My first trip to Korea could NOT be complete without a Seoul food tour.
I teamed up with local Seoul O’ngo Food Tours for a night dining adventure to experience four different restaurants and drink the night away.
The night of the tour, we made our way to the O’ngo’s Food Tours office location which wasn’t too far from where we were staying in Gangnam.
The walks to each stop was filled with little pit stops outside of places we did not go to but we learned a bit about each neighborhood we were in, the significance of it in Korean history, and were able to ask any questions.
Our first stop was, of course, a traditional Korean BBQ restaurant.
All the meat and sides (banchans) were quickly placed for each of us and everybody learned the rules of drinking somek (a mix of soju and Korean beer). Soju is Korean liquor made from potato – it tastes better cold and like rubbing alcohol when not so don’t let it get too warm! Drinking (and eating) is a great way to connect and we were able to introduce ourselves to the other travelers in our group. This first stop was more than enough food and soon, we were off to the second.
The second stop was another traditional food stop where we sampled plum wine (delicious) and toppoki – typically a street food.
We tried seafood toppoki. Toppoki is made from hot & spicy rice cakes but you can also get it not spicy. Since ours was seafood, there was shrimp & mussels in the red spicy sauce. (If you come, you can try others as well). We were able to sample both and it was delicious. Toppoki is considered comfort food and I can see why – it’s chewy and filling with just the right amount of kick. The plum wine was sweet and refreshing – a nice drink to the toppoki.
We slowly made our way to our third stop – a Korean fried chicken & beer joint.
Now if you know me, I LOVE LOVE Korean food but I really have a thing for Korean fried chicken because there’s so many different varieties of fried chicken. There’s different flavors, different levels of spiciness, different levels of crispness of the skin even so I was super excited to have this on the list of food places to visit. We sat down on long wooden tables and promptly served with pitchers of cold & frosty beer and soon baskets of generous helpings of fried chicken was piled on our plates. We were able to try three different flavors and imbibed more than enough beer.
Another pro-life tip: a lot of the people in our tour was stuffed at this point so pace yourself!
Fourth and last stop: Dessert!
Our last stop ended with a light & sweet dessert & tea shop. We had green tea shave ice similar to bing soo if you’ve had Korean desserts before. It was a nice relaxing stop before the night’s end. Our guide told us more about Korean culture, food, and again asked us about any questions we may have.
It was awesome that Janice – our tour manager was also on the tour just to make sure everything was as smooth as could be. Our tour guide (John) was very friendly and spoke great English. All the tour guides are happy to show you Seoul and tell you about their culture, food, nightlife, and traditions. I highly recommend making a reservation at O’ngo Food Tours in Seoul if you’ve in the area. There’s many other day/evening tour options besides that one we went on.