What I Ate in South Korea

South Korea Series:

How to Apply for a Korean Visa for Filipino Employees

8-Day South Korea Budget and Itinerary (Seoul + Jeju)

Exploring Seoul

Adventures in Jeju

Where to Stay in Hongdae, Seoul

Aside from sightseeing and hostel hopping, we thoroughly enjoyed the food in South Korea. We are so in love with samgyupsal and we were so ready to fall in love with other South Korean foods. I wasn’t originally planning to write a blog post dedicated to what we ate, however I find myself constantly missing the food and I realized that I took pictures of everything that we ate – which isn’t usual for me. 😀 We budgeted 10,000 krw for each meal. There were a few times when we went overbudget, but more times when we underbudget 🙂

Day 1:

When we arrived in Hongdae area, we were so hungry so we immediately looked for somewhere to eat. The first thing that caught our attention was the pojangmacha stationed beside Starbucks cafe, near Exit 2 of Hongik Station. Pojangmacha are street stalls which sell a variety of street foods such as gimbap, tteokbokki, sundae, fish cakes and an assortment of fried food like egg, squid legs, shrimp and dim sum.

Pojangmacha. I wish we were able to drink here like we see in KDramas. But it got too cold at night.

Pojangmacha. I wish we were able to drink here like we see in KDramas. But it got too cold at night.

The ahjummas were really nice despite the language barrier. I ordered a fish cake and 5 pieces of assorted fried food all for 3,000 krw or around 120 php. At first I thought this wasn’t enough but these foods were actually very filling and felt heavy to the stomach.

First meal in South Korea. It's more delicious than it looks

First meal in South Korea. It’s more delicious than it looks

We bought snacks at Namsan Seoul Tower. The ice cream churros was very tempting even though it was already very cold.

Churros and ice cream even though it was 16 degree Celsius cold. Teehee.

Churros and ice cream even though it was 16 degree Celsius cold. Teehee.

For dinner, we ate at Kkanbu Chicken located right on the corner of where we were staying. We ordered 2 kinds of Korean chicken and a glass of beer. We split the bill and paid 10,750 krw each.

Garlic parmesan friend chicken

Garlic parmesan friend chicken

And I forgot what this is called :(

And I forgot what this is called 😦

Day 2:

Breakfast at O’sulloc was milk tea and a slice of green tea roll. It was delicious! Though for 11,000 krw it wasn’t very filling.

This was more apt for a light snack than for breakfast

This was more apt for a light snack than for breakfast

Lunch was a slightly heartbreaking affair because it was expensive. Our driver in Jeju brought us to the restaurant without knowing the price point. We were too shy to leave because we already sat down and the staff were already fixing our table. The food was okay, but not the taste I was looking for. The lunch set was 110,000 krw good for 4 people. We should have ordered the set for 2 because we barely were able to finish half the food.

Easily our most expensive meal from the trip

Easily our most expensive meal from the trip

Dinner was an assortment of instant noodles, bread and snacks bought from the grocery store because we were too tired and too broke from lunch to go out. LOL.

Our simple dinner of bread, noodles and gimbap from the grocery store. The kimchi was donated by our Airbnb host. LOL

Our simple dinner of bread, noodles and gimbap from the grocery store. The kimchi was donated by our Airbnb host. LOL

Day 3:

We first climbed Mt. Hallasan so we got hungry by mid-morning. Jella and Karla bought corndogs and I bought a hotteok – a Korean pancake with a sweet sugar stuffing. I loved my hotteok but it’s not to be eaten without water at hand. The sweetness became a challenge when I already devoured more than half of the pancake.

I don't really like corn dogs but Karla and Jella loved it

I don’t really like corn dogs but Karla and Jella loved it

Hotteok

Hotteok

My favorite lunchtime meal was when we were finally able to taste the famous black pork of Jeju. My eyes closed in ecstasy when it went into my mouth. ❤

Dinner that day was a repeat of the previous day’s menu. LOL.

Day 4:

We ate lunch at Tongin Market so we could sample many South Korean food in one go. For 5,000 krw, I was able to fill my plate with gimbap, egg rolls, friend Korean sausage, chap chae and tteokbokki. My favorite was the chap chae and gimbap.

