The area around Seoul’s Jamsil Saenae station might seem like a wasteland of intestine barbecue restaurants, chain cafes, hofs, and claw arcades, but there’s a few hidden gems to be found amongst the riffraff.
Like most Seoulites, I spend most of my time close to home. Not just because the city is so incredibly vast, but because population density is so high, you can usually find everything you need from medical professionals to lawyers to spas to continuing education within a few blocks of where you live.
And so, despite the fact that most of the restaurants I actually want to eat at are all the way over in Mapo-gu, or clustered around Itaewon somewhere, I mostly have to make do with what’s nearby and easily accessible, otherwise I’d be spending half my life on the subway.
Here’s what I’ve managed to unearth in the last few years of living ’round these parts.
What to eat in Jamsil Saenae / Jamsilsaenae
BON BON SANDWICH (봉봉 샌드위치)
It’s tempting to give Bon Bon Sandwich a pass because of its very strange location near the entrance of the 새마을시장, right across from a butcher where the smell of animal is alive and well.
You’d be missing out though.
Because the owner bakes his crusty French style baguettes right on site, and while not 100% super authentic, the sandwiches are delicious, filling and affordable. Choose from bahn mi, philly cheesesteak, beef taco or jerk chicken.
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Sometimes you find the most delicious things in the most unexpected places. Like this delicious #bahnmi sandwich near the entrance of #새마을전통시장 in Jamsil-dong. Served with either pork or chicken on a crusty bread that the owner bakes himself, it's just 6000 won. ?? He's also got Philly cheesesteaks and jerk chicken sandwiches, but I've yet to make it past the bahn mi on my numerous visits there…maybe next time? ?#expatlife #lifeinkorea
Closed on Mondays, Bon Bon Sandwich is open from 11AM – 9PM, with a break between 3 and 4PM. Prices range from 6,000 – 7,000KRW and you can add a soda or Americano for an extra 1,000 or 1,500KRW respectively.
SSALTONG FRIED CHICKEN (쌀통닭 신천본점)
Admittedly, there’s fried chicken joints on every other corner of every other street in Korea, and everyone has a favourite. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve tried enough fried chicken in Seoul to have a good basis for comparison.
쌀통닭 is the clear winner in my books, and I’m fortunate that it’s near my home in Jamsil Saenae.
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Chimaek (치맥) or fried chicken and beer ?? is a classic combo consumed by Koreans at home via delivery or in one of thousands of specialty restaurants, nightly. * My favourite chain is @ssaltongdag5235. I ❤️the boneless original which is super crispy, with just the right amount of spice. What's your favourite K-FC chain? * * * * * #eatlocal #eattheworld #thefeedfeed #buzzfeedfood #food52grams #droolclub #devourpower #tastespotting #localeats #foodadventure #phoneeatsfirst #seoulfood #foodkorea #food_korea #먹사진 #냠냠냠 #seouleats
Their original coating is light, extra crunchy and has the kind of seasoning and spice that makes you keep eating far beyond when you should. One bird costs from 15,900 – 19,900, depending on whether it’s boneless or not and the type of sauce, topping etc… and arrives at your house on a bed of shrimp chips along with the requisite pickled radish and a Pepsi.
Be warned though – on busy nights, they’ve been known NOT to answer the phone, and delivery can take up to an hour. If you’ve got a serious fried chicken hankering, order early. Or better yet, go to the restaurant and eat it there.
화덕고깃간 is a rare find not just in Jamsil Saenae, but in Seoul itself. Not just because it’s the only one in the city (the other being in Daegu), but because it’s one of the few bbq places in Korea that sears its meat over an actual wood fire at your table.
They sell various cuts of pork (no beef), but don’t go there if you’re looking for the usual 3-layer pork belly or sam-gyupsal. Because at 화덕고깃간, they only have huge cuts of 5-layer pork belly or oh-gyupsal.
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@hgwwyfwad is one of the most unique places in Seoul to get your pork belly fix. ? As far as I know, it's the ONLY location in the city, and fortunately it's just a few blocks from my apartment. * What makes it special is that they actually sear the meat over a real wood flame ?before cutting it up for cooking on the hot plate + they serve only 오겹살, not samgyupsal. * Totally worth a trip even if u don't live nearby! ? * * * * * #오겹살 #고기 #잠실 #seoul #koreanfood #koreanbbq #seouleats #eatlocal #eattheworld #jamsil
Every person I’ve brought to this restaurant, Korean or not, has said it’s the best pork belly they’ve had in the country. It comes with a huge array of refillable sides, kimchi jiggae, a complementary skewer of veggies, and best of all, it doesn’t break the bank.
If you stay long enough, you might even get a chance to win some fire-roasted sweet potatoes with a game of rock, paper, scissors. And say congrats to the manager when you visit – he and his wife just had a baby girl. 🙂
LE TATIN (르 따땅)
Located on the B1 level of the Trizium 상가 attached to Jamsil Saenae station, Le Tatin is one of those hidden gems that doesn’t get much press, but survives with a quality product, affordable prices and a great location.
The owner, Wonwoo Lee, trained at New York’s prestigious Institute of Culinary Arts and that’s something you can taste in his savoury and sweet crepes, and baked goods. Everything is authentic, satisfying and super affordable.
Jamsil Saenae / Jamsilsaenae (잠실새내) subway station
Jamsil Saenae / Jamsilsaenae station used to be called Sincheon (신천) station, but was changed to avoid all the confusion between it and Sinchon (신촌) station. Sinchon is located on the exact opposite corner of the city, all the way over by Hongdae, so going to the wrong station is a big deal.
I still hear a lot of confusion amongst visitors AND Koreans, since Jamsil Saenae isn’t all that different from Jamsil (잠실), or Jamsillaru (잠실나). Enough people make mistakes though, that they’ve placed huge signs on the subway platform, near the stairs, that say “This is is Jamsilsaenae Station!” All I can say is, at least you’re just a few stops away from the right stop, instead of an hour subway ride away, if you make a mistake.
Where do you live in Seoul? Are there any hidden gems in your neighbourhood? Tell us all about them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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