A chef’s guide to the best restaurants in Seoul

From the tastiest Korean barbecue to fine dining, chef MINGOO KANG proves the best way into the heart of Seoul is via the belly.
The old town in Seoul, South Korea
The old town in Seoul, South Korea

Korean temple food and fried chicken might seem like an odd couple, but they’re both integral parts of Mingoo Kang’s world. The celebrated chef behind Seoul restaurant Mingles is remixing Eastern and Western cuisines and techniques. The result is a winning combination that saw the restaurant voted as the best restaurant in South Korea for several years by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards and claim of two Michelin stars. But what restaurants in Seoul does vhef Kang eat at when he is off duty? The answers pivot between the city’s most innovative restaurants and its most highly prized local secrets.

Here are the best foods and restaurants in Seoul to track down, according to a world-class chef.

The best Korean fried chicken in Seoul

When friends of chefs come to visit Seoul, I take them to Hyodo Chicken. Chef Shin Changho from Joo Ok (another of Seoul’s two-Michelin starred establishments) and I were involved in the menu development and we had a lot of fun with the recipes. And still this place is where you can enjoy authentic Korean chicken culture.

The best Korean barbecue in Seoul

If you have something to celebrate, it should be done at Born & Bred, the best barbecue restaurant in Korea! This is where you can really experience the best of Korean beef and barbecue culture.

The best fine-diner in Seoul

Mosu is one of the rare restaurants in Korea that can really be described as fine-dining. South-Korean born and Californian-raised chef Sung Anh first opened Mosu in San Francisco earning a Michelin star in its first year. In 2017 Anh relocated Mosu to Seoul.

The best Seoul restaurant you should know about

Joo-ok is a modern Korean restaurant and is really a gem of the Korean fine-dining scene. With the food chef Shin Changho is creating, it’s really a surprise that his restaurant is not well known overseas. For people who want to experience the local Korean scene and culture, look no further. This is definitely where they should eat.

Where chef Kang dines for inspiration

Sometimes I feel like I want to have a moment with a chef from a different part of Korean cuisine. Sushi Sunsoo is representing the Korean sushi scene, and eating at chef Choi Ji-hoon’s sushi restaurant, seated at his counter, is an opportunity to be inspired.

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