My plate at Tongin Market

My plate at Tongin Market

While walking around Samcheongdong area, we passed by a stall selling fried squid. And of course we bought one because it looked so delicious and we were very tired from all the walking that day. The sauce made it heavenly!

Fried squid <3

Fried squid ❤

That night, Karla’s friend treated us to a full course Korean dinner. Everything was delicious, even though I had to slightly force myself to taste some of the food because they looked really unfamiliar. It seemed that the meal was never-ending. The food just kept on coming until we can no longer count the number of dishes on the table.

Full course Korean dinner which left us surrendering in defeat from eating

Full course Korean dinner which left us surrendering in defeat from eating

Day 5:

This was the day of our JSA tour and lunch was included in the tour package. I honestly wasn’t expecting much because I read some reviews that the lunch provided wasn’t very good. But we were pleasantly surprised that the food was not that bad. In fact, it was sumptuous! The meat in the galbi tang (if I remember the name correctly) was very tender and spiced just right.

Lunch c/o Tour DMZ :)

Lunch c/o Tour DMZ 🙂

Then came my favorite discovery of our trip. We met up with a friend from college that night and just chose a random restaurant near Konkuk station. Ate Gellene ordered the dish that would made me forget my name. LOL. Haejangguk literally means hangover soup according to Google. But I didn’t need to be drunk to appreciate it. The best part is that one huge bowl cost us only 6,000 krw. I’m still searching for a Korean restaurant here in Manila that serves haejangguk.

The best meal I ate!

The best meal I ate!

Day 6:

Since we all loved samgyupsal and we realized that we spent 6 days in South Korea without showing our love for our favorite meal, we pigged out on samgyupsal for lunch and dinner. 😀

Samgyupsal would always have a special place in our stomachs

Samgyupsal would always have a special place in our stomachs

Day 7:

I was drawn like a magnet to a street stall selling egg bread in Myeongdong. I think it’s my favorite street food in South Korea ❤

Egg bread is the most amazing street food ever!

Egg bread is the most amazing street food ever!

Lunch was again samgyupsal. Because we realized it’s our last day in South Korea.

Samgyupsal for the third time <3

Samgyupsal for the nth time ❤

Tired from all the shopping we did in Myeongdong, we decided to just buy food from pojangmacha in Hongdae area. Because I was so hungry, I bought a lot but I wasn’t able to finish everything.

Pojangmacha in Hongdae area. There were many customers even though it was 8 degrees Celsius that night

Pojangmacha in Hongdae area. There were many customers even though it was 8 degrees Celsius that night

Dinner options

Dinner options

More dinner options. There were many more not pictured.

More dinner options. There were many more not pictured.

We all bought churros for dessert because the store claimed they were better than a boyfriend. LOL.

The churros was a great dessert

The churros was a great dessert

But I still love my boyfriend more. LOL

But I still love my boyfriend more. LOL

And aside from all the food we ate, we also bought Korean snacks to bring home. I can never get enough of Korean food.

Pasalubong shopping / hoarding before our trip back home.

Pasalubong shopping / hoarding before our trip back home.

Where to Stay in Hongdae, Seoul

South Korea Series:

How to Apply for a Korean Visa for Filipino Employees

8-Day South Korea Budget and Itinerary (Seoul + Jeju)

Exploring Seoul

Adventures in Jeju

What I Ate in South Korea

While planning for our South Korea itinerary, I spent the most time on finding our accommodations in Seoul. The sheer number of choices made my head spin. But as always, I relied on Agoda and TripAdvisor to help me out once we decided that we wanted to stay in Hongdae area.

Why Hongdae Area?

The Hongdae area is known for its trendy and youthful ambience due to its proximity to Hongik University. It houses a collection of unique cafes, fashion shops, clubs, art markets, street arts and all things that would call out to an artistic spirit. And we found this to be true. Every shop and cafe had its own unique theme, there were street arts left and right, and we found that there is an ongoing street performance every night we came home.

It is near the train station and we also didn’t have to walk far to look for wide array of food. We also planned to pub crawl but we were always tired upon returning home. Add to that the sudden drop of temperature at night. We always opted to go home and hibernate. Lol.

We stayed in 3 different guesthouses in Hongdae because we wanted to experience a variety of hostels while there. However, it was a little inconvenient to repeatedly pack our bags and lug them to the next guesthouse. It was the only con in this little adventure of ours.

