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Delicious Eats on a Budget: 5 Michelin-Approved Places in Seoul for 2024

① Since 1975, Halmaejip

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The Michelin Guide has unveiled its prestigious Bib Gourmand list for Seoul, highlighting 57 fantastic restaurants that offer incredible value. Bib Gourmand is special because it identifies eateries serving top-notch food at friendly prices. This translates to delicious meals for under 45,000 won (around USD 38) in Seoul.

Forget fancy fine dining – get ready to experience Seoul’s soul-satisfying, home-style cooking at its finest. We’ve curated a list of 5 must-try Bib Gourmand restaurants to tantalize your taste buds and keep your wallet happy.

Halmaejip is a Jongno institution established in 1975 by the beloved Grandmother Moon Kyung Ja. Initially located in Naeja-dong, it moved to its current location in 2006.

Halmaejip, meaning “grandmother’s house,” lives up to its name with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Their signature dish is the spicy pork backbone stew and pork feet, bursting with chili powder flavor. But if you crave something lighter, their potato stew offers a clean and refreshing taste, featuring simple ingredients like bean sprouts and chives.

Grandma Moon is still actively involved, overseeing the kitchen, and even takes the time to personally connect with customers, explaining the dishes and ensuring a truly memorable dining experience.

  • Address: 1-5, Sajik-ro 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Business hours: 11:50 – 21:00 (14:00 – 17:00 break time), closed on Mondays
  • Menu: Potato Stew for two people, 30,000 won (approximately $25), Pork Feet for two people, 37,000 won (approximately $31)

② Bib Gourmand Soup Restaurant

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Gwanghwamun Gukbap, helmed by the talented Chef Park Chan-il, is a must-visit. They meticulously use black pig buttocks and duroc pig shoulders, simmered to perfection in a clear broth bursting with deep flavor.

For an exceptional dining experience, Gwanghwamun Gukbap prioritizes freshness. They serve the rice and soup separately, ensuring the rice retains its delightful texture. Adding chopped chives enhances the already delicious broth’s flavor. Beyond their signature pork soup, Gwanghwamun Gukbap offers a delectable spread of Korean favorites, from savory blood sausage and pork belly to hearty king rib stew and braised cod neck.

Visitors shared that they were surprised by the clean taste of the clear broth and their generous and friendly service. “It tasted more like an oxtail soup than pork, but I was pleasantly surprised,” a customer shared. “The flavor was rich, delicious, and clean.”

  • Address: 53, Sejong-daero 21-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • Business hours: 11:00 – 21:40 (14:30 – 17:30 break time), closed on Sundays
  • Menu: Pork Rice Soup 10,000 won (approximately $8.50), Pyongyang Cold Noodles 14,000 won (approximately $12), Pork Belly 25,000 won (approximately $21)
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Daesung House is a culinary landmark renowned for its melt-in-your-mouth ox knee soup. This family-run gem has been a local favorite for years, initially starting as a hangover soup haven before evolving into the ox knee soup specialist it’s known for today. Their menu focuses on three core dishes: the star of the show – ox knee soup, boiled pork, and hangover soup. The clear broth is the heart of their ox knee soup, simmered to perfection with a generous amount of ox knees and tendons, resulting in a deeply rich flavor. Dip a piece of the tender ox knee in their special soy sauce to experience an explosion of taste that will leave you wanting more.

While Daesung House originally sourced all ingredients locally, they’ve had to adapt due to limited domestic quantities. However, their commitment to quality remains unwavering, ensuring a consistently delicious experience.

  • Address: 5, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Business hours: 10:30 – 20:00 (14:30 – 17:00 break time)
  • Menu: Ox Knee Soup 13,000 won (approximately $11), Boiled Pork 30,000 won (approximately $25)

③ Exotic Food in Seoul

Source: Horapa

Horapa, nestled in Jongno, led by Chef Son Seung Hee, reimagines classic Thai street food flavors for the Seoul palate. Inspired by the vibrant aromas of charcoal grilling and the symphony of Thai spices and herbs, Chef Son has recreated these elements familiarly and excitingly for Korean diners.

Horapa isn’t your average Thai restaurant. It’s a place where Thai cuisine gets a Korean twist, offering a delicious exploration of culinary fusion. Imagine the smoky allure of charcoal-grilled pig ears alongside aromatic lamb curry – an explosion of flavor sensations. To top it all off, Horapa boasts a selection of delightful Thai desserts, making your dining experience complete.

  • Address: 37-1, Jahamun-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 2nd floor
  • Business hours: Tue-Sat 12:00 – 22:00 (15:00 – 18:00 break time), Sun 12:00 – 16:00, closed on Mondays
  • Menu: Som Tam 22,900 won (approximately $19), Kaeng Kari Kae 33,900 won (approximately $29), Phu Mu Yang 15,900 won (approximately $13)
Egg & Flower

Egg & Flower, a hidden gem nestled in the charming alleys of Haebangchon, prides itself on using only eggs and flour to create fresh, delicious homemade noodles daily. The restaurant offers a unique culinary experience, where classic Italian flavors are reimagined with a Korean touch as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of Itaewon.

While pasta is the crowd favorite, Egg & Flower doesn’t disappoint with other offerings. Their menu features mouthwatering options like wagyu chuck steak and Iberico pluma steak, which are perfect for those seeking a heartier meal. And to top it all off, they have a selection of tempting desserts to complete your dining experience.

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