Recently, I tested myself to recall all of the restaurants and cafes I tried and loved in Seoul — and failed. Felt like a travesty, honestly, seeing as how Seoul is one of my most favourite cities in the world, but then again I'm also guilty of forgetting which restaurants I frequented when I lived for a year in Europe and the cafes I loved when I stayed long-term in Japan.

I decided I should do a roundup of the restaurants + cafes I visited on my visits to Seoul for my own future reference. Perhaps it will even help you decide what food to try out on your visit to Seoul, who knows?

Note: Not every place listed here is halal-certified but the ones that are will be noted. 
Also, special thanks to Have Halal Will Travel who recommended most of the places I listed and has helped many Muslim travellers including Shah and I to immerse ourselves in the culinary experiences around the world!


In Myeongdong

Busan Jib (halal-certified)
This halal place is tucked in a small corner along the shopping street of Myeongdong, serving local Korean cuisine as well as nasi goreng, which means fried rice in Malaysian language and is suspiciously similar to Malaysia's local nasi goreng.

Or perhaps not so suspicious since I always stayed in Myeongdong, and almost every single time I went there the place was filled with Malaysians so obviously Busan Jib knows who their target audience is!

    Tip: Coming from a tea person, their hot lemon tea is so good. My favourite dish to order here is their mixed rice bowl of bibimbap.

    PS: I was in Clark's a week before one of my trips to Seoul and overheard (without eavesdropping, the shop is really tiny and they were loud) a customer chatting with the salesperson about Seoul when the customer said it was totally compulsory for her to visit Busan Jib whenever she visits Seoul. I have a feeling a lot of Malaysians feel the same way!


    Red Mango & Cacao Green dessert cafe

        The waffles here are uniquely delectable; I can't decide if I prefer their chocolate waffles or the peanut butter and jelly + cream cheese waffles! While I don't get to try the other desserts here, they all look exceptionally delicious on the menu.


        Korean Dessert Cafe
        Everybody goes here for their flavoured shaved ice dessert a.k.a. bingsu, even during winter time! The first time Shah and I went, we ordered the mango and cheese bingsu and it was just lush. Our second trip there we thought, "We love mango and cheese but let's be adventurous and try a different flavour", choosing the chocolate brownie version which I totally thought would prevail over the mango cheese easily. We were surprisingly mistaken! The end of this story: it was mango and cheese from there onwards.

        Tip: Their flavoured hot teas are delicious, I always ordered the blackcurrant one to accompany my bingsu.


          Korean street food stalls/carts (some are halal-certified)
          It's impressive to see a lot of halal-certified street food stalls located in the lanes of Myeongdong! As we walked down the streets in Seoul we saw a lot (I repeat, a LOT) of hijabis; I can't even imagine how many more Muslims walk around Myeongdong so the locals there know their niche market for sure. We tried as many halal options as we could including this egg + waffle delicacy below named gyeranbbang but my favourites were the baked cheesy lobster and scallop while Shah usually made a beeline for the kebab.


            Gurkha Indian Restaurant (halal-certified)


            This restaurant also offers Nepalese cuisine (and some others too, if I remember correctly) so there's a good mix for everyone to choose from. This wouldn't be my first choice to eat at if I visit Seoul again but Shah and I both love their crispy naan, and I love their selection of pickles (which I got even with a naan order so I can cross off "eat naan with pickles" from my things-to-try list).


            In Dongdaemun

            Dongdaemun fish alley


            This alley looks pretty dingy but it's a gem filled with little restaurants where their staff is busy grilling fishes outside their door. Some of them tried to "lure" Shah and I into their shop by greeting us in Malaysia Language, which was kind of cute. There are so many doors to choose from so Shah and I just winged it every time.

              Tip: Try the grilled cutlassfish (which I thought was them misspelling "cuttlefish" at first but nope, it's a name of a fish) and spicy squid. I also love their soft tofu stew and seafood stew.


              In Samseong-dong

              Big Guy's Lobster


              Near to the SMTOWN museum and COEX mall, Big Guy's Lobster is located in Hyundai Dept. Store in the fancy "food court" area (where you can also find the infamous Magnolia Bakery). I'm a huge seafood fan so this little restaurant was right up my alley with their juicy lobster and yummy mussels. I only wish I had the chance to try out their lobster roll as well!


              Kervan Turkish restaurant (halal-certified)
              The ambience of the place perfectly matches the vibrant taste of the food. I'm a fan of their juicy meat platters but the pide (Turkish version of pizza) was mouthwateringly good.


                (Not pictured)
                Agra restaurant (halal-certified)
                Weirdly, some of the best Indian food I've ever eaten were in Shanghai and Beijing so I never passed the opportunity to try Indian food literally anywhere. Located next to Kervan in COEX mall, the taste of Indian food in Agra may have been modified to suit the Korean palate but it's still tasty and rich in flavour.


                In Hongdae

                BoA Travel House restaurant (halal-certified)
                This guesthouse, which is near the well-known shopping hub Hongdae also includes a restaurant that serves KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN which, yes, are three words that deserve to be capitalized because we all love fried chicken but KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN is after all on another level. I love eating KFC in Malaysia (that's right, I just acronym-ed them using a famous acronym) but to be able to eat super authentic spicy KOREAN FC in Seoul was divine.



                In Itaewon

                (Not Pictured)
                Eid restaurant (halal certified)
                The first mosque built in Korea, Seoul Central Masjid, is located in Itaewon so it makes sense that there is a community of Muslims living there, and with that comes a neighbourhood filled with halal-certified eateries. This was the place where I finally had Korean bulgogi with rice, but then again I didn't say no to their bibimbap either.

                (Not pictured)
                The Halal Guys (halal certified)
                These guys started with a food cart in New York and have now wonderfully branched out to all over the world, including one in Itaewon. Shah loves their gyros but I've always been a meat platter person!


                In Gangnam

                Yang Good BBQ restaurant (halal-certified)
                Honestly, this place served one of THE best-tasting lamb barbecues ever, I can't tell you how glad I am that it's halal. It's slightly pricier compared to most of the restaurants I listed but it is absolutely worth visiting — multiple times!


                  •     •     •     •     •     •     •

                  Seoul is truly a beautiful place of interesting culture like no other, but the local Korean food was what really sealed the deal for me; my Asian palate just loves the bold flavours and spiciness of their cuisine.

                  On top of that, the fact that it wasn't that hard to find halal options in a city that has a relatively small population of Muslims (there are so many more halal places I didn't get to try out!) makes me confident enough to recommend any Muslim — anyone, really — to put Seoul on their travel bucket list.

                  Have you been to Seoul? If you have, please let me know of other halal places you've tried out and loved in Seoul in the comment section down below!

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