Breakfast at Myeongdong Kyoja Restaurant
25-2, Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Running on bulgogi and other typical Korean dishes for two days already, we decided to shake things up a little and try this restaurant in Myeongdong that serves soups and dumplings. Lotsa people, both local and foreign, rave about Myeongdong Kyoja’s modest menu of only four options and its distinctive kimchi- and we were right to listen.
We all had the kalguksu (thick chicken broth with soft noodle and garnish) and the mandu (a thinly-wrapped dimsum stuffed with pork, vegetables, and leak). While the soup was pleasantly rich in flavor and had smooth noodles, it was the mandu that hit the spot for its juiciness and the feeling of it melting in your mouth. As for the kimchi, it was so spicy that it cleared my morning sinuses right out. And given the fact that I’m not big on spicy food, I let my friend, Rossini, relish it instead.
Each of the four dishes on the menu costs 8,000 KRW each. Absolutely not bad for first-class mains and the efficient service. Try not to miss it! But be warned of the long queues during lunch and dinner times, so go in between or for brunch like we did.
Lunch at Noryangjin Fish Market
688 Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul
I stumbled upon the Noryangjin Fish Market while searching online for places to check out in Seoul and it appealed to me so much that I instantly put it on the top of my list. It’s a 24/7 indoor seafood market that houses hundreds of stalls selling everything (local and imported) from shellfish, fish, octopus, crabs, and what not. If it swims, chances are you’ll find it at this market- in eye-popping variety.
The SOP is similar to most seafood markets wherein you handpick the grub that best tickles your fancy and the vendor will scoop it up and basically kill it in front of you. You then head to one of the restaurants found inside the market, tell them how you want it prepared, and everything will be yours to devour.
Prices may be a little steep, but everything is very negotiable and the restaurants only charge 10,000-20,000 KRW per person to prepare, cook, and serve your fresh seafood along with some sides of usually lettuce, wasabi, kimchi, corn, and fish paste/sauce. Don’t forget to have some soju (their version of the Japanese sake) to top it all off and make your experience more Korean!
Since I’m crazy about seafood, I wanted to try a whole lot, but because I was with my brother who loves his steaks and is quite unadventurous with food, we just had a monster plate of sashimi (which was amazing), prawns, and some hot and spicy Korean fish soup. If I get the chance to visit Seoul again, I’ll head back to Noryangjin for sure and have my unconditional love for seafood reciprocated more properly.
YTN Seoul Tower
San 1-3, Yongsan-dong 2-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
The Seoul Tower (officially “YTN Seoul Tower”) is one of the city’s most popular tourist sites. For 9,000 KRW or less (depending on one’s age), you could climb or take a cable car up the mountain and access the observation tower (370 meters above sea level) giving you a bird’s-eye view of Seoul. Other than that, there are a few more things to see in and around the tower such as exhibits, the Teddy Bear Museum (which we didn’t check out) and the rows of love locks. Apparently it’s a favorite location for many Korean films and TV shows.
It would have been better to have gone in time to see the sunset, but we tried to avoid the crowds. And considering that Seoul doesn’t exactly have a great skyline, the view from the top isn’t that special. It’s nice, but it won’t blow you away. Plus with the number of tourists competing with the number of love locks was quite off-putting. It’s worth a visit specially when you’re with someone special, but I don’t think it begs a second one.