What to Eat in Seoul | 4 Super Fresh Foods to Try in Spring
Figuring out what to eat in Seoul could justifiably take over your entire trip to Korea if you let it. You wouldn’t be the first. After all, there’s delicious food to be found in every nook and cranny of this tiny little country.
Always a good thing, since eating ALL THE FOOD is one of the most incredible parts of traveling, wouldn’t you say?
In this Seoul food guide, you’ll discover exactly what to eat during the spring months of March, April and May. You’ll also find recommendations for every budget to help you find the absolute best places to try all these amazing Korean foods.
In this guide
- 1 Why Choose What to Eat in Seoul by Season?
- 2 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 3 What to eat in Seoul during Spring
- 4 Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea
Why Choose What to Eat in Seoul by Season?
When I first moved to Seoul from Canada, I went to a grocery store looking for cilantro. Because you know, in Canada, despite the 6 month winters and sub-zero temps, you can get pretty much anything you want, at any time of the year.
After perusing the totally confusing vegetable section for awhile and failing, I finally worked up the nerve to ask for some in my horrible Korean. And the response when I asked?
IN THE AUTUMN.
And that’s when I learned that food and grocery in Korea is incredibly seasonal. Simply put, there are some things you just CAN’T get at certain times of the year. Not necessarily a bad thing if you ask me. Because it means that by choosing what to eat in Seoul by season, you’re guaranteed to get the best, tastiest, and most nutritious food possible.
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What to eat in Seoul during Spring
Ahh spring in Seoul! That means warmer temperatures, blossoming flowers, and new life. This Seoul food guide will help you figure out the best things to eat in Korea during the months of March, April, and May.
Spring Namul | 나물
Namul refers to a variety of edible grasses or leaves, that are commonly served as banchan or side dishes in Korean cuisine. In spring time, namul are super fresh, packed with vitamins and incredibly tasty. Look out for mugwort, gondre, fernbrake, and wild chives, when deciding what to eat in Seoul, during spring.
Seoul Food Guide | Places to Eat Spring Namul in Seoul
Wondering where to eat Buddhist Temple food in Seoul? Sanchon is the place to go for fresh namul and an incredible atmosphere. You’ll be treated to a unique menu of Korean dishes that are carefully prepared using in-season vegetables and time-honoured techniques.
If you’d like to enjoy a free traditional folk performance, time your reservation for between 7:30 and 8PM. Performances run from 8 – 8:40. Find more details here.
Check out Bon Bibimbap (본비빔밥) if Sanchon is a bit out of your budget. You’ll find affordable and flavourful mixed rice bowls loaded with the fresh veggies of the season. You’ll easily find this restaurant chain all over Seoul.
MICHELIN STAR MUGUNGHWA | Seoul has its fair share of Michelin Star restaurants now, but Mugunghwa is one of the constants. Indulge in modern Korean cuisine served on the 38th floor of the Lotte Hotel, with incredible views of Seoul’s dynamic cityscape below. Check menus here.
Sweet, sweet strawberries | 딸기
If you’re wondering what fruit to eat in Seoul during spring, look no further than the beautiful strawberry. Korean strawberries are incredibly sweet, smell amazing, and they’re even an excellent source of vitamin C. You literally won’t be able to resist eating them.
In Korea, this lovely red (false) fruit is grown in greenhouses from December to June, but they’re at their flavour peak from February to April.
Seoul Food Guide | Places to Eat Strawberries in Korea
During peak season, you’ll see strawberries every which way you turn. Head into any grocery store, look out for blue pick up trucks, or sellers on the street, to pick up a box.
Cafes and restaurants all over Seoul will incorporate strawberries into their shakes, juices and desserts, so be on the lookout for any specials when deciding what to eat in Korea during spring.
A Seoul food guide without bingsu, wouldn’t be a food guide, and Subling is the most ubiquitous bingsu chain to be found in Korea. You can find one in almost every neighbourhood, in every city, for good reason. It’s delicious!
They have a rotating menu of seasonal shaved milk ice desserts, and you can be sure that a 딸기 bingsu will find a place on its menu, come spring.
STRAWBERRY PICKING | Heading to a greenhouse to pick strawberries right off the vine, is an awesome spring activity, perfect for families. Here are some options:
- Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm capped off with a stop at a strawberry farm to pick super fresh strawberries.
- Pocheon Art Valley, Herb Island, and strawberry picking at the oldest private garden in Korea. Check full details here.
