[Seoul, South Korea] Myeong-dong 명동 is one of Seoul’s busiest street, filled with shopping malls, beauty and fashion shops, and restaurants.
Not forgetting the rows and rows of Korean street food – which is hard to resist when you walk through.
It can get too touristy at times, but there is also because you can get really cheap facial masks and beauty products (luggage filled with paper masks, anyone?).
Here are some of the 10 Must-Go restaurants and cafes in Myeongdong. The good thing is, many open till late and you can still find food in the wee hours of the night.
(I wrote this because many friends and readers have asked for the “must-eats” in Myeongdong. So this is kind of the “standard” few places – I may have missed out some. There are many good restaurants found upstairs and at the basements.)
O’sulloc Tea House
Myeong-dong Branch 12, Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
오설록티하우스 – 명동점
(Get out through Exit 6 of Myeong-dong Station of Seoul Subway Line No. 4, turn left, and go straight for 370m. The store is on the right.)
서울특별시 중구 명동7길 12 (명동1가)
Opening Hours: 9am – 10:30pm (Sun – Thurs), 9am – 11pm (Fri – Sat)
Google Maps – O’sulloc Tea House
Popular Korean Green Tea Cafe In Seoul
Somehow, almost every friend I know who been to Seoul has found (will find) his/her way there.
Many will use the opportunity to get the O’Sulloc Matcha Green Tea Milk Spread – I usually buy the Milk Tea boxes and green tea powder.
The Myeong-dong branch includes three floors which has seating areas, tea merchandise section, and even a meeting room. Level 1 feels more of a take-and-go, while Level 2 are filled with groups of friends just chilling their time away.
Drinks wise, the recommended include the Osulloc Green Tea Latte (5,500 Won for Hot, 6,000 Won for Iced), Jeju Tangerine Milk Tea (7,000 Won), Green Tea O Fredo (7,000 Won), and Apple Honey Tea Latte (7,000 Won for Hot and 7,500 Won for Iced).
People usually get their hands of some of the Green Tea Roll (5,000 Won) or Green Tea Tiramisu – which is what I prefer. O’sulloc Tea House (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Isaac Toast Myeongdong
105 Toegye-ro, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 752 3002
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Must-Have Korean Breakfast Toast In Seoul
While there are many branches all around in Seoul, this kiosk at Myeongdong with no seating space, seems to be the most popular.
The Myeongdong outlet serves up 7 varieties of toast, including Bulgalbi (3,200 Won), Bulgogi (2,800 Won), Hot Tteokgalbi (3,200 Won), Hot Chicken (3,000 Won), Steak Ham (2,800 Won), Bacon Best (2,800 Won) and Ham Special (2,400 Won).
That is between SGD$2.85 to SGD$3.80, making it a rather affordable and filling breakfast.
I first had a Bulgalbi Toast (3,200 Won), freshly made on the spot, filled with grilled beef patty, egg, cheese, pickles and cabbage.
Upon the first bite, I realised what the hype was all about. It was simple stuff made particularly good.
There was a lot going out in a toast, with some special sauce and sweet honey which gave the bread a tinge of appetising sweetness.
Tip: There is now another Isaac Toast within the main beauty street – that has a lot less people. Isaac Toast (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Myeongdong Kyoja 명동교자
29, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul (Myeong-dong 2-ga)
서울특별시 중구 명동10길 29 (명동2가)
Tel: +82-2-776-5348 (Main outlet)
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 9:30pm
Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8.
Upon exiting the station, turn left onto Myeongdong 10-gil Road.
Go straight about 150m to arrive at Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자) on the right
Google Maps – Myeongdong Kyoja
Michelin Bib Gourmand Kalguksu Noodles & Dumplings Shop
Having been around for more than 40 years, Myeongdong Kyoja claims to be the founders of handmade Kalguksu noodles, which literally means noodles made by cutting flour dough into thin slices by knife.
It occupies a 3-storey shop-space, completely filled when I visited, despite having a rather lean menu.
There were just 4 items on sale – Kalguksu ‘chopped noodle’ soup (8,000 Won, SGD9.60), Bibimguksu spicy noodle soup (8,000 Won, SGD9.60), Mandu dumplings (10,000 Won, SGD12), Kongguksu noodles in cold soybean soup – available during summer time.
