If you’re planning a trip to Seoul, like I have recommended in my previous post on the city, I believe winter is a great time to go, especially if you’re coming from a tropical country like Malaysia or Singapore.
We experience hot weather enough in our home countries that getting exposed to some winter weather once in a while is a nice treat. It’s also the best time to go because you will have an appetite that is always raring to go! Cold weather makes you hungry and you need to eat more to keep your body warm.
So here’s a list of all the food I would recommend you try if you’re heading to Seoul!
#1 Street Food: Spicy Fried Chicken Popcorn
I found this gem of a snack while at Ewha Women’s University. As I weaved in and out of the shops to seek the comfort of heaters, I found little tents by the roadside selling these spicy fried chicken popcorn bits. The chicken is generously covered in batter before being fried and drowned in spicy, sweet sauce. This is an incredibly sinful snack to have but one that you have to try!
#2 Korean BBQ
You can’t go to Korea without having Korean BBQ at least once! Any random Korean BBQ shop will do, in my opinion. Having tried a few in Myeongdong and Gangnam, the quality doesn’t differ much. But be warned that this is not cheap! In fact, most foods in Korea do not come cheap.
#3 Spicy Korean Chicken Noodles & Nene Fried Chicken
If it's one meal we did not regret having while spending a week in Seoul, it was the one we had right in the comforts of our hotel room. After spending a whole day dashing around Seoul, taking the underground train, walking from attraction to attraction (and basically doing about 15,000 steps!), all you want to do is head back to the room to rest your tired feet.
So what we did was to get the hotel concierge to call up the famous Nene Fried Chicken delivery. And we bought a couple of spicy korean noodle bowls (topped up with cocktail sausages) and banana milk from the 7-Eleven downstairs from our Myeongdong hotel and binged away.
If your tummy is sensitive to oil or spicy foods, all the more reason for you to enjoy the food from your hotel room. (Oh, and we probably saved quite a bit of money by doing this!)
This spicy rice cake dish is a really heavy one so if you're looking to carbo-load in the wintery cold, this could be your go-to food.
#5 Skewers and deep fried snacks
You will find vendors at every corner of Seoul selling these sinful foods and the temptation will be so real! You will have to hold back on buying too many though - each time we bought from these street vendors, we would end up spending at least RM60 for about 3-4 sticks.
They can be really pricey and not all of them taste good. So be discerning and choose the local delicacies and avoid things like corn dogs and other Western looking snacks.
#6 Rainbow Cotton Candy!
You'll probably get yelled at if you try to take a picture of these gorgeous cotton candy treats without buying one. It's really fascinating to watch the guy make them and if you're looking for something sweet and light, then grab a stick to go!
#7 Beef steak
This one has the potential to be a hit or miss depending on which vendor you choose to go to. I prefer to find vendors who are a little less crowded as they are able to make your order to your preference.
#8 Twister or Tornado Potato
You absolutely cannot miss this snack - it's everywhere in Seoul and it is a must-try. However, the downfall of winter is that this snack gets cold really fast so you'll have to eat it quickly! I loved the cheese powder coating the best but the onion powder was a good contender.
#9 Grilled mozzarella cheese
Crispy on the outside, soft and melty on the inside. This is a must-try and you will want more after the first bite! That is a guarantee.
#10 Flaming seafood
Butter sauce? YASSSSS. Cheese? YASSSSSSS. Fresh seafood like oysters and scallops? YASSSS. Splurge on this street food that everyone will most likely be queuing up for. Watch as the chef expertly prepares this dish on the spot for you and indulge in the sinful combination of dairy and seafood.
#11 Bulgogi beef
No Korean food list is complete without bulgogi! It is found at most Korean restaurants/ I love beef and I love having this dish back in Malaysia. Having it in the dead of winter makes it taste oh-so-much-better!