Dream Comfort Guesthouse

To be honest, I was firstly attracted to the cute owl in their homepage. The positive reviews around the internet convinced me to book our first night in Seoul with them. Dream Comfort Guesthouse is located about 2 minutes away from Exit 2 of Hongik University subway station. They are located on their other side of Hongdae which means its quieter in that area. Nevertheless, there are several convenience stores, cafes and restaurants near the guesthouse so we didn’t have to walk far to look for food.

Dream Comfort's owl which I saw in almost every photo in their gallery

Dream Comfort’s owl which I saw in almost every photo in their gallery

The room assigned to us had a double bed, a bunk bed and a super comfy sofa where I chose to sleep that night.

Bunk bed where Jayvee and Karla's things slept

Bunk bed where Jayvee and Karla’s things slept

Jella and Karla's bed

Jella and Karla’s bed

The super comfy sofa I claimed as my bed as soon as I saw it

The super comfy sofa I claimed as my bed as soon as I saw it

The owner was waiting for us when we arrived and was so friendly. He showed us where to get food for breakfast and left us on our own after making sure we were settled in. He knew that we would be leaving very early the next morning for our flight to Jeju so he said his goodbye that time as well.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Dream Comfort Guesthouse was the cheapest among the 3 hostels where we stayed in Hongdae and the nearest to the subway station. I booked via Agoda when I saw that they had an ongoing promotion for our travel date which brought the rate down to 17,500 krw. 🙂

Common room

Common room

Location: Mapo-gu, Donggyo-ro 27gil 3-16, Seoul, Korea

Bunk Guesthouse

We also stayed for a night in Bunk Guesthouse and then we wished that we could have stayed a bit longer. Out of the 3, it seemed the newest and had the most cheerful ambience. It is also my favorite even if was the most expensive at 25,000 krw for a weekday stay (it’s 28,000 krw during weekends and holidays).

Reception area at Bunk Guesthouse

Reception area at Bunk Guesthouse

Patio. I imagined hanging out here but COLD.

Patio. I imagined hanging out here but COLD.

The owner, Brian, was very nice as well. To our pleasant surprise, we found out that he could understand and speak Filipino! It turns out that he stayed for a few years in the Philippines to study English. We stayed for a few minutes on the first floor so we could chat and exchange stories. It was very easy to communicate with Brian and he even helped out arrange for Jayvee and Karla’s tattoo appointments.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Dining area

Dining area

Our room was on the second floor and we had plenty of space. Each bed had a socket and individual reading light. We even had our own balcony which we never used because it was too damn cold outside.

I forgot to take a photo of our room so I lifted this off from Bunk Guesthouse's website.

I forgot to take a photo of our room so I lifted this off from Bunk Guesthouse’s website.

The only thing I didn’t like was going outside to access the toilets on the second floor. I braced myself for the cold each time I opened to door. The shower rooms were thankfully located in the inside hallway of our floor. Additionally, there was a water dispenser just outside our door which saved us a bit of money.

The guesthouse is located about 5 minutes away from Exit 8 or Exit 7 of the subway station.

Location: 19-1, Wausan-ro 29ra-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Urban Breaktime Guesthouse

After our night in Bunk Guesthouse, we transferred next door to Urban Breaktime Guesthouse. We stayed at their 6-Dormitory room for 3 nights. UBT’s dorm set-up is unique because the beds look more like capsule beds than bunk beds. Every one of us felt more privacy because of this even though there were 2 other guests bunking with us.

Entrance to Urban Breaktime Guesthouse

Entrance to Urban Breaktime Guesthouse

We had a pleasant stay at the guesthouse, though I would have liked to interact with the owners more. When we checked-in, we used the phone attached to the front door and they gave us the passcode to enter the guesthouse. It was the same process when we checked out.

A bed at the 6-dorm room costs 22,000 krw on weekdays and 25,000 krw on weekends and holidays. They have a peak season rate of 30,000 krw. Each bed had a curtains to give occupants privacy, an electric outlet and nightlight (but mine had none).

My bed at Urban Breaktime Guesthouse

My bed at Urban Breaktime Guesthouse

Space-wise, our dorm room at UBT was the smallest. We had to haul our luggage outside to the dining area when we were packing our stuff.

