Dining & Stores
If you were worried about the food selection available in Korea, put your worries aside. Foods from all around the world are widely available in Seoul. You will have no problem finding Western, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and of course Korean food. Many chain restaurants have established themselves in Korea like Pizza Hut, TGIF, Outback, Bennigans, and On the Border. It is beyond the scope of this handbook to cover all the food available. We begin with some basics of Korean food to get you started.
Traditionally, Korean food is served with many side-dishes or banchan (반찬).
Rice accompanies almost every meal as does a variety of vegetable and meat dishes. Korean food is generally considered to be healthy and light; the following is list of some common dishes.
- Kimchi (김치): A spicy traditional Korean fermented dish made of some select vegetables such as cabbage with varied seasonings.
- Kongnamul (콩나물): Bean sprouts.
- Myeolchi-bokkeum (멸치볶음): Sauteed anchovies.
- Dotorimuk (도토리묵): A jelly derived from acorns
Soups and Stews
- Manduguk (만두국): A dumpling soup.
- Maeuntang (매운탕): A spicy soup made with fish.
- Seolleongtang (설렁탕): A clear broth soup with beef.
- Doenjangguk (된장국): A soup made with a soybean base, usually with tofu and vegetables.
- Jjigae (찌개): A broth or stew usually served in a clay bowl. It comes with a side of rice and several side dishes.
- Kimchi-jjigae (김치찌개): A Jigae made with Kimchi and usually tofu and pork.
As you walk along the streets of Seoul, you will find many street vendors selling food for around 2,500 KRW. Here are some foods you will find:
Street Vendor Food
- Twigim (튀김): Ttwigim means fried. Foods such as shrimp, sweet potato, squid, and stuffed peppers are often fried and called twigim.
- Tteokbokki (떡볶이): Rice cake cooked in a spicy, red pepper sauce base.
- Mandu (만두): Dumplings made with tofu, pork, kimchi, or beef.
- Gimbap (김밥): Rice and vegetables wrapped similar to California rolls.
- Noodles are called guksu (국수) in Korean.
- Jajangmyeon (자장면): Jajangmyeon is a Chinese noodle dish served in Korea. made with a soybean base sauce that usually has meat and vegetables in the sauce.
- Naengmyeon (냉면): A type of cold noodle that can be prepared with a cold beef broth or with a spicy sauce.
- Japchae (잡채): A popular type of noodle dish that is made with mixed vegetable and vermicelli noodles made from sweet potatoes.
- Grill: Many foods in Korea are barbecued or cooked on steel pans.
- Dak-galbi (닭갈비): Dak Stir-fried chicken and vegetables marinated in a spicy sauce.
- Galbi (갈비): Grilled beef ribs marinated in a soy sauce based sauce.
- Dwaeji-galbi (돼지갈비): Pork marinated in a soy sauce based sauce.
Stores & Grocery Shopping
Most people can do their basic grocery shopping at their local grocery stores. There are small stores in the surrounding areas of the campus, but there are also larger grocery stores like Grand Mart and the Hyundai Department Store (both of which are connected to the Sinchon Subway Station). For those living in the Mu-Ak Dorms or near the North and West gate, Sareoga Shopping Center has a decent selection of Western and Korean foods. The location is convenient for students living in the Mu-Ak dorms, but the tradeoff is that, it is slightly more expensive than other grocery stores.