Central to any successful visit to a travel destination is the breadth and quality of available table fare, and in this arena, Seoul boasts a wealth of options. Not only is Korea's capital filled with restaurants and eateries specializing in the nation's regional dishes, it also offers a wealth of establishments catering to international tastes. Following are several new and established dining options likely to appeal to visitors.
In cosmopolitan Seoul, even Korean food keeps up with the fast pace of its citizens, while making it more accessible to overseas visitors. CJ Foodville's Bibigo chain , for example, is devoted to modernizing the Korean dish bibimbap by serving it in fast-food lunch-set form ideal for diners on the move. Centuries-old bibimbap is a combination of rice, chili paste, in-season vegetables, and beef, although it comes in many forms and flavors, allowing diners to customize it to their tastes. Bibigo's menu also includes a variety of soups, salads, sides, desserts, and beverages.
In a similar fashion and capitalizing on the popularity of Korea's snack food, School Food is a restaurant chain aimed at the youth market. Its menu fare attempts to replicate popular favorites served in a Korean cafeteria, but in a more up-market setting. Dishes include ramyeon (Korean ramen), rice cakes, fried rice, dumplings, soups, and kimbap (seaweed-rice roll with a variety of fillings).
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Visitors preferring a healthier vegetarian option are catered for at Gosang, a new entry in Seoul's growing temple cuisine oeuvre. Originally developed to suit the ascetic needs of Buddhist priests, Korean temple food has evolved down through the centuries into a sophisticated means of preparing an array of vegetables, mushrooms, roots and plant-based ingredients, with the genre today even having its own regional variants.
Among Seoul's many examples of foreign cuisine, the Wolfhound Pub is a long-time feature of popular tourism district, Itaewon. Billed as Seoul's first Irish pub, it specializes in the cuisine of the British Isles, including fish & chips, grilled steaks, burgers, home-made Irish sausages, and a variety beers such as Guiness, Kilkenny, and McNally's Extra Ale.
Just outside of Itaewon is Craftworks Taphouse & Bistro. This brew-pub boasts a large selection of home-made Korean-themed beers such as Geumgang Mountain Dark Ale, Namsan Pure Pilsner, and Gwanaksan Kolsch. Diners can enjoy the pub's garden patio and an array of menu items, including flame-grilled burgers, bangers & mash, and Alice's Vegetarian Moussaka.
In addition to exemplifying part of Seoul's culinary range, all restaurants featured in this article are participants of the Seoul Convention Bureau's month-long Seoul Sizzling Sweepstakes. Focusing upon cuisine in its Delicious Seoul promotion next week, participants can enter to win restaurant vouchers. The competition is open to non-Korean citizens residing in Korea and overseas residents able to visit Seoul during the vouchers' validity period! Part of the Seoul Convention Bureau's efforts to highlight the city's major business and entertainment venues, previous weeks gave away prizes for Coex Shopping Mall, theme park Lotte World, and popular Korean performance Cookin' NANTA, among many others. To enter, visit: http://miceseoul.com/promotions/
The Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) is a joint venture launched by the city and private enterprises in February 2008 with a core mission to promote Seoul as a convention and tourism destination. The Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB), a division of the STO, is the official government-sponsored body representing and promoting the city overseas as a prime venue for meetings, conventions and exhibitions. The SCB is in charge of international marketing and public relations for Seoul as a convention city.
In the most recent set of UIA rankings, Seoul was ranked 5th in the world for number of international conferences hosted in 2010.