If you’re another average, hungry college student like me, you probably look forward to going home for break. Sure, your parents asking you about grades and jobs is always a bundle of fun, but let’s face it: You missed REAL food. Food that isn’t ramen or dining hall mac and cheese.
Home for me is Seoul, South Korea — one of Asia’s food capitals, where, fun fact, some people get paid (!!!) to eat. Given how much amazing food you can get for dirt cheap, though, it’s no wonder this food craze exists. Here are 10 things that you need to get if you’re ever in Seoul that will leave both your belly and your wallet happy.
1. Korean Fried Chicken
Yes, I know. They have them in the States, too. But only true Seoulites know that the best Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) is always delivered (mostly around midnight, because #treatyoself), with sweet pickled radishes on the side. If you’re a daredevil, make sure to try the incredibly spicy KFC with a ton of sauce. Or, you can always play it safe and get the Original Fried, with or without “cheese snow.”
2. Pizza with Crazy Crusts
PSA: Everyone loves pizza. (If you don’t, then you’re right up there with people who don’t like puppies and happiness.) That said, Seoulites really know how to jazz up this incredible vehicle for cheese and carbs for the ultimate experience. My personal favorite is “gold” crust, or sweet-potato–stuffed crust that you can find in almost all pizzerias in Seoul. But you can also find all kinds of crazy variations from mini pull-apart sausage dogs to cheesecake bites (yes, actually).
3. Bingsoo (Shaved Ice)
Well, technically, shaved “frozen milk.” While shaved ice has recently been gaining attention on this side of the pond, Seoulites have become hooked on finely shaved frozen milk sweetened with a dash of condensed milk. Again, there is an insane array of toppings to choose from. My go-to is Sulbing’s Choco Bingsoo (featured above), but you can have mango cheesecake with a scoop of ice cream on top or an inhumane amount of strawberries with mochi.
4. Ice Cream “Fish” Cones
Have no fear: These aren’t actually real “fish” you’re holding. In fact, Seoulites have been well ahead of the recent craze that is the donut-stuffed ice cream cones. A long-beloved street snack in the winter, these sweet, doughy pastries shaped like a fish hold soft-serve ice cream with toppings, such as red bean, peanuts, chocolate, strawberries and much more.
5. Cream Udon
Is that… whipped cream and noodles? Well, sort of. Created by a famous Korean-Japanese fusion restaurant in Gangnam called Tokkijung, this dish features a dollop of creamy sauce made to look like whipped cream with stirred udon noodles covered underneath. You can take the beginner’s route and get the mild curry udon or, if you live for spicy food, get the spicy chicken udon (which was featured in multiple food challenges).
So next time in Seoul, make sure to try all these places and let me know what you think!