Going on a trip to South Korea? Make sure to make a stop at Myeong Dong, the street food capital of the city. They've got everything here! From the best skin care score, to the most delicious cheesy lobster cooked right in front of you. They've got it all covered! You would need to spend at least half a day in this area to make sure you make the most out what this place has to offer. It also helps to know what you're looking for. Since I can't cover both food and cosmetics in one post, because I have many stories to tell, this one will focus on the food part of Myeong Dong (priorities, I know).
If you're a traveler on a tight schedule, let me help you narrow down your options. Here are the 8 things you should not miss on your epic food trip in Myeong Dong, Seoul:
1. Lobsters with Cheese
At the top of my list is lobster cooked in its own shell, topped with cheese, and torched until melted to gooey goodness. YUM. Some stalls will put a sweet spicy sauce on top before they hand it over to you. Of course, you can have it without the sauce, if spicy is not your thing. (Or in my case, if sauce is not your thing). One order costs W 15,000. That's around $13.50. The price of food here is generally the same, and people don't haggle. Aside from lobsters, you can have the same wonderful cheesy goodness with scallops cooked the same way! I had so much seafood during this trip, and I am actually allergic. But whatever. That's what modern science is for.
2. Egg Cake
This humble little pastry doesn't look like much. I actually passed it a few times before I brought myself to buy one. But not to have it will be missing out! It's closest to a bibinka, those charcoal street cakes they sell in Manila during the Christmas season. Just the right amount of sweet and salty, made with almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds. At the center of the little cake is one egg baked inside it. These little egg cakes are cheap W 2000 a piece, around $1.8. One of the cheapest things you can find on the streets of Myeong Dong. How's that for a treat.
3. Shrimp Kebabs
Grilled in a sweet spicy sauce, shrimp kebabs topped with a heap of bonito flakes are not to be missed. Some stalls sell them skewered together with pieces of local sausage, but my preference is all shrimp. They serve it in a cup, cooked upon order. So this usually will take a few minutes before you can enjoy. Around W 10,000, $9 depending on what you order.
4. Grilled Meat
Beef, chicken or pork, for W 3000 a skewer. Just your classic Korean barbecued meat off the street. They grill it for you, and have an assortment of sauces you can add once cooked. Terriyaki, pork chop, classic bbq, chili. It's difficult to tell them apart honestly, because most of them are spicy. But there are Korean and English labels on the sauce pots, to help you choose so don't worry. Also, it's better to eat this standing near the stall because it drips. Stalls that sell this will have a covered floor area. Stay inside it! Be a responsible tourist and help keep the streets clean. Gomapseumnida!
5. Baked Cheese
BAKED CHEESE! Go to Korea and eat it. Actually, it's grilled cheese. Strips of cheese coated in a special breading so as not to burn it, and cooked over a grill. Like how they would do with meats. It comes out nice and melty. I've noticed that Koreans really like their melted cheese. They put it on everything! Lobster, shellfish, even on bbq ribs! But I'm not complaining. Not one bit! Bring on the cheese!
6. Flower Ice Cream
Look for Milky Bee, Premium Milk Ice Cream. They sell desserts almost too pretty to eat. I'm not much of a sweet tooth, but if you are, you'll have your most beautiful cone here in Korea. They're quite known for their desserts, and this is one of the things they have all year round. We came in during the winter season and the place was still as packed as it would be on a hot sunny day. Speaking of ice cream, they also have ones in a fish waffle! Like the Korean ice cream we know back home. Except that this one is on a warm fish shaped waffle, and the ice cream is scooped inside the fish's open mouth. The treat is completed with a honeycomb slice placed on top of your perfect cone. If you're a Man VS Food kind of person, you should go for the ice cream tower. At 32cm high, this shall be the tallest ice cream cone you will ever have in your lifetime. One serving is good enough for 2 people, but who am I to stop you from taking on a real challenge.
7. Strawberry Mochi
Actually, strawberries in general when they're in season. Winter is the best time to have strawberries in Korea. They grow so beautifully, and huge too almost the size of your palm. Not to mention really sweet. Iv'e lost count of how many of these I've had during my 2 week stay. I made sure to have a stash at home all the time. Anyaway, back to Myeong Dong! You can buy a pack of strawberries during this time of the year for W 8000, around $7. The price varies depending on the size of the fruit. Packs with bigger strawberries are more expensive, around W 10,000 to 15,000. But still not bad considering quality is at its peak. You can also find other strawberry treats. Pastries, or fruit dipped in chocolate or caramel. But my favorite one is strawberry mochi. I tried this for the first time during my last trip to Japan in March of 2016, it was the tail end of winter, so they were still in season. YES! Anyway, the Korean version is sweeter. Japan's was a little bit more tart. It's a a single strawberry wrapped in mochi with sweet bean paste inside. If you happen to go during the winter, this should be at the top of your list!
8. Grilled Corn
Sounds underwhelming, I know. But it's not! I'm a huge fan of good sweet corn. Especially the grilled ones, which is what they have over at Myeong Dong. Some stalls just serve it plain, which is what I had because I really like the taste of the grill. There are also stalls that rub it Mexican style, with a little bit of Asian flare. Thick cream, spices and bonito flakes!
There you have it! My top 8 street food picks at Myeong Dong. I've always believed that food is part of every city's culture. If you want to know more about a new place, go have their food. It's one of the things that transforms you from tourist to traveler. So what are you waiting for, pack your bags and book a trip to Korea! If this was helpful, like, and hit me in the comments section below.
Anyoung hee gaseyo!