal families. Table arrangements can vary depending
on whether a noodle dish or meat is served. Formal rules
have developed for table setting, demonstrating the attention
people pay to food and dining. Compared to neighboring China
and Japan, a spoon is used more often in Korea, especially
when soups are served.
Kinds of Traditional
1. Bap (steamed rice) and Juk (porridge)
Boiled rice is the staple of Korean cuisine. Most people
use sticky rice, which sometimes has beans, chestnuts, sorghum,
red beans, barley or other cereals added for flavor and
nutrition. Juk is thought of as highly nutritious and light.
Many varieties of juk exist, for example, juk made of rice,
red beans, pumpkin, abalone, ginseng, pine nuts, vegetables,
chicken, mushrooms and bean sprouts.
2. Guk (soup)
Soup is an essential dish when rice is served. Ingredients
of different soups include vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish,
seaweed, and beef bones.
3. Jjigae (stew)
Jjigae is similar to guk but is thicker and hardier. The
most famous jjigae is made from fermented soy bean paste.
Jjigae is usually spicy and served piping hot in a heated
4. Jjim and Jorim (simmered meat or fish)
Jjim and jorim are similar dishes which are prepared with
vegetables and soaked in soy bean sauce, then slowly boiled
together over a low flame.
5. Namul (vegetables or wild greens)
Namul is made from slightly boiled or fried vegetables and
wild greens mixed with salt, soy sauce, sesame salt, sesame
oil, garlic, onions, and other spices.
6. Jeotgal (seafood fermented in salt)
Jeotgal is a very salty food made of naturally fermented
fish, shellfish, shrimp, oysters, fish roe, intestines and
7. Gui (broiled/barbecued dishes)
When cooking gui, marinated meats are barbecued over a charcoal
fire. The most popular meats of this type are bulgogi and
galbi. There are also many fish dishes which are cooked
8. Jeon (pan-fried dishes)
Jeon is a kind of pancake made from mushrooms, pumpkin,
slices of dried fish, oysters, unripe red peppers, meat
or other ingredients which are mixed with salt and black
pepper, dipped in flour and egg and fried in oil.
9. Mandu (dumpling)
Mandu is dumplings stuffed with beef, mushrooms, stir-fried
zucchini, and mungbean sprouts. Pork, chicken, or fish is
sometimes used instead of beef.
Insadong and the surrounding area were the residences of
Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) officials, extended royal families,
and the yangbanaristocratic class.
The antique art shops that were established here during
the Japanese Colonial Period carried everyday items of the
privileged class as these items became antiques in the face
Since then, Insadong has been home to dozens of art galleries
and antique shops. Insadong's narrow alleys branch out into
all directions from one main street.
To explore the interesting places on these side alleys,
it would be helpful to get a map of Insadong at one of three
Tourism Information Centers that are located at the center
and the two ends of the main street.
41% of Korea's antique shops. These shops display and sell
quality antiques such as old paintings, ceramics, woodenware,
metalware, old furniture and many other items. Among them,
ceramics are found abundantly. Numerous antique shops are
renowned for specific merchandise: Tongmungwan for old documents,
Haedonggodoja Research Institute for ceramics, Godosa for
daily utensils of the past, Dongmundang and Gonghwarang
for calligraphy supplies, and Naraksil and Gayajae are famous
for old furniture.
Art galleries began to settle in Insadong from the 1970's
and presently account for more than 70 shops. Galleries
in Insadong display and sell modern art pieces as well as
antiques. The price of artworks range from a few U.S. dollars
to ten thousand U.S. dollars. Exhibitions are held frequently
in these galleries and give good chances for Korean artists
to gather. Insa Art Center and Gyeongin Art Gallery are
famous in Insadong.
Hanbok Korean Traditional Clothes, Ceramics, Handicrafts
Most hanbok shops in Insadong sell a simplified version
of hanbok. hanbok usually costs about two hundred U.S. dollars,
but the price of high-quality hanbok could go up to a few
thousand U.S. dollars. Jilgyeongyi Wuriot is a famous hanbok
shop. Ceramics is another popular shopping item in Insadong.