The one dish that I really enjoyed and would recommend (more than the Kalguksu) would be the Bibimguksu – cold soft wheat noodles tossed in this special spicy red pepper paste sauce. Myeongdong Kyoja (Myeongdong, Seoul)
MiGaBon 味加本 (미가본)
2F, 2-2, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 중구 명동2가 2-23, 2F
Tel: +82 2 752 0330
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – MiGaBon Restaurant
Warm And Comforting Korean Porridge
If you have walked to this stretch at Myeongdong nearer to the cathedral side, you would notice two simultaneous queues outside this block of restaurants.
One to Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯, the other is to MiGaBon 味加本 (미가본) upstairs.
Founded in 2005, MiGaBon features Juk (죽) which is Korean porridge, along with Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) and a selection of beverages.
As a restaurant that specializes in Juk, MiGaBon features more than 20 kinds of porridge in its menu, from Vegetable, Mushroom, Abalone, Mushroom and Beef, Broccoli Shrimp, King Crab, Ginseng and Chicken to Aged Pollack and Bean Sprout.
The popular choice was the Mushroom and Beef Porridge (8,000 Won, SGD9.59) which combined sliced shiitake mushroom with minced beef.
The first spoon sent me some chills. Perhaps because I was so used to a diet of rich and robust food, having something that looked so plain and simple yet flavourful was unexpected.
My friend remarked, ”I have porridge all my life, but this is quite out of the ordinary.” MiGaBon 味加本 (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯
2-23, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga ,Jung–gu, Seoul (near Myeongdong Station)
서울특별시 중구 명동2가 2-23
Tel: +82 02-777 4531
Opening Hours: 24 Hours Daily
Google Maps – Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯
Traditional Korean Breakfast Dish of Ox-Bone Soup
Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯 specialises in the traditional Korean breakfast dish of ox-bone soup. Not considered common in my part of the world though, and its popularity got me intrigued enough.
The restaurant which is in operations since 1981, is a chain with multiple locations all across Korea and this branch at Myeongdong is especially famous amongst tourists.
The good news for diners is, it is opened for 24 so you can head down any time of the day to satisfy your cravings.
Some of the signatures include the classic Seolleongtang – ox-bone stew with boiled rice (7000 Won, 10000 Won for large), the Baekse Seolleongtang (11,000 Won) which is a premium special ox bone soup, the Mandu Seolleongtang which comes with dumplings on top of the classic base (8000 Won), Tteokguk Seolleongtang (7500 Won) which comes with Korean rice cakes on top of the classic base.
As the broth looked cloudy, I thought it would have been much more flavoursome. The taste was rather clean, and felt ‘healthy’ and nutritious. Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯 (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Myeong-dong 2ga, 2-2, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 310 9174
Huge Plate of chicken, Barious vegetables In Spicy Ganjang Sauce
Andong Jjimdak is a famous Korean dish, known to be served in a HUGE plate with plentiful of ingredients of chicken, vegetables marinated in a ganjang Korean soy based spicy sauce.
I usually need to gather 3-4 of my ‘K-Food’ friends for this, as attempting to finish one on your own is not encouraged.
There are a couple of branches found around Myeongdong, and they keep updating their menu. You can go for their Original, Boneless Jjimdak, Seafood Jjimdak and Mayak Jjimdak. Best sharing food to have during winter times.
20 – 8 Myeongdong 7ga-Gil Jung-Gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2779 3610
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Mon – Sun)
40-Year Old Restaurant Specialising In Seokkeo Jjigae (Squid Stew)
Geumgang Bogeul Bogeul is a 3rd generation Seokkeo Jjigae restaurant with a 40-year history.
Seokkeo Jjigae is made by simmering squid and pork with a hot pepper paste-based sauce.
Geumgang Bogeul Bogeul serves up a variety of stews, including Ojingeo Seokkeo Jjigae – Squid Stew (9000 Won Per Helping/Person), Osambulgogi – Cuttlefish with grilled pork belly and vegetables (10,000 Won Per Helping), and Beef Intestine Stew (12,000 Won Per Helping).
