The Best Bibimbap Spots in Seoul are…
The wildly popular and healthy Bibimbap is one of Korea’s foods that everyone who comes here on their first trip must try. Even if you have to be more of a meat lover than a veggie enthusiast. According to ancient Korean philosophy of Obangsaek, Bibimbap has the power to balance the spirit. And it’s damn delicious to boot. Time to find the best bibimbap restaurants in Seoul!
A typical dish of bibimbap has rice, a variety of vegetables like carrots, zucchinis, mushrooms with eggs, beef, some sesame oil and some red pepper paste. Sometimes it comes out in a roasting hot stone bowl that’ll keep the rice and sides sizzling till the last bite. Sometimes the ingredients change, depending on the restaurant you eat at. Although there’s nothing too fancy about bibimbap, there are a few exceptional few who will do bibimbap lovers proud. Here’s some of the best ones out there in Seoul that will make you either double up on the portion or come back for seconds later on.
Adored by the older generations particularly, This place is packed with a highly traditional Korean ambiance. The speciality of Gogung is bibimbap. With live traditional Korean music performances can be enjoyed in the evening time. and staff dresses exclusively in hanbok, Gogung lives up to its name, which literally means ‘old palace.’ Gogung also has its fair share of tourists too so don’t be fooled into thinking that Gogung is your typical tourist trap. Even Korean diplomats frequent Gogung as well, who enjoy surprising their guests with its casual atmosphere. The variety of bibimbap ranges from the classics, such as Jeonju (which uses ingredients delivered directly from Jeonju) and dolsot bibimbap to specialty dishes such as nakji (octopus) and yukhoe(beef tartare) bibimbap. The price too is decent, nothing too high. It is open from 10.30am till 10pm. Gogung can be found near Myeong-dong.
Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan
This tiny Myeongdong restaurant is a blink and you could miss it kinda establishment, but comes highly recommended in travel guide for its taste which is more vibrant, somewhat sweeter, and for sure more intense than the traditional Korean bibimbap you can eat at other establishments. Thanks to its unique twist on a beloved dish, Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan has been around for 46 years and counting, this place is poupular with Japanese tourists especially, also both locals and Western tourists seem to find this place with ease (maybe thanks to the unique aroma of the bibimbap). Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan is famous for the Jeonju bibimbap, but this restaurant also serves up a succulent dolsot bibimbap, which cooks rice made with beef broth and flavored soy bean paste in a hot stone pot until the bottom is slightly scorched. After, it is topped off with various sautéed vegetables. This places comes cheap so eat 2 bowls if you wish. Open from 8.30 till 10.30pm.
One of just two Korean restaurants that are located in a luxury hotels in Seoul, the Ondal restaurant at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel is located on the mountain of Acha and offers a view of the Han River over on the eastern side of Seoul. This fine-dining restaurant prides itself on its rich legacy, having been host to quite a few dignitaries, such as the members of the Korean G20 summit, and basing its menu upon the traditional royal cuisine of the Joseon dynasty. Its bibimbap is created with ingredients of the highest quality (all vegetables are fresh and organic), Everything is prepared using a combination of modern and classic techniques sourced from historical research in cooking texts of ages past. The price is high, but then what do you expect. There is a lunch time of 12pm till 3pm and then dinner time of 6pm to 10pm.
Sae Byuk Jib
Sae Byuk Jib literally means ‘House Of Dawn’. Unsurprisingly, given that it is a galbi (steak) restaurant first and foremost, it specializes in yukhoe (raw beef) as a topping for bibimbap. Though yukhoe is an acquired taste (try at your own discretion, even some Koreans can’t deal with it). Sae Byuk Jib’s yukhoe bibimbap has a fond following among food critics and locals. And for just 8,000 won per bowl, you can’t go wrong. The bibimbap also comes with a side of seonjitguk (a soup with coagulated blood) Again another distinctive, daring dish which richly rewards those with the guts to give it a try. An English menu is available on demand. As you read up above, the price of the dish is quite low. The restaurant is open all hours.
This gorgeous hanok restaurant was erected by the Seoul government with the aim of promoting Korean cuisine. Named after the ancient Mokmyeok, the mountain which is now called Namsan, the traditional wooden house has a small yet polished interior with warm lighting and a welcoming air to it. After arriving, you can see that the place is kept clean and spotless wherever you look. With metal bowls and wooden trays, the interior is classic old-school Korean, further emphasized by the brass kettles in which Korean teas and makgeolli are also on the menu. Enjoy your meal with delightfully friendly service, or enjoy the al fresco dining and the eye catching view of Myeongdong and the Namsan tower. The price is decent, nothing too high and it’s open from 11am till 9pm.
If you know another Bibimbap place that should be more well known. Then by all means, drop its name in the comment box and let others experience the wonderful taste of Korea’s ancient food. And if you wish to make bibimbap by yourself, then follow this helpful video.