Thursday, March 9, 2017

Seoul Food Hunt: Table for One


I was at the university neighborhood of Hongdae when I suddenly felt the need to eat something after a full day of walking around in the freezing city of Seoul. I had rice for lunch but the cold weather was eating up too much of my fat that I got hungry early on. I saw a Korean Barbecue restaurant and got really excited then queued to get a table. When it was my turn, I was politely told that I couldn’t get a seat for reasons unknown to me. Defeated, I walked away from the restaurant and thought of the possible reasons why I was dismissed; may be a table for four would be such a waste for just one person, or maybe I looked like I didn’t have the money to spend. Nonetheless, I searched for a place that would cater to a person who needs a table for one. Gladly, I found one and splurged my blues away.

It was my first ever solo trip abroad and coincidentally, it was wintertime. I never dreamt of experiencing snow for I have the lowest tolerance to cold weather so it was alarming, at first. After the acclimating process, I got used to the nth layers of clothing and battled the everyday chilly weather (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Seoul).

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I got hold of my Korean Travel Visa in the Philippines and sought the help from an online travel guide to Seoul prior to this trip. I did a walking tour around Seoul and had a wonderful time on Nami Island and Garden of Morning Calm and during those times, constant carbo-loading helped me combat the chills. I never understood before why Koreans would fill in their stainless steel water bottles with hot water until I tried it once which soothed my freezing body. And when I say hot water, it’s really that hot water you use to make coffee. So I'd fill my water bottle with hot water from my home in Seoul, Guesthouse Korea, and battled the sub-zero temperature every day; that was a lifesaver for me.

A meal in Seoul could sustain three meals in Bangkok, so if you're on a really tight budget, plan your food trip very well so as to not spend too much. A decent meal can cost you around KRW5,000 (US$4.33) to KRW6,000 (US$5.20) on a normal eatery/restaurant. Plus, English translations of the dishes are not common so you just have to rely on the photo menu, if they have. Well, if you're a fan of Korean food then you'd probably know what to order and where to go. 


You order a dish and you get a number of side dishes (banchan) with it.
Me love those yellow pickled daikon raddish but not diggin' kimchi at all :(
Just a little backgrounder, I haven't tried any Korean food in the Philippines prior this trip, so everything is new to me. Like being surprised when given a multitude of vegetable side dishes (banchan) alongside my order. I loved those yellow pickled daikon raddish but didn't like kimchi at all, sorry y'all kimchi fans.

I really felt bad about my dismissal from a restaurant in Hongdae that I intentionally looked for places to eat that would cater to solo diners afterwards. So here’s a rough guide on where to eat in Seoul, especially if you’re on a solo trip.


Dongdaemun Area

Heated food tents during wintertime
Photo menus saved me from so much trouble
Udon Noodle Soup
KRW4,000 (US$3.47)
I loved the noodle itself but not the whole dish

Jongno Area

Korean Noodle Bar (Since 1981)
Rice with Bulgogi
KRW6,000 (US$5.20)
This was really good! I just have to remove the mushrooms (me no like mushrooms)

Hongdae Area

Hongdae Rappa
Solo diners are very much welcome
Caricature menus! Cutie :)
KRW4,500 (US$3.90)
I failed to get the English translation for this one but the sauce was on the sweet side. It was just okay.
Water Dumplings
KRW3,000 (US$2.60)
I super love this! :)

The Garden of Morning Calm

Bulgogi Hot Pot
Bulgogi (beef in soy sauce marinade) cooked in broth with vegetables and glass noodles.
From a Korean Restaurant inside the Garden of Morning Calm
This was my favorite dish during the course of my four-day trip in South Korea
KRW12,000 (US$10.39)
Kimchi + Seasoned Bean Sprouts + Spicy Raddish Salad
Typical Korean side dishes (banchan)

Incheon International Airport

Food prices inside Incheon International Airport are quite reasonable compared to Seoul City
Bibimbap with red chili paste
KRW6,500 (US$5.63)
Super tasty and tender meat. Again, I had to remove all mushrooms. Haha.
My four-day trip is quite short to fully immerse myself on Korean food plus, my tiny stomach could only take so much. Next time, I’d surely try everything I could with the help of my friends so that I could finally try that Korean Barbecue restaurant in Hongdae. Yes, I’d gladly go back there with a bunch of my friends. I don’t hold grudges anymore at this age, I’m a mature person now. Hihi.


Check here for discounted hotels in Seoul





2 comments:

  1. Ms. Carla, sama mo ko pagbalik mo please :) Gora tayo sa November! :)

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    Replies
    1. November is the perfect time to visit Seoul kasi nga di pa masiyadong malamig saka Autumn yun. Hopefully makakuha ng promo airfare :)

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