For those unfamiliar with Korean cuisine, ddeokbokki is a popular Korean snack of cylindrical rice cakes cooked in a spicy sauce. Traditionally street food - wonderful for warming up on a bitter Seoul night - there is one place you can visit in Seoul to try a real restaurant quality version; Ddeokbokki Town.
Located in Sindang-dong, Ddeokbokki Town is a long street with numerous restaurants dedicated to ddeokbokki. While most will provide you with a delicious meal, one restaurant is particularly worthy of a visit; the wonderfully named "I Love Sindang-dong." Dining at this restaurant is an easier affair than is typical for the foreigner in Korea, providing a full English language menu along with pictures of the individual dishes. You can choose from a variety of different options, including cheese-stuffed rice balls and the intimidatingly named "Tear Jerker." All the ingredients are brought out in a large pan to cook in front of you - each table having its own gas hob - so be ready to stir the mouth watering mix of rice cake, ramen, glass noodles, mushrooms, dumplings, 'odeng' (fish cake), egg, onions and more while it cooks. Then simply pick and choose which parts you like best, and tuck in!
A huge restaurant (the floor space was used by seven different restaurants up until 2002) "I Love Sindang-dong" gives you a fantastic chance to try some traditional Korean food well away from the more tourism-heavy areas of Seoul. There is often a wait for a table at weekends, though rarely longer than 5-10 minutes, and this really is a must-do for all visitors to the city.
Simply leave Sindang station (lines 2 & 6) out of Exit 8, take the first left (just before the firestation), and walk straight for about 200 metres. There will be a large sign with Korean script marking the entrance right in front of you.
South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Jeokseon-dong, 29
Google map: bit.ly/zCsf8A
Huge concrete building packed with market stalls selling fish.
Fresh stuff gets snapped up early (4am) in the morning by chefs, but whatever time you get there you can choose your catch and have restaurants in the same building cook it up for you.
Prices are marked so you won't get ripped off (although there's always a little room for haggling) and it's all very photogenic.
Subway Line 1- Noryangjin station (follow the map in the subway station when you arrive).
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