I had the signature original Mixed Stew (8,000 Won Per Helping), with a pot of cuttlefish, sausage noodles, pork, udon, tofu, vegetables and ramen noodles cooked in a semi-spicy sauce.
Compared to the usual Army Stew that we are used to, this has a stronger, richer seafood taste which could give the base some sweetness. The texture is thinner, also because it doesn’t use canned tomato beans to thicken the sauce. Geumgang Bogeul Bogeul (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Shimsontang 심슨탕 – Myeongdong
2-3 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울시 중구 명동2가 2-3
Tel: +82 2-776-0440
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm
Popular Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) Restaurant Owned By Korean Celebrity
If you are looking for Army Stew aka Budae Jjigae in South Korea, especially during the colder winter months, Shimsontang 심슨탕 (or Simpson Tang) comes recommended by a couple of friends.
Part of the reason is that it is co-owned by Korean singer Hwangbo, so there is that Korean celebrity effect.
There are 5 styles served – Original Shimson Stew, Curry, Kimchi, Soft Tofu and Beef Tripe. All are priced at 8000 Won to 9000 Won per person (SGD9.70, SGD10.90), considered quite reasonable as its customer base is generally youth and students.
You can add on extra ramen noodles, ham, sliced noodles (they called it “chopped noodles”) or rice from 1000 to 5000 Won.
Compared to other bases which would be thicker and somewhat sweeter and spicier, this was more savoury and flavourful, texture almost like beef Borscht soup. Shimsontang 심슨탕 (Myeongdong, Seoul)
Myeongdong Sundubu (명동순두부)
199-50 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Near Eulchiro 1-ga Station)
Jung-gu Euljiro 2-ga 199-50
Tel: +82 2 755 1878
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 9:30pm (Mon-Sat) Last orders 9:00pm
Google Maps – Myeongdong Sundubu
Comforting And Spicy Soft Tofu Stew
Myeongdong Sundubu 명동순두부 is known for its homemade pure tofu, made twice a day using a special machine.
It offers a variety of comforting Sundubu (sometimes spelt as “Soondubu”) Jjigae – soft silky tofu cooked in a spicy stew served in a sizzling pot.
You may need some form of navigation looking for this restaurant, especially when it is located at the basement. It is a few shops away from Geumgang Bogeul Bogeul, a 40-year old Squid Stew eatery.
There are 7 types of Sundubu offered, from the basic Kimchi (8,000 Won), Seafood (8,000 Won), Sesame (10,000 Won), Beef Brisket (12,000 Won), Beef (15,000 Won) to the Assorted Soft Tofu Bowl with Beef Brisket, Abalone and Seafood (20,000 Won).
Serving nutritious food is important, so the restaurant do not use chemical seasonings for all their soups. Instead, they use natural ingredients like vegetables and seafood to create the stock.
The spiciness of the stew pairs well with the rice, cooked in a stone pot. Myeongdong Sundubu (Myeongdong, Seoul)
BHC Chicken Myeongdong
21 Myeongdong 7-gil, Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu (Euljiro 1-ga Station, Line 2 Exit 5)
Tel: +82 2 319 7033
Opening Hours: 2:00pm – 12:00mn
Google Maps – BHC Chicken Myeongdong
Crispy Korean Fried Chicken Endorsed By Jun Ji Hyun
BHC Chicken or “Better & Happier Choice” is one of most popular Korean Fried Chicken chains, having opened over 1,000 stores since 2004.
The BHC Chicken outlet in Myeongdong is a perfect spot for a late bite, as it opens up to 12 midnight.
The popular BHC flavours include Sweet Garlic Soy Sauce Chicken (19,000 Won), and Boneless Sprinkle Chicken (19,000 Won) sprinkled with flavour seasoning, cheese, onion, and garlic.
Other choices include Crispy Chicken (17,000 Won), Soy Sauce Chicken Leg (19,000 Won), Sauce Chicken (18,000 Won), and Spicy Sauce Chicken (18,000 Won).
Surprisingly, the chicken pieces were considered above average. They came piping hot, expected with crunchy exterior and juicy meat.
Even while it was heavily seasoned outside, the flavour of the meat didn’t get lost in all of that. BHC Chicken (Myeongdong, Seoul)