Good quality ceramics have a clean color and make a pure
sound when tapping it with a finger.
Bakyeongsukyo is a prominent ceramics shop which even was
visited by Queen Elizabeth ? of England. If hanbok or ceramics
are too expensive, traditional-style daily items might be
a good option. Wuri Segye, Sori Hana, and Tongin Gagye are
good shops to get souvenirs such as silk pouches, oriental
fans or mobile phone strings. Gana Art Shop inside of Insa
Art Center offers traditional high quality items. Awon Gongbang
is a good shop for metal crafted products and the National
Souvenir Center and Seoul Souvenir Shop are specialized
souvenir shops in Insadong.
Food and Drink
Most restaurants in Insadong are on alleys near Sudo Pharmacy.
(Please refer to the map of Insadong.) Traditional restaurants
in Insadong serve Korean dishes cooked without synthetic
seasonings in remodeled traditional Korean houses. Sanchon
serves good temple food along with a traditional performance.
The Restaurant Jirisan Restaurant is famous for delicious
dishes that taste of Korean home cooking. Sadongmyeonok
is renowned for manduguk dumpling soup, Insadong Hangari
Sujebi is recognized for sujebi clear soup with wheat flakes,
and Gaetmaeul Milbatjip is celebrated for kalguksu noodle
soup. Yetchatjip, Gwicheon, and Jeontong Dawon located inside
of Gyeongin Art Gallery are popular traditional teahouses.
A fun experience in Insadong is to try hotteok Chinese stuffed
pancake or ggultarae from a street vendor.
- Seoul Subway Line 1, Jonggak Station, 5 minute walk
- Seoul Subway Line 1, Jongno 3-ga Station, 5 minute walk
- Seoul Subway Line 3, Anguk Station, 5 minute walk
Located in the heart of Seoul, Myeongdong is a representative
shopping district in Korea. It also houses the headquarters
of banks and securities brokers, and many western and traditional
restaurants. Compared to Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Market
which sell products at low prices, most shops in Myeongdong
deal with mid-level price items. The main street in Myeongdong
is lined with quality brand name shops, while mid-class
brand name shops and no name brand shops are located in
the side alleys. Moreover, large shopping malls like Avatar
or Migliore and department stores are present as well. All
kinds of shops and restaurants are densely located on the
main street with lanes which resemble the shape of a chess
board, so it’s advisable to divide Myeongdong into a few
sections in your mind and explore each section separately.
Myeongdong Street (A)
Migliore, U-too Zone (Shopping Malls)/ Brand Name Shops
(Levi’s, Bean Pole, Geumgang Shoes Store, Elkanto Shoe Store,
Esquire Shoe Store, etc.)
Side Alley (B)
mid-priced brand name shops (Ssamzie, Club Monaco, Guess)
/ No Name Brand Stores/ Trend 20, Myeongdong Uiryu (Shopping
Side Alley (C)
No Name Brand Shops/Brand Name Shops (Giordano, Jangbangee)/Restaurants/Coffee
Central Street (D)
National Souvenir Center / Avatar (Shopping Mall)/banks/fast
Chinese street (E)
Chinese Embassy/Chinese restaurants/stores for Chinese medicine,
- Seoul Subway Line 4 Myeongdong Station Exit 7.
Namdaemun Market, located in the very center of Seoul, is
the biggest traditional market in Korea selling children's
clothing, men & women's clothing, daily miscellaneous
goods, kitchenware and local and imported products. Most
shops have their own factories and make the products themselves
offering both wholesale and retail prices which enables
visitors to purchase various shopping items at an extremely
inexpensive price. Foreign visitors to Namdaemun Market
show different features: the Japanese are more into foods
like Gim (seaweed), Gimchi, and ginseng, while the Chinese
show interest in clothing and miscellaneous goods. On the
other hand, most tourists from the west simply enjoy the
ambience of the traditional market. Hours vary by store,
so it's advisable to plan out in advance according with
a shopping list before you start the actual shopping.