- Nami Island, Gangchon Rail Bike, pick strawberries, and have a jam making experience on this all-inclusive tour from Seoul.
- Do exactly what you want on a private tour of Seoul’s Classic Routes. Check info here.
If you’re a total strawberry addict, buffets are the place to eat in Seoul. High-end hotels and lounges around the country offer buffets with strawberry focused desserts, waffles and drinks.
You can check out Strawberry Avenue at the Intercontinental Seoul Coex (until April 2nd, 2023), or Strawberry World at Lotte Hotel (until May 8th, 2023).
Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea
Spring in Korea is positively alive with colour and wonderful things to do. Here are the spring tours to take advantage of for the months of March, April, and May. Like cherry blossom season, the dates for most of these tours is incredibly limited. Most run for just a few weeks!
Spring Tours from Seoul
- Gwangyang Maehwa & Jeonju Hanok Village Tour | March 13th – 24th, 2023
- Jeju Island Package: Flight, Private Tour + Hotel Option | March 20th – April 9th, 2023
- Jeju Island Cherry Blossoms and Canola Private Taxi or Van Tour | March 21st – April 10th, 2023
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Seoul or Busan | March 27th – April 6th, 2023
- Exclusive VIP Tour Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival | March 27th – April 7th, 2023
- Daegu E-WORLD Land & Spring Cherry Blossom Day Tour | March 28th – April 7th, 2023
- Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do | April 5th – 16th, 2023
- Ganghwa Island Cherry Blossom & Luge Ride Experience | April 9th – 17th, 2023
- Eden Cherry Blossom Festival + Alpaca World + Nami Island | April 11th – 18th, 2023
- Taean Tulip Festival + Strawberry Picking Experience | April 14th – May 7th, 2023
- Pink King Cherry Blossom Tour from Seoul | April 15th – April 30th, 2023
Spring Tours from Busan
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Busan | March 24th – April 9th, 2023
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Seoul or Busan | March 27th – April 6th, 2023
- Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Busan | March 27th – April 12th, 2023
- Cherry Blossom Hunting Tour from Busan | March 24th – April 9th, 2023
- Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival from Busan | March 27th – April 8th, 2023
- KING Cherry Blossom Hunting Tour from Busan | April 17th – April 30th, 2023
Jjukkumi | 쭈꾸미
Jjukkumi are webfoot octopus that are plumpest and tastiest from March to May. It has 2-5 times more taurine than squid or octopus, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Always a good thing. If you’re tired, put jjukkumi on your list of what to eat in Seoul, because it also helps to reduce fatigue.
Whether you have it stir-fried, grilled, or in a shabu shabu, you’ll sure to love it’s chewy texture and delicious flavour.
CHADOLBAKHIN JJUKKUMI IN JONGNO | Get your fill of delicious jjukkumi in Jongno. Choose from stir-fried, grilled, or hot pot style. Check info here.
Seoul Food Guide | Where to eat Jjukkumi in Seoul
Take the subway to Jegi-dong on Line 1 and search for Yongdu-dong Jjukkumi Street. Look out for the street with the large gold jjukkumi statue at the entrance. Any restaurant on the strip will do the trick, but if you want the originator – try it at Ho Nam Sikdang.
Chungmuro Jjukkumi Bulgogi (충무로 쭈꾸미 불고기) is a humble 식당 that’s been successfully grilling jjukkumi and other seafood for over 40 years. Last year, it made the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand list, so expect super tender jjukkumi that packs a sweet and smoky flavour punch. Find more info here.
Jjajangmyeon on Black Day
If you’re single, be sure to eat some jjajangmyeong on April 14th, to celebrate “Black Day.” This holiday is for singles to wear black clothes, gather and commiserate about their lack of intimate relationships, while eating black food – the most popular being jjajangmyeon.
Seoul Food Guide | Where to Eat Jjajangmyeon
Jjajangmyeon holds the crown for one of the most ordered delivery items, but you can also eat this in Chinese-Korean restaurants all over the country. You’ll find them EVERYWHERE, so just keep your eyes open on any food street, or in any mall food court.
If you’re looking for something a little special, head to totally off the beaten path Gunsan in Jeollabuk-do, and try it at Binhaewon. This is an official registered historic site, famous for its mul jjajang, and ethnic Han Chinese architecture.
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Know what to eat in Seoul during spring now? What’s top of your list?