Your overview of what to eat while cycling across Korea.
Biking for the length of a workday will rustle up a mighty appetite. Luckily, you’re never too far from food while cycling in Korea.
There is an endless number of dining options while cycling across Korea. You’ll find anything from traditional bibimbap (비빔밥), to Chinese black noodles, to the triangle gimbaps found in convenience stores.
Here are some good options while riding.
Traditional Korean Food
Where’s the freshest food spot in town? That would be your old school, sit-on-the-floor Korean restaurant.
When you visit a western-style restaurant, owners may substitute lesser quality ingredients (cheese, meat) to save money.
However, old school Korean food was born here. The epitome of locally sourced, the ingredients and cooking techniques were raised on the peninsula. That makes traditional Korean some of the freshest and cheapest dishes around.
Dining in traditional Korean restaurants can be a hassle. The
Here’s a breakdown of cheap, delicious foods to look out for:
- kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) — spicy, kimchi soup
- Haejang-guk (해장국) — (a.k.a. hangover stew) hearty meat stew
- bibimbap (비빔밥) — rice mixed with vegetables and hot pepper paste
- naengmyeon (냉면) — buckwheat noodles served cold
You can find an endless number of region-specific takes on these dishes. They usually come in single serving sizes. So, you won’t have to share with the table.
Many traditional Korean restaurants cater more to large groups: a company outing or a family celebration. Often, samgyeopsal restaurants require you to buy a minimum portion of meat to cook. One or two people might not be practical.
If you’re a little lost, look or listen to the tail-end of the dish’s name. They will tell you the base ingredient:
- 찌개 (jjigae) — thick soup
- 국 (guk) — thin soup
- 밥 (bap) — rice
- 면 (myeon) — noodles
If you’re a beef lover, hit up a
You can find some cheap
Quick Korean & Foreign
Don’t resort to McDonald’s or Burger King for a quick bite while cycling. Korea has delicious domestic and borrowed on-the-go food options.
- gimbab (김밥) — rice, vegetables, and whatnot rolled in seaweed
- ddukbokki (떡볶이) — rice cakes bathed in red pepper sauce
- mandu (만두) — dumplings stuffed with meat, kimchi, and whatnot
If you visit any traditional Korean market (시장), you’ll find the bubbling red pepper paste of
Like in China, skyscrapers of hissing, round pans fill the markets. Inside, you’ll find
For a travel-friendly lunch, grab a roll of
The best rolls of
Convenience stores load their shelves with both rolled and triangle
- jajangmyeon (자장면) — (a.k.a. black noodles) noodles with thick black sauce
- tangsuyuk (탕수육) — fried pork in sweet and sour sauce
- jjamppong (짬뽕) — noodles and seafood in a spicy broth
Like love motels, innumerable Chinese restaurants (중화요리) dot the peninsula. Inside, you will always find a holy trinity of dishes:
A good tactic among friends is to buy a bowl of jajangmyeon or
- ramen (라면) — wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth
- donkatsu (돈까스) — deep-fried pork cutlet with Worcestershire sauce
Japan lent some of its culinary ideas to Korea. Like any industrialized nation, sushi restaurants invaded every upscale neighborhood in town. But, there are other examples of quick cuisine to dine on.
Ramen comes in many forms. Convenience stores serve cup ramen for cheap. Food trucks parked on the cycling path sling overpriced packaged ramen in bowls of hot water
If you love meat, you can’t go wrong with
If you’re craving a steaming plate of pasta or an old fashioned, factory McBorn burger, there are plenty of options.
Causal, fast casual, and family restaurants sprouted in Korea a couple years back. Now, you can find homegrown chains that serve Italian (American) pizza and pasta. Or, if you’re craving something greasy, fast-food and sit-down diners like Flapjack Pantry will grill up tasty hamburgers.
The Italians (Americans)
English breakfasts and stacks of pancakes are rare in Korea. You can find brunch-focused restaurants. But, they’re hard to spot and overpriced.
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
Pizza is worldwide phenomenon. Korea is no exception.
Pizza Hut serves up a bacon potato pizza stacked potato wedges and bacon bits. They drizzle some mayonnaise on top to complete the heart attack.
Because of the
Fast Food Heaven
The world isn’t whole without fast-food.
If you glance at any fast food menu in Korea, you’ll spot some version of a
There are other unfamiliar or rebranded options, like McDonald’s Shanghai burger (spicy chicken burger). But, don’t panic. You can still snag a Big Mac and Whopper. They taste the same as back home.
Convenience stores are the lifeblood of quick and easy food in Korea. They’re open twenty-four seven on every city block in Korea.
You have problems? They have solutions. Thirsty? Grab a bottle of water or 3 AM tallboy. Hangnail? They have toenail clippers. Dead phone? Buy a phone chargers.
Apart from the basic supplies, you can also scrounge up a quick meal.
Convenience stores have half an aisle dedicated to ramen. Nearby, you can find hot water dispenses. Fill up your cup of ramen and chow down at the dining counter.
You can also find hard-boiled eggs, ham sandwiches, both rolled and triangle
Don’t forget about lunchboxes. Inside each plastic box, you can find rice, kimchi, and sausage separated into little cubbies. The clerk will heat it up in a microwave behind the counter. (Hungry workers will
If you don’t like to waste time in the morning, buy a bundle of pastries and carton of milk. Bring it back to your motel and stuff your face when you wake up.
Remember, convenience stores stoc