Today, I would like to write about something that the readers and I like very much – Korean food. I have previously written a post on Korea’s specialty markets, which specialize in certain types of products. In this post, let me talk about some specialty food streets in Seoul which specialize in certain types of Korean food. These food streets are conveniently located and are within 5-15 minutes walk from the subway stations.
Majang-dong Gogi Alley (마장동고기골목)
“Gogi” (고기) in Korean means “meat”. If you are a “gogi” lover, you should visit the Majang-dong Gogi Alley which is located next to the large Majang-dong Livestock Products Market. Here you can find very good quality meat at bargain prices. It has over 40 years’ history and has many Korean BBQ restaurants. As beef is more expensive than other types of meat in South Korea, many people come here to enjoy good-value-for-money delicious barbecued beef. The grilled beef is already very delicious by adding just a bit of salt before eating, but instead of salt, you can also try the dipping sauces offered by the restaurants as each restaurant has its own recipe and the sauces may have different tastes.
This gogi alley is about 10 minutes’ walk from Exit 2 of Majang subway station.
Ojang-dong Hamheung Naengmyeon Alley (오장동함흥냉면골목)
If you want to have a taste of North Korean cuisine in South Korea, you should go to the Ojang-dong Hamheung Naengmyeon Alley. Naengmyeon (냉면 – chilled buckwheat noodles) is a popular dish in South Korea and it has different varieties, one of which is Hamheung naengmyeon – the Pyeongyang-style chilled buckwheat noodles served with spicy raw fish. As many people who came from North Korea settled down in the Ojang-dong area after the Korean War, Hamheung naengmyeon has become a specialty dish here. You can also find other varieties of naengmyeon like the mul-naengmyeon (물냉면 – buckwheat noodles served in iced broth made from beef, chicken and radish kimchi) and bibim-naengmyeon (비빔냉면 – buckwheat noodles with spicy dressing eaten with ingredients all mixed together). These two types of naengmyeon usually have ingredients like pear, boiled egg and/or cold boiled beef being put on the top of the noodles served in a bowl.
This naengmyeon alley is about 15 minutes’ walk from Exit 6 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park subway station.
Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town (신당동떡볶이타운)
If you like tteokbokki (떡볶이 – spicy stir-fried Korean rice cakes), the Sindang-dong Tteokbokki Town is a must-go place for you. It is said that tteokbokki was sold in this place as early as the 1950’s. Initially, tteokbokki was just cooked with gochujang (고추장 – Korean sweet red chili sauce) but nowadays, people may cook the tteokbook with other ingredients like instant noodles, fish cakes, fried dumplings, sausages, eggs, prawns, cheese, etc., making it more delicious. Although tteokbokki is a popular Korean street food which you can easily buy on the streets in South Korea, it is still worthwhile to taste this street food here as this place is regarded as the cradle of tteokbokki in Seoul and there are tteokbokki restaurants in which you can sit with your friends chatting and enjoying this popular street food.
The tteokbokki town is about 5 minutes’ walk from Exit 7 of Sindang subway station.
Eungam-dong Gamjaguk (or Gamjatang) Alley (응암동감자국골목)
If you want some healthy hot spicy food to help you fight the cold winters, you may go to the Eungam-dong Gamjajuk (or Gamjatang) Alley which is famous for gamjajuk (or gamjatang). Literally, “gamja” in Korean means “potato”and “guk” (or “tang”) means “soup”. Gamjaguk (감자국)(or Gamjatang (감자탕)) is in fact a spicy stew made from pork spine, potatoes, green onions, garlic, red chili peppers and dried radish greens. The soup is rich and delicious so after finishing eating the pork spine and potatoes, the people may add noodles or rice to the leftover soup to finish all the soup. It is believed that this dish is good for restoring stamina and it is also a favourite dish among the Koreans, especially in the cold winters.
The gamjaguk alley is about 10 minutes’ walk from Exit 2 of Saejeol subway station.
Jangchung-dong Jokbal Alley (장충동족발골목)
If you want to have smoother skin, you may consider going to the Jangchung-dong Jokbal Alley which has many restaurants selling jokbal (족발 – pig trotters). Jokbal is made from pig trotters broiled and braised with seasoned soy sauce and is one of the favourite dishes among Koreans. It is also believed that this dish is good for the skin due to its collagen content. For a more detailed description of jokbal, please refer to my blog post dated 28 November 2016.
The jokbal alley is about 5 minutes’ walk from Exit 3 of Dongguk University subway station.
While you are in Seoul, don’t forget to go to the above specialty food streets to try the delicious Korean cuisine there. Happy eating! 🙂
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Seoul Metropolitan Government, The Taste of Seoul, Korea, December 2015