Our room didn't have a lot of floor space. The steps leading to the upper bunk beds and spaces between beds were made into storage spaces

Our room didn’t have a lot of floor space. The steps leading to the upper bunk beds and spaces between beds were made into storage spaces

I loved that our room was right next to the kitchen. The fridge was stocked with food for guests and we helped ourselves every morning for breakfast.

UBT's kitchen

UBT’s kitchen

Dining area

Dining area

Location: 21-1, Wausan-ro 29ra-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Summary:

I enjoyed our stay in all these guesthouses. They had almost the same facilities at different price points. But if I had to choose my favorite, it would be Bunk Guesthouse. We felt most comfortable there and the atmosphere was so fun and welcoming due to the guests and staff members. When I go back to Seoul, I think I’ll stay there again. 🙂

My favorite space at Bunk Guesthouse

My favorite space at Bunk Guesthouse

However, I think that no matter where you stay in Hongdae, it would still be walking distance to the subway station, restaurants, cafes, shops and bars. And have more or less the same amenities. It’s just a matter of finding the hotel or guesthouse which suits each traveler’s personality.

Adventures in Jeju

South Korea Series:

How to Apply for a Korean Visa for Filipino Employees

8-Day South Korea Budget and Itinerary (Seoul + Jeju)

Exploring Seoul

Where to Stay in Hongdae, Seoul

What I Ate in South Korea

Our flight to Jeju from Seoul was both funny and nerve-wracking. We missed the first train to Gimpo International Airport which meant that we just had enough time to check in, go through security and catch the boarding time. We arrived 30 minutes before the boarding time. Surprisingly, checking in was a breeze but we were stuck in line at the security checkpoint for a long time. There were several x-ray machines but at least 30 people were waiting in line at each one. I watched as our boarding notice flashed on the airport screens with my panic rising because there were 15 people in front of me. We wanted to skip the line and beg the officers to let us through first, but the language barrier prevented us from doing so. At long last, we got through security and ran towards our boarding gate. We were among the last to board. We thanked the lucky stars that we didn’t get left behind.

Upon arriving in Jeju International Airport, we immediately looked for Mr. Kang who would be our driver and tour guide for our 2 days in Jeju. He spoke only basic English but we were able to communicate with him just fine with the help of hand gestures and our basic Korean. He even took great photos of us! ❤

Our ride during our 2-day tour in Jeju

Our ride during our 2-day tour in Jeju

Our first stop was the house where we would be staying to drop our bags and meet our host.

Our Accommodation: Jeju Basecamp

Being such a popular tourist destination, Jeju can be quite expensive. Our initial choice for accommodation was the usual backpacker guesthouse. I was the one in charge of making the reservations, but nothing was calling out to me. I decided to look at AirBnbs and I found the gem that is Jeju Basecamp. It is near Jeju Airport with a view of Mt. Hallasan. It can accommodate up to 4 guests which was perfect for us. The photos of the house reeled me in and then I found out that the host was a traveler and mountaineer. We could exchange many travel stories with him! 😀

Living room

Living room

Our host's DIY bookshelf. The photos on display are his own.

Our host’s DIY bookshelf. The photos on display are his own.

The unit is located in the third floor of a low-rise condominium building. The photos accurately captured the place. It was very clean, organized and had everything we would need. Kyoungjin, the owner, gave us a tour before leaving us so he could go to work. And even though breakfast was not included in the rate, we were free to help ourselves with whatever we wanted from the fridge. We were too shy though. We only took water and some kimchi. Lol.

Our room

Our room

Excuse the mess of 4 ladies travelling together in almost-winter weather. Lol

Excuse the mess of 4 ladies travelling together in almost-winter weather. Lol

Spotless kitchen!

Spotless kitchen!

My favorite part of the house was the living room where pictures of Kyoungjin’s adventures are displayed (he’s an amazing photographer!). We hung out and ate dinner in the living room. Kyoungjin also joined us during our last night for a bit of drinking while we tried out the famous fire noodles. The fire noodles were delicious but very very spicy.

Photo wall at Jeju Basecamp

Photo wall at Jeju Basecamp

The total amount we paid for a 2-night stay in Jeju Basecamp for 4 people was Php 6469.11. Not too expensive by Jeju standards and we had more privacy than a guesthouse could have given 🙂

With our gracious host, Mr. Kyoungjin Choi :)

With our gracious host, Mr. Kyoungjin Choi 🙂

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