The cherry blossom has faded and we’re now anticipating the arrival of summer. For those who have been to South Korea during summer, you’ll reckon the suffocating heat and humidity isn’t quite merciful. But I must say summer in South Korea is one of the greatest seasons to shop, since the weather is so much identical to home. Even beauty brands are launching all kinds of heat-proof beauty products ideal for the sunny-all-year-round Singapore.
So if you have decided to brave the heat for a long waited shopping retreat and already bought/ planning to get your 2017 summer-Seoul-bound air ticket, congrats! Here is the list of 12 summer eats and treats to combat the sweltering heat in South Korea, with introduction and address for your convenience. Bookmark them down and check them out while you enjoy your next summer getaway in Korea! Most of the eateries are just within walking distance from major shopping areas, tourist spots and downtown Seoul!
Below is my 12 recommendation of must-eat summer food in Korea:
1. Sul-Bing: Injeolmi Bingsu
Area: all around Korea (franchise)
Shaved ice, or bingsu in romanized Korean, is the first thing you can’t skip if you’re here in Korea during summer. Sul-Bing 설빙 is in fact, one of my favourite dessert cafe for bingsu in Korea. It is the company that claimed its originality, the one that came out with many of the bingsu flavours you are now having in Singapore.
A classic favourite is the Injeolmi Bingsu (인절미) . The nutty flavour of the sand colour bean powder goes well together with the chewy rice cakes and the fluffy shaved milk ice. My other personal favourite is Heuk-im-ja Bingsu 흑임자 (Black Sesame Bingsu). It is a brilliant mixture of bean powder and black sesame powder, topping up with red bean paste, rice cakes, red dates and almond. If you love black sesame tang yuan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this too.
Another snack I’ll never forget to order there is Double Bar Rice Cakes (쌍쌍치즈가래떡) Ssang-Ssang Cheese Garaeddeok. It is grilled rice cakes covered with cheddar and parmesan cheese. Calling all cheese fanatics not to miss this. The 4 inches rice cakes are filled with mozzarella cheese, each bite is a pure cheesy bliss!
Address: (There’re many more outlets, the below list are their outlets near tourist sites)
202, Jang-yeon Building, Yeoksam-dong 619-4, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul.
서울시 강남구 역삼동 619-4 장연빌딩 202호
level 2, Nam Gyeong Building, Myeongdong 2(yi)ga, 55-2, Junggu, Seoul.
서울시 중구 명동2가 55-2번지 남경빌딩 2층
Sulbing Ehwa Womens University
Level 2 & 3, Daehyeon Dong, 54-9, Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul.
서울시 서대문구 대현동 54-9 2,3층
Level 2, Gangnamdaero 152 bon-gil 45, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul.
서울시 강남구 강남대로 152번길 45, 2층
2. Gelati-Gelati: Gelato Ice-cream
Area: Hongdae (Hongik University)
How about savoring a smooth and velvety gelato ice-cream when you’re half-done with your shopping ar Hongik University Area? This cosy little ice-cream store is a favourite for all local and tourist alike. Citrus based gelato ice-cream flavours are great and refreshing. If you are more adventurous, try flavours like white rice and milk tea, you won’t regret!
Gelati Gelati. Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. 407-8, Level 1.
젤라띠 쩰라띠. 서울시 마포구 서교동 487-8
3. Yurim-Myeon: Buckwheat Cold Noodles
Area: City Hall, Deoksugung Palace.
A restaurant with 50 years know-how of making noodles. If you like cold noodles (Mae-mil Guksu), this place is where you should go after your visit at Deoksugung. It is located just walking distance away from the palace. Dip the chewy al-dente buckwheat noodles into the icy cool shuyu stock soup and slurpp the refreshing summer delicacy down your throat! Check the detailed review here (click me).
Yurim Myeon 유림면
139-1, Seosomun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울 중구 서소문로 139-1 (서소문동)
Tel: +82-2-755-0659 (Reservation available during lunch time only)
Operation hours: 11am- 830pm.
4. Tosokchon Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken)
Area: Gyeongbok Palace
Korean believes to survive the heat one must eat “hot” food. You’ll see busy restaurant selling hot, soupy and nourishing food during summer here in South Korea. These hot soups will heal your dehydrated and exhausted body in the sweltering heat, also boost your energy level and metabolism.
One best place I could recommend is Tosokchon Samgyetang, one of the South Korean ex-president favourite samgyetang. I love their milky broth, assorted nuts and seeds toppings, and tender, easily off-the-bone chicken meat– I’d say it is still one of the few best samgyetangs in South Korea, especially after I sampled a fair amount of samgyetang across the country. Complete review here (click me).
Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕
85-1 Jongno-Gu, Chebu-Dong, Seoul.
Tel: +82 2-737-7444 | Operating Hours: 10am-11pm |
대한민국 서울특별시 종로구 체부동 85-1
5. Dok-dabang: Melon Shaved Ice
Area: Sinchon (Right opposite Yonsei University)
This melon shaved ice craze swept the whole country a few summers back — and have yet to die down. If the traditional bingsu failed to capture your heart, try out this refreshing combination of real melon, with melon flavoured shaved ice and a ball of vanilla ice cream. Not only looking extraordinarily pretty, this seasonal dessert from one of the oldest cafe in Seoul is also yummy! Reviews about the melon bingsu and the cafe here (click me).
Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Changcheon-dong, 31-4 Dok-suri Building (독수리빌딩), level 8.
서울시 서대문구 창천동 31-4 독수리빌딩8층
6. Mamangateau: Caramel Bingsu
Area: Gangnam (Garosugil)
Garosugil 가로수길 is one of the places I frequent with my friends. Either for shopping or food hunt, Garosugil can never disappoint. Amidst the fancy restaurants and fashion boutiques, Mamangateau is a bakery school & cafe I’ll go to whenever I have sweet cravings. They serve marvellous roll cakes and solid iced coffees that will definitely perk you up within seconds. Their caramel bingsu is what I’ll make sure not to miss out during summer.
Milk shaved ice coated with layers of salted caramel syrup, topped with caramelised roasted almond, a scoop of caramel ice cream and a piece of caramel nut sugar biscuits, this baby is so guiltily rich and delicious. I took my first bite and knew my quest for a really good caramel bingsu was over. It was just that good. The roasted almond and grounded peanuts added texture to the bingsu and it was oh-so-wonderful.
524-27, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울 강남구 신사동 524-27
7. Cha Mashineunddeul: Iced Tea in a Hanok
Area: Samcheong-dong/ Bukchon Hanok Village
Nothing feels greater with a beautiful (and yummy) cup of iced flower tea, while gazing at the amazing sunset of Samcheong-dong in a traditional garden setting. Cha Mashinneunddeul 차 마시는 뜰, is a beautiful traditional Korean tea house hidden in Bukchon Hanok Village. It is very popular with foreigners and locals due to its Zen environment, pretty looking teawares and yummy teas. They serve one of the best floral iced tea in Seoul. The delicate fragrance and refreshing taste just wash the blistering summer heat away in a few seconds.
Cha-massineun ddeul 차 마시는 뜰
35-169 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
서울시 종로구 삼청동 35-169
8. Mak Guk Su: Cold Buckwheat Noodles
Area: All Around Korea, best place: Chuncheon
A dish usually served after a sumptuous Korean BBQ, Dakgalbi or any hot plate dishes in summer, I will get a bowl of makguksu, a fantastic dish to cleanse my palette. I am not a fan of Korean cold noodles, i.e. the Naengmyun, but man! makguksu…they’re simply delicious: Pickled onions, fresh vegetables and seaweed added a refreshing crisp to the noodles and the sweet in the sauce balanced the fiery hotness of the sauce. This dish is available almost everywhere during summer, but I’ll recommend you to try out in Chuncheon, where the dish is originated from.
Chuncheon Miso Dakgalbi 춘천 미소 닭갈비
288-20 Geunhwa-dong, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea.
강원도 춘천시 근화동288-20
9. Milky Bee: Rose Ice-cream
Just too pretty to be eaten! These edible roses made of gelato ice-cream bloom in Myeongdong and Nampodong, Busan. Each and every petal is painstakingly put together sometimes the owner gets annoyed when you film the making process. The flavour inclusive of strawberry, vanilla, dark chocolate and matcha. All flavour tasted so good I couldn’t decide which one is better.
10. fboong: Not your usual Bungeoppang
Area: All around South Korea (Franchise)
Certainly, it is not your usual Bungeoppang 붕어빵, a nostalgic street snack that could possibly be the nation’s most favourite snack. This particular one went to jiak-gan-tang (study abroad) in France and came back with its upgraded version of Bungeoppang. Croissant crust substituted the usual pancake texture, giving off a luxurious feel. There are various fillings one can choose from, including the traditional flavours like red bean, injeolmi, choco, purple sweet potato, to the more contemporary flavours like sweet cheese, hot dog, taco, apple mango and of course, the summer must have: ice-cream fillings!
11. Mat-Jarang: Soybean Broth Cold Noodles (Kong-guk Su)
Area: Gangnam (Daechi-Dong)
If the usual Naengmyun (냉면 Korean Cold Noodles) isn’t your
cup of tea bowl of noodles, try this soybean broth cold noodles. I am not a fan of cold naengmyun either. I can’t even finish one serving by myself simply because I like my noodles hot. But this not the case for this Soybean Broth Cold noodles at Mat-Jarang. I figured it could be their special soybean broth, a mixture of usual soybean and some other grains that make it so pleasantly palatable. Savour the dish together with their sweet and spicy house kimchi, you’ll come back for more!
987-7 Daechi 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
서울시 강남구 대치동 987-7
12. So-Bok: Minimalist & Traditional Ice-cream
Yet another Instagram-worthy, minimal, and yummy dessert house to combat the summer heat in Hongdae area. I love the fact that they’re using an edible flower to garnish the ice-cream, making them looking so very elegant and indie at the same time. They only have bingsu, ice-cream and ice balls, in limited flavours like Injeolmi, matcha and strawberry — Told ya, minimal is the new black.
I ordered their Injeolmi Ice-cream, and they garnish it with assorted nuts, a honeycomb and an injeolmi ice-balls. The nutty flavour from the bean powder was heavenly good. For those who love injeolmi and nuts, you’ll love this. And if you want to have something more flavourful, the ice balls will be ideal.
소복 So Bok
408-7 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 408-7
This article is first published on 22nd May 2015, and updated on 1st May 2017.
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