Eating like a local in Korea : Must-Visit Food Streets in Seoul

In recent years, the trend of traveling for food has seen a significant rise. According to a recent survey, nearly 95% of travelers can be considered food tourists, with 80% traveling to enjoy unique dining experiences. With social media playing a pivotal role, this growing trend have become major influencers in travel choices.

Seoul offers numerous food streets that have been beloved by Koreans for generations, and they are now gaining recognition among international visitors. Here are some must-visit food streets in Seoul that can find your new taste of traveling Korea.

1. Kalguksu Street in Namdaemun Market (남대문 칼국수 골목)

Namdaemun Market is one of Seoul’s oldest and largest traditional markets, making it a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists. Within this bustling market lies Kalguksu Street, a narrow alley brimming with food stalls and small restaurants that specialize in kalguksu, a type of Korean noodle soup.

Kalguksu, which translates to “knife-cut noodles,” is a comforting dish made with hand-cut wheat noodles served in a rich, savory broth. What makes Kalguksu Street special is the variety of food combos available at incredibly affordable prices. Here, you can enjoy a hearty bowl of kalguksu paired with mandu, bibimbap, and other delicious side dishes.

The experience of enjoying kalguksu here will immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of one of Seoul’s most famous markets.

  • How to find the street : Hoehyeon(Namdaemun Market) Station (Line 4) Exit 5. There is an alley on the left at the beginning point of Namdaemun Market

2. Grilled Fish Street at Jongno (종로 생선구이 골목)

In the heart of Seoul lies Jongno 5-ga, a street renowned for its delicious grilled fish. The history of Grilled Fish Street dates back to the post-Korean War era when vendors began selling freshly grilled fish to office workers in the area. Over the years, it has grown into a beloved food street, known for its delicious and affordable grilled fish dishes.

Each restaurant on Grilled Fish Street offers a variety of fish, including mackerel, saury, and cutlassfish, all grilled to perfection and served with a selection of traditional Korean side dishes. The smoky aroma of grilling fish fills the air, drawing hungry diners in from the bustling streets of Jongno.

  • How to find the street : from Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1) Exit 6. Walk towards the alley on your left about 3 mins.

3. Dakhanmari Street at Dongdaemun (동대문 닭한마리 골목)

Dongdaemun is not only a shopping mecca but also home to the famous Dakhanmari Street. Dakhanmari, which translates to “a whole chicken”, is a hearty dish where an entire chicken is boiled in a savory broth, typically served with potatoes, green onions, and rice cakes. For a long time, this street has been a popular destination not only for Koreans but also for Japanese and Chinese tourists who flock here to savor this delicious meal.

Almost identificate area with Jongro Fish Street, Dakhanmari Street offers its Korean style sharing dining experience. Diners gather around a steaming pot of chicken, enjoying the process of cooking and eating together. The dish is often accompanied by a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, mustard, and chili paste, adding an extra kick to the tender chicken.

  • How to find the street : from Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1) Exit 6. Walk towards the alley on your left about 3 mins.

4. Jeon Street at Sadang

Sadang is a bustling neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife and food scene, and Jeon(Korean pancake) Street is a hidden gem for those who love Korean food and drink. This food street offers a variety of jeons, from the classic pajeon (green onion pancake) to kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) and haemuljeon (seafood pancake).

The street comes alive in the evenings, with vendors and small eateries serving freshly made jeon to hungry patrons. The crispy texture and savory flavor of the pancakes, combined with the slightly sweet and tangy taste of makgeolli, create a perfect harmony of flavors, especially popular during rainy days.

  • How to find the street :  from Sadang Station (Lines 2 and 4) Exit10. Walk into left side alley and turn right at the first corner. Take a walk another 2 mins.

5. Sundae Town at Silim

Silim may not be a traditional tourist hotspot, but is one of the most crowded neighborhoods in Seoul, with a large population, including many foreign student residents. Sundae Town refers a couple of buildings in most bustling night life area in Silim-dong. Filled with hundreds of small stalls, Sundae Town buildings create a maze-like exploring that you can wander and choose a place to eat.

Unlike the typical sundae that you can find at street tteokbokki vendors, which is steamed, the sundae in Sundae Town is stir-fried on a large iron griddle with glass noodles and vegetables. Also, the Sundae Town has its unique recipe for eating; dip the food in the spicy sauce and wrap them in the perilla leaves.

  • How to find the street : from Silim Station (Line 2) Exit 3. Walk straight and turn right at the second alley / from Exit 4. Walk straight and turn left at the second alley