Future Food’s master planning work on the Starfield Cheongna Mall in Seoul has required Consultants Allan Forsdick and Francis Loughran to spend considerable time in Seoul over the past year. This is the third mall Future Food have Masterplanned for Shinsegae and the senior team at Future Food are very familiar with the culinary diversity and delights of food across Korea and particularly in Seoul.
Seoul is home to a thriving hospitality scene that attracts foodies from around the world, who visit the city for its vibrant street food, casual dining restaurants, beer parks, fine dining and cafe scene.
Food is everywhere in Seoul, it is part of daily life of the 10 million people that call the city home. Traditional KOREAN SPECIALTIES such as barbecue remain very popular as well as a growing awareness of international and western foods. Some Korean specialties such as cold noodle soup take a little bit more getting used to, but the diversity, colour and flavour of the Korean palette is well worth exploring.
Seoul’s café culture is thriving and one of our favourite districts (dong) in Seoul was Itaewon. Cafés, Artisan bakeries (check out Maybell Bakery), pizzerias (Pizza D’Abruzzo), cafes and restaurants line the back streets in this highly fashion-conscious district.
The Cacao Laboratory in Itaewon, is a specialist in all things Chocolate, including the processing of the raw Cacao beans! The store was beautifully designed and fitted out, and we couldn’t resist sampling their wares!
Great design features were evident throughout our study tours, and South Korea has spent time refining the art of styling. Many cafés and bars caused us to stop and have a second look at the superb attention to detail, styling, signage and other customer-centric touchpoints.
For a more traditional look at Seoul, one of the older parts of town is Iksundong, whilst it is a popular tourist spot, it remains very popular with locals. The traditional buildings with their concave slate roofs, manicured gardens and attentive service make this a must-do for all visitors.
For a more traditional experience, Samwon Garden is a very customary Korean Restaurant. It specialises in Galbi, Korean beef ribs. Ribs are cooked at the table on the built in charcoal barbecue by staff in a Korean version of gueridon service - a formal ritualised service style. A glowing brass bucket of hot coals is placed in the centre of the marble table top and well-trained service staff cook for you at the table. A never-ending procession of Banchan (Korean side dishes) is served to the table accompany the meal. The restaurant is surrounded by traditional Korean gardens and small ponds filled with Koi Carp, hence its name Samwon Garden.
Another of our favourite districts was Gangnam, south of the Han river. Every street seems to be filled with restaurants, takeaways and bars. The quiet streets come alive after 6pm as the city’s workers head out for food and entertainment. Soobul Restaurant specialises in pork “dongkas”, and of course these are accompanied by many banchan, kimchee and warm hospitality.
Seoul is a fabulous city for foodies with an eclectic blend of traditional and modern tastes – it is no surprise that Korean Food in the West continues to climb in popularity!
Cover Image - Samwon Garden
Source: Future Food