Photo: Map of the popular restaurants in Myeong-dong
Myeong-dong - one of the most popular regions in Seoul! As many people flock to the area, it has hidden restaurants in every corner. From the elegant hotel buffet restaurants to specialty menu restaurants, it is safe to say that Myeong-dong is heaven to food lovers.
For those who still haven’t decided what to eat in Myeong-dong, you’re in luck! This article lists eight of the most popular restaurants from Korea’s dining mobile app. Whether it’s Korean, Japanese, Chinese or Western cuisine you’re looking for, choose any of the restaurants below and you will not be disappointed!
Photo: Various menus at La Seine
One of the best merits of buffet restaurants is that a variety of menus is prepared to meet the taste of diverse people. Among buffets, a hotel buffet is perfect to try out a plethora of luxurious cuisine made from fresh ingredients.
Photo: Interior of La Seine (left) / Fresh sushi made on the spot (right)
At Lotte Hotel Seoul's La Seine, expert chefs show off their skills as they prepare savory meals at a total of eight distinguished cooking stations – Asian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Western cuisine, noodles, cold meal, Korean grill, dessert, and beverage bar. The Japanese cuisine section especially is La Seine's most prized station as the chef prepares sushi right on the spot upon order, giving one the feeling of being at a traditional Japanese restaurant. Over 200 delightful menus are prepared with grilled lamb chops for lunch on weekdays, lobster for dinner and weekends; other menus include king crab, rice noodles, and curry.
Photo: Delicious cuisines to try out at Aria
As the representative restaurant of Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul, Aria offers a plethora of extravegant menus where you can enjoy a course meal of appetizers, main dish and desserts all at one place. With ten live cooking stations dedicated to Korean & Chinese cuisine, Japanese cuisine, grill, pasta, salad, and more, sizzling sounds and savory smells will stimulate your senses while you indulge yourself on the feast. Each of the ten station presents the hotel's specialized menus on a real-time basis. In particular, Asian cuisine has much to offer while the fancy dessert section is popular among women.
Photo: Main menu at Myeongdong Kyoja (top) / Dumpling filled with meat and vegetables (bottom left) / Exterior of Myeongdong Kyoja main branch (bottom right)
Myeongdong Kyoja has become a landmark of Myeong-dong with its specialties of kalguksu (noodle soup) and mandu (dumplings) for the past 50 years. The hand-made, dough noodles and diced meat in chicken broth soup go splendidly well with the restaurant’s other specialty, mandu. The mandu is scrumptiously filled with meat and vegetables, oozing out juice in every bite. Myeong-dong Kyoja is also well known for their generous services as additional noodles and rice are provided free of charge upon request.
If you want to fully indulge yourself in kalguksu and mandu for a full flavor, try it together with the kimchi offered as a side dish. Kimchi marinated with hot pepper powder and garlic adds a stronger flavor to the soup.
Photo: Samyetang and ginseng liquor
Baekje Samgyetang, as its name clearly states, specializes in samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup). The restaurant is especially well-known among Japanese and Chinese tourists; hence Japanese and Chinese speaking staff are always ready to assist. The restaurant’s specialty, samgyetang, is made of tender chicken boiled over a long period of time to broth with nutritious ingredients such as glutinous rice, garlic, chestnut, ginseng, jujube and more. The mouth-watering chicken goes well with the chewy texture of rice, and the healthy broth soup is too delicious to be left unfinished.
The ginseng liquor and chalbap (cooked glutinous rice) that come along with samgyetang are also notable. The alcohol made of ginseng, a well-known high-quality medicinal herb, goes so well with samgyetang that many people make a separate purchase of this impressive liquor. Chalbap has an interesting chewy texture different from regular cooked rice.
Photo: Special Gomtang (top) / Exterior of Hadongkwan (bottom left) / Interior of Hadongkwan (bottom right)
Despite gomtang (bone soup) being the only menu available in Hadongkwan, people willingly wait in line for a hearty meal since its opening in 1939. Gomtang is a soup made of meat and bones boiled to broth for hours.
