What to Eat in Seoul in Spring | Seoul Food Guide By Season
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. You’ll also find recommendations for every budget to help you find the absolute best places to try all these amazing Korean foods.
Jump to what you want.
- 1 Why choose what to eat in Seoul by Season?
- 2 What to eat in Seoul during Spring
- 3 Planning a trip to 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, 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.
What to eat in Seoul during Spring
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.
Seoul Food Guide | Where to eat Spring Namul in Seoul
Sanchon is where to eat in Seoul for Buddhist Temple cuisine 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 art performance, make 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.
PRO TIP: TRY AWARD-WINNING ROYAL CUISINE AT KOREA HOUSE
Korea House is a gorgeous cultural building, famous for Joseon Dynasty Royal Cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs. There, you can enjoy an incredible 8 course meal of Korean food, while watching a performance of traditional songs and dance, at an unbeatable price.
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 are 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.
If you’re a total addict, strawberry buffets are the place to be in Seoul. High-end hotels and lounges around the country offer buffets with strawberry focused desserts, waffles and drinks.
If neither of those strike your fancy, the Strawberry Dessert Buffet at the 5 star JW Marriott hotel in Dongdaemun is one of the city’s best!
It’s perfect for a girls day out, with a retro Barbie themed dining hall, and 30 signature desserts. Be ready to indulge your sweet tooth and take a ton of pics. You can reserve your strawberry buffet at the Marriott right here (until the end of March).
GO STRAWBERRY PICKING!
Heading to a greenhouse and picking strawberries right off the vine, is an awesome spring activity. It’s a fantastic experience for families (my daughter LOVED picking and eating them), and you’re guaranteed an incredibly fresh box of strawberries to take home with you. There are a ton of strawberry farms scattered around the country, but it’s easiest to take a tour that includes round trip transport, since public transit to these places isn’t very convenient.
There are many different tours available that include strawberry picking. Choose the one that interests you most.
> This tour to Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm is capped off with a stop at a strawberry farm to pick super fresh strawberries. Includes round-trip transport to all locations, all entrance fees, strawberry picking fee AND a 500 gram box of strawberries to take away with you.
> Visit Pocheon Art Valley, Herb Island, and then pick strawberries at the oldest private garden in Korea.
> See Nami Island, ride the Gangchon Rail Bike, pick strawberries, have a jam making experience and eat Chuncheon dakgalbi on this all-inclusive tour from Seoul.
What to Eat in Seoul | 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.
Seoul Food Guide | Where to eat Jjukkumi in Seoul
Take the subway to Jeg-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.
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Jjajangmyeon on Black Day
If you’re single, be sure to eat some jajangmyeong 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. And the most popular of these is 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 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.
Now you know exactly what to eat in Seoul during spring. Be sure to check back each season, for updates to this Seoul food guide. You’ll learn what to eat in summer, autumn and winter AND discover the best places to go in the Seoul to try them.