Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Seoul
HOLIDAYS are so much more fun and enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating.
Besides, what is traveling if you can’t chow down on local fare and the likes?
Muslim travelers tend to hit a couple of roadblocks when it comes to finding halal restaurants in a foreign place, especially in countries that aren’t traditionally Muslim-friendly.
Fortunately, the Seoul Metropolitan Government have been pushing for more halal restaurants in the city to cater to the ever-growing numbers of Muslim tourists. Seoul’s halal restaurants consist of those with a Muslim chef and owner, the only Korea Muslim Federation (KMF) halal-certified restaurants, and restaurants that use exclusively halal ingredients.
Here are our top picks of halal corresponding restaurants in Seoul so that you can kick the #FOMO in the butt.
If you’re planning to swing by Bukchon Hanok Village (attraction in Seoul with traditional Korean housing), make a pit stop at Samcheong-dong for your fill of halal Korean cuisine. Halal Kitchen is pretty popular with the city’s Muslim community as it is the first halal Korean restaurant in Seoul. The restaurant serves up tantalizing dishes such as bulgogi (marinated beef), dak-galbi (sweet and spicy stir-fried chicken), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), and bibimbap (mixed rice bowl). You may also order ahead before arriving.
Address: 86-4 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Gosam-I has received so many praises because unlike the standard Korean BBQ joints, the restaurant is particularly famous for its mackerel galbi (BBQ mackarel), so much so that its patrons suffer withdrawal symptoms. “I for sure want to come back to this restaurant when I visit Seoul again in the future,” read one TripAdvisor review. Cozy and with canteen-style tables lined in rows, Gosam-I keeps its menu simple and in three categories: grilled fish, stews, and stir-fries. Choose from mackerel, samchi (Japanese mackarel), Atka mackerel, galchi (hairtail fish) for your grilled fish dish, and have it with a side of kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew).
Address: 38 Yonsei-ro 7an-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
Alchon Ewha Woman’s University Branch
Particularly famous among the Ewha Woman’s University students, Alchon is a chain restaurant that takes pride in its albap aka flying fish roe rice bowl. For KRW3,500 (about US$3.30), you will get a specially flavored steamed rice dish served with fresh lettuce, salted laver, and seasoned fish row on a hot stone rice bowl. The best part is that the menu has English words and patrons can even choose different levels of spiciness. Soup and sides are self-serve so just remember to pick up a piping bowl of hot broth and side (radish kimchi, fish cakes, and yellow pickled radish are available) before digging into your rice bowl.
Address: 14 Ewhayeodae 7-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.
Makan Halal Restaurant
Owned by a Korean Muslim, this restaurant has an extensive menu, offering everything from bulgogi (marinated beef), samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), grilled chicken, dak-bokkeum-tang (braised spicy chicken), Tteok-galbi (grilled short rib patties), bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce), and more. Considering the rave reviews that it has been getting, it’s safe to say that almost all, if not all, the items on their menu are worth trying. Makan Halal has friendly, English-speaking staff so worry not about getting your orders across. Seats are limited though so try to avoid the peak hours.
Address: 52 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
For soy-based vegan delicacies, head on over to Osegyehyang. Located in Insadong, a district known for its slew of arts, crafts, and souvenir stores, Osegyehyang stands out for its variety of vegan meat and Korean-Chinese dishes, with items such as jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce), ttukbulgui (stone bowl vegan meat), bulgui deopbap (vegan meat rice), and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork) on its menu, just to name a few. The restaurant also sells the vegetarian ingredients (as well as vegetarian snacks) that are used in its dishes by the counter, so you can whip up your own vegan meals at home.
Address: 14-7 Insadong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
The Halal Guys
Itaewon is particularly famous for its Muslim community, hence there are a lot of halal restaurants and supermarkets selling halal ingredients in the district. It’s also where the beautiful Seoul Grand Mosque, the first Islamic mosque in Korea, is located. And not too far away from the mosque is The Halal Guys, the iconic chain food truck from New York. Designed like a fast-food joint, the restaurant offers their signature chicken and rice or beef and rice salad bowls in small, regular, or New York-sized foil bowls. If you’re not feeling like rice, try the sandwich.
Address: 187 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
Ilji Hanbang Samgyetang
In the Korean culture, samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is believed to prevent illness. However, at most places in Seoul, it’s served with insam-ju (ginseng wine), which doesn’t make the dish very Muslim-friendly. Luckily, there’s a samgyetang restaurant that takes halal orders. Located in Jongno-gu, Ilji Hanbang Samgyetang uses 16 kinds of oriental medicinal herbs, farm-fresh chicken, and other ingredients in their samgyetang. But because it’s cooked upon request, Muslim patrons are advised to call the restaurant in advance 02-754-1358 to make a reservation.
Address: 48, Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul.
Yang Good BBQ – Yeoksam
Stare at locals enjoying their BBQ dinner no longer because there’s such a thing as halal BBQ in Seoul. While Yang Good BBQ serves alcohol at the restaurant (most Korean restaurants do), the ingredients and the meat are halal-certified. The restaurant specializes in mouthwatering-ly good lamb BBQ so take your pick: either lamb meat in its full glory or marinated lamb coated with Korean sweet sauce. Yang Good BBQ also has lamb soup, deonjang-jjigae (fermented soybean paste soup), mulnaengmyeon (cold noodles), and other Korean dishes on its menu. Go ahead and treat yourself after a long day out in Gangnam.
Address: 15 Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Kampungku Authentic Malaysian Restaurant
Myeongdong is known to be Seoul’s ultimate shopping mecca, with rows upon rows of Korean makeup and skincare stores, fashion boutiques, shoe marts, restaurants and cafes that attract hordes of tourists on the daily. Good thing there’s a Muslim-friendly restaurant right around the corner then. Kampungku Authentic Malaysian Restaurant is a Malaysian-owned halal-certified eatery that offers the best of home-style Malaysian “soul food” such as nasi lemak and rendang ayam. So if you’re missing a taste of home while you’re away in Seoul, Kampungku is where you want to be. The restaurant also has a prayer room for Muslim guests.
Address: 25 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul.
Busan Jib Restaurant
Contrary to its name, Busan Jib Restaurant isn’t actually located in Busan. It is, however, located in the heart of Seoul. Muslim tourists from Malaysia and Singapore often flock to Busan Jib Restaurant as it uses halal-certified meat to whip up delicious Korean cuisines such as Korean spicy chicken stew, haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), spicy seafood stew, and chili squid. To add on, the restaurant also serves ikan bakar (grilled fish), nasi goreng (fried rice), and ikan asam pedas (sour and spicy fish), which caters to the Malay’s tastes. Prepare to spend quite a bit though as TripAdvisor reviews have suggested that it’s quite pricey.
Address: 1-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.