Hadongkwan’s gomtang includes beef and intestines, and its clean aftertaste is impressive. There are only two menus: regular soup with only beef in it and the special soup, which includes intestines that add a stronger savory taste. Gomtang is served with rice mixed into the soup along with kimchi on the side. You can add more flavors into the soup by adding in condiments prepared on the table such as diced spring onions, salt, and pepper to your preference.
The restaurant closes at 4 pm, but if you decide to visit Hadongkwan, don’t wait until the last minute as the restaurant can close earlier than scheduled if the ingredients run out.
Photo: Thick slices of Jirisan Mountain Black Pork (top) / Bite-sized grilled skin-on black pork belly (bottom left) / Salt and sauce plate for dipping (bottom right)
As a restaurant where one can get a taste of the famous Jirisan Mountain Black Pork in Seoul, Yuktongryeong is flourishing with customers every day, thanks to its appearance in the variety television show "The Demand of Luxurious Food." The most popular menu in this restaurant is grilled skin-on black pork. As its name implies, unlike the regular pork belly meat, skin-on pork belly is cut along with the skin to create a chewy texture.
Photo: Exterior of Yuktongryeong (left) / Spoonful of spicy kimchi jjigae (right)
Dipping the skin-on pork belly lightly in the salt is the best way to taste the original flavor of the meat itself. Enjoy the grill with the salad and side dishes served to clear out any after taste. Another popular menu, kimchi jjigae is also an excellent partner with the skin-on pork belly.
Photo: Seiro Udon
Inaniwa Yosuke, located near Seoul City Hall, is Korea's branch of a restaurant named Sato Yosuke in Japan that has been specializing in udon for the past 350 years. As one of the top three must-eat udon in Japan, inaniwa udon featured at these restaurants is characterized by thin, flat noodles that have a chewy texture.
Photo: Visual of shrimp cream croquette / Udon sauce for sale
Their signature menus are seiro udon and wagyu udon. Seiro udon is served cold with two different types of sauce to dip your noodles in: the tsuyu sauce and the sesame miso sauce. Each sauce has its own unique flavor that will stimulate your tastebuds. On the other hand, wagyu udon is served in a hot soup. The chewy noodles topped with meat served in a bowl of hot soup are enough for a hearty meal.
The recommended side menu to go along with the noodles is shrimp cream croquette. The smooth cream and shrimp filling covered with a crispy crust is as popular as the restaurant's prized udon. The restaurant also sells inaniwa udon noodles and their special sauces separately for inaniwa udon at home or as an excellent gift.
Photo: Meat and vegetables ready to be cooked in hot pot soup
Hai Di Lao is originally a hot pot franchise restaurant in China that opened a branch in Korea. A plethora of ingredients such as meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu and more are dipped into a boiling soup broth in this Chinese style shabu shabu cuisine.
Photo: A sauce bar where individuals can make their preferred sauce (left) / iPad for menu selection (right)
Hai Di Lao implements modern technology into their ordering system. As soon as you sit at a table, you will be given an iPad to place your order. You can choose the soup base, meat, vegetables and any other ingredients you wish to add to your hot pot. The total price of the hot pot depends on the ingredients you choose.
There are four types of soup base to choose from – spicy mala soup with a kick of Chinese spice, mushroom soup, tomato soup, and the meaty samseontang soup broth. Whether to choose just one or to try out multiple broths is completely up to you. Once you have decided on your preferred soup, continue your order by choosing your ingredients from beef, pork, lamb, seafood, dumplings, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, noodles, and much more.
In addition, with only an additional 3,000 won per person, you can use the sauce bar and create your own special hot pot sauce. Fruits, salad, cakes and other desserts are also available at the bar.
You'll be surprised at Hai Di Lao's customer service as their services are as impressive as their meals. Not only are Chinese-speaking staff always readily available to care for the needs of flocking Chinese tourists, but they also offer shoe cleaning and nail art services for free!
* This column was last updated in October 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.