March 17, 2017

Halal Foods in Seoul, South Korea.



I know that it's been months since I came back from my trip to Korea and also months since I promised to do a write-up about my 5 days itinerary there. See, Anis is not Anis if she doesn't procrastinate. I should have started working on the topic now rather than mumbling nonsense here but I haven't actually finish outlining the content of that itinerary post. To make it up, I'm going to share about something as important as the travel plan; it's about finding halal foods.

According to Korean Muslim Federation (KMF), the recorded number of Muslims living in Korea (both Koreans and foreigners) only goes up to 150,000 people (source). Comparing to the total population (50,503,933 up to the year 2016), it means that roughly, the number doesn't even reach 0.03% of the total population there. South Korean is also generally known to be big in the consumption of alcohol and pork, which are coincidentally the two main things that Muslim are not allowed to eat. On top of the slaughter method issue, that is why the chances to encounter halal or Muslim-friendly foods there is pretty low unless you already have a plan in mind.


Most halal restaurants in Seoul are saturated in the Itaewon area, which is also known as the expat-friendly neighbourhood in Korea. The Seoul Mosque is also located there and because of that a lot of Muslim people tend to visit Itaewon when they are trying to look for a halal food place. In my five days of travel there, I was the only Muslim among all of my colleagues; therefore, I had no other choice but to take care of my own meal. I have a few places in my list & I decided to split them up by areas for your easy reference:

Hongdae


This area is where I stayed at for the first three days I was there. Luckily, the only halal restaurant in Hongdae that I was able to look up on the internet is also located just about 10 minutes from my guest house. The restaurant is actually a part of a guest house called the Boa Travel House. Initially, they only offer 'dosirak' foods (packed meal) but now they already have a fully opened halal Korean food restaurant at the ground floor of the guest house. They use only halal certified ingredients in their foods and the staffs there are very friendly. I remember arriving a tad earlier than their usual opening time with my Korean friend Sue but the lady there kindly ushered me in and took my order. Because I was planning to go to Itaewon later in the evening, I decided to order only Kimbap (5000KRW) and Rabokki which is the Korean Spicy Rice Cake added with Ramyeon noodles (8000KRW).


Address:
(Near exit 3 Hongik station): 
15, Sinchon-ro 1-gil, Seodaemun-gu
Seoul, South Korea
Opening Time: 12PM-9PM (Closed Mon-Tues)

Itaewon


Because my last trip was relatively short, I was able to only visit one among of all the Halal restaurants available in the Itaewon area which is the Eid Restaurant. It's located right nearby the Seoul Mosque along the halal street so it's very easy to find. It's a relatively small but packed restaurant and has a very homey feel to it. The menu seems to vary depending on the days but I managed to try out their Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng Soup) and Bulgogi (Stir Fry Beef). I can't seem to recall the price but it was around 10,000krw per meal. Of course, you will get the usual banchan (side dishes like kimchi) and rice together too. Honestly, I can't forget the taste of the soft chicken with the clear broth. Even my local friend agree that the taste doesn't fall far from what the Korean usually eat.


Address: 
67, Usadan-ro 10-gil,
Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Opening Time: 
11.30 AM - 9 PM (Closed Monday)

Next restaurants in Itaewon that were on my list was the Makan Halal Korean Restaurant and Murree Muslim Food but I didn't have enough time to try them on my last visit. They are on my next to try list for my next trip there!

Makan Halal Korean Restaurant
Address:
(A few doors away from Eid)
52, Usadan-ro 10 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea 140-911
Opening Time: 10.30AM - 10PM (Closed Tuesday)

Murree Muslim Food

Address:
(Itaewon Line 6 Exit 3> walk straight, turn right at kebab store > passed Salam Bakery)
140-7 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-858
Opening Time: 10.30 AM-11 PM


Myeongdong


I was in Myeongdong for only a short half day, and it was mainly because I wanted to stock up on the Korean makeup and skincare. I went there during the morning time and it was a little rainy so I wasn't able to try much of the street food there. Luckily, my Korean colleague Serena treated me to a Grilled Octopus which I found to have a very addicting taste!


On a side note, I recently learned that there is a halal restaurant located in Myeongdong called the Busanjib that I will definitely be visiting there on my next time in Korea and I promise that I shall share about the experience in another write-up.

Address:
I can't seem to find the exact address but from the comments, it's easy to find from Myeongdong station (Exit 6 & 7). On the main street from Uniqlo, go straight down until you find an Apple Machine store, turn right into a small alley and walk further about 20m.

Vegetarian Restaurants

There are days that I just can't seem to find any halal restaurants nearby to have my meal. Through some research, I've discovered some vegetarian restaurants that I can visit as a last option. Unfortunately, I can't seem to be able to recall the place I went (it was the busiest day of the 5 days trip) too but there are a lot of them are all listed in the HHWT app so you guys can see the vegetarian restaurant listing there (the one I went to was in Insadong). I went there with my Korean friend Jina, and ordered myself the Kongguksu or Chilled Soy Milk Noodle Soup. So happy that I finally got to try it. I always see them eating this dish during a hot summer time and I can see why. It's very refreshing!

Kongguksu (Chilled Soy Milk Noodle Soup)


Other To Try List:

Let's be real, in such a short 5 days, I didn't have enough time to explore whole of Seoul let alone visit and eat at all of my halal restaurant listings. Most of the time, I was either depending on my trusty Banana Milk or like I said above, trying to find a vegetarian restaurant as my last option. On my next trip, I'm also planning to visit these eateries below (some are outside Seoul):

My trusty friend :D

1. Yang Good BBQ, Yeoksam

What's good: Halal Lamb BBQ

Address:
(Yeoksam Line 2)
Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Nonhyeon-ro, 95 gil, 15

Opening Time: 3PM-2AM

2. Nami-ok, Gyeonggido

What's good: Halal Dalkgalbi

Address:
(Take taxi, 15 mins from Nami Island Ferry Dock)
786-2 Eupnae-ri, Gapyeong-eup,
Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
경기도 가평군 가평읍 읍내리 786-2

Opening Time: 9 AM- 8 PM

3. Dongmun, Nami Island

Address:
1 Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon,
Chun-cheon-si, Gang-won-do

Opening Time:
10AM-7PM(Weekdays & Winter)
10 AM - 8 PM(Weekends & Non-Winter)

These restaurants listed above are mainly halal or Muslim-friendly establishment that serves authentic Korean dishes. If you want to look for other restaurants (halal middle east food etc) in Seoul, you can check out this link for further reference. I discovered these Korean restaurants mentioned above through some research I did online. Websites like Have Halal Will Travel is also a great place to start especially for a travel newbie. Hope this helps!

Till next post, toodles~! ♥ミ

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