There are zillions of places to eat, but finding cheap food in Seoul can sometimes be a bit more of a struggle. Google maps doesn’t include all of the city’s eateries, and lots of the information is in Korean. Fortunately, with a bit of research we were able to find one place, which happily lead us to a row of budget and palette friendly restaurants, or as I like to call it “cheap eat street”. Not only was the food good and the prices low, the interiors were light, clean and modern (extra brownie points all round). Below is a summary of the places and dishes so you can enjoy some cheap food in Seoul:
How to get to “cheap eat street” and find cheap food in Seoul
Not all the restaurants on “cheap eat street” are clearly marked but to find the location you can click here and it will take you to the right street on Google Maps (this actually leads you to the Tonkatsu restaurant and all the others are next to it). The nearest metro stop is Sinchon on Line 2, and from there it’s just a short walk away.
Perhaps one of my favourite Korean dishes, bibimbap is bursting with fresh seasonal vegetables and the perfect light lunch. A lot of Korean dishes are heavy on the meat, so this is a welcome alternative to carnivorous barbecues and fried chicken. The word bibimbap translates as “mixed rice”, which gives a pretty good indication of how you should eat this like a local. You’ll be served your rice in a separate dish, then all you need to do is tip it in, add some chilli sauce, and mix it all together. At this eatery, the bibimbap is quite simple but still yummy (especially when you consider the bargain 3000 won price tag). The name of the eatery is in Korean and not marked on google maps, but you’ll easily find it if you look for the white exterior and faux bibimbap meal at the entrance. Like all the restaurants on this street, the interior is clean, simple and modern with white tiled walls and wooden tables. The perfect place for cheap food in Seoul!
Price: 3000 won
Tonkatsu isn’t actually Korean, it’s Japanese. And at Cochon Tonkatsu you can try it for only 3000 won (trust me this is much cheaper than anything you would ever get in Japan). The dish consists of a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet, served with rice, miso soup and tonkatsu sauce. Whilst the meat quality wasn’t the best (to be expected for the price), the dish was still tasty and you could tell that everything was made fresh. As soon as you enter through the eatery’s sliding, wooden-slatted doors you can see that the design is akin to what you’d expect to see in Japan, with a modern interior and food served on beautiful blue patterned ceramic plates.
Price: 3000 won
Another Japanese dish for the list! This time it’s a hearty bowl of ramen. This eatery, called Yasou and located on the end of the street, boasts traditional Japanese-style seating around a bar and a small table for two tucked into the corner. The ramen is made up of a light broth, noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts, spring onions and a soft boiled egg. On each of the tables, you’ll find a tub of garlic cloves, complete with a garlic crusher so you can add as much or as little as you like to flavour your broth (being a garlic fiend I went to town and added about four cloves).
Price: 4500 won
Finally, it’s time for the most “expensive” of the cheap eats of the four venues: Bulgogi Baekban. The eatery is called Deep Taste and, as with the other places on the street, has a clean and simple interior. Bulgogi Baekban is a traditional lunch dish made from thinly slices pieces of pork or beef (beef in this case) and served with rice. Before cooking, the meat is marinated with a mixture of ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ground black pepper and sugar (which explains why this dish has a salty/ sweet taste to it).
Price: 5000 won
Opening hours: The eateries are all open from 11.30am until 7.30 or 8.30pm, with a break from 4.30pm until 5.00pm.
Have you visited Seoul or do you live there? Where is your favourite place to grab a cheap eat? Hungry for more? Check out more of my food guides here.