- Seoul Subway Line 4, Hoehyeon Station Exit 5
Ever since its opening in 1905, Dongdaemun Market has been
one of the major markets in Korea. Specializing in wholesale
clothing, the market has grown large, having more than 20
shopping malls. A full range of fashion items that cover
from head to toe, are found in Dongdaemun Market at inexpensive
prices. Just name it and you shall find it! No wonder that
the market is always crowded with retailers, foreigners,
customers and tourists.
Section 1 - Retail Shops
The main street divides Dongdaemun Market into two sections.
Section 1 is on the side where Doosan Tower is found, and
Section 2 is the side of Dongdaemun Stadium. (See the map
below.) Huge shopping malls in Section 1 basically sell
wholesale and retail goods, but mostly deal with general
customers and tourists at retail prices. Thus, they have
convenient facilities like money exchanges and information
desks with English speaking staff. Open hours are also aimed
at general customers, opening from 10 am to 5 am of the
next day. With a pleasant interior, and rhythmical music
played all day long, shopping malls in Section 1 draw many
young people everyday. Various events organized by these
shopping malls (7 or 8 pm) are also delightful. Sometimes
you will get to see the youth come up on the stage in front
of the mall, dancing or singing. Major shopping malls are
Doosan Tower, Migliore, Freya Town and Hello apM.
Section 2 - Wholesale Shops
Shopping malls in Section 2 sell goods both in wholesale
and retail, but mainly sell in bulk. That is why shopping
malls here usually open at about 8 pm and close at 8 am
or 5 pm the next day for the convenience of wholesalers.
The peak time comes late at night through early morning.
Since most shops deal with the wholesalers, there is no
dressing room. Refunds and exchanges are not guaranteed,
so make sure to check the quality and size carefully. Major
shopping malls in Section 2 are Designer's Club, Migliore
Valley, Nuzzon, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Jeil Pyeonghwa, and
Heungin Stardom. Among them, Jeil Pyeonghwa and Heungin
Stardom attract customers in their thirties or forties with
items of simple and elegant design. The teens or youths
in their twenties usually visit Designer's Club, Migliore
Valley, Nuzzon and Gwanghee Fashion Mall.
Near Dongdaemun Market is Dongdaemun Stadium. There is a
variety of sporting goods shops around the stadium.
- Seoul Subway Line 2 Dongdaemun Stadium Station, or Line
1 or 4 Dongdaemun Station
Itaewon is the most exotic place in Seoul representing fusion
culture with a distinctive atmosphere. Many people say,
“You may not know Seoul, but you should know Itaewon,” showing
how renowned of a shopping district Itaewon is. The Itaewon
shopping area covers a 1.4 km long street, stretching from
Itaewon 1-dong eastwards to Hannam 2-dong. The area has
a vibrant ambience with shops, restaurants, bars and street
vendors. Most signboards are written in English, and often
seen are English speaking people on the street.
Clothing shops of hip hop style, casual wear, formal suit
are clustered in Itaewon. Unlike other shopping districts,
big & tall sizes and exotic clothing are well prepared.
Good quality leather goods are abundant, and even personal
orders are accepted. Most tailors have been established
for over fifteen to thirty years.
A variety of bags from suitcases, to casual backpacks are
available. ‘Chungnamsanghoe’ is a good shop for suitcases
and briefcases and Samsonite for high quality suitcases.
There are bunch of other shops dealing with leather bags.
Various options are offered from world-class brands to unique
no name brand goods. Nike and Adidas in Itaewon provide
large size shoes and many designs. There are also a bunch
of leather shoes stores
Antique Street in Itaewon is especially popular among non-Koreans.
Shops carry small interior items as well as expensive antique
furniture. Most antiques are from the Goryo and Joseon Dynasties.
Personal orders of reproduction products are accepted. Small
antique goods make good gift items.
- Seoul Subway Line 6, Itaewon Station Exit 1,2,3 or 4