Did you know that, out of all the countries in the world, South Korea placed as the number one spot for country with the most alcohol consumption? Surprising, isn’t it? Especially, for a country so small! You can blame soju…and soju’s favorite companion– samgyupsal! In the hustle and bustle of Korea, food is incredibly convenient to get and there is no particular weekend where it’s uncommon not to have shots on shots of soju. Being bombarded with the red whirl of pojang machas (food carts), microwavable meals at convenience stores, or the samgyupsal and soju combo at your local shikdang (restaurant) every single day is only natural!
In the hustle and bustle of Korea, food is incredibly convenient to get and there is no particular weekend where it’s uncommon not to have shots on shots of soju. Being bombarded with the red whirl of pojang machas (food carts), microwavable meals at convenience stores, or the samgyupsal and soju combo at your local shikdang (restaurant) every single day is only natural!
As wonderful as this all sounds, our body would not be too grateful if we gave into Seoul’s food allure. Before you know it, you could add on two dress sizes by just being sucked into the rhythms of Seoul. If you’re here long term or on a visit- and want to maintain your figure (or even lose weight) here are some of Seoul’s best healthy eats:
Brothers in Springhill
This is an organic, healthy eats convenience store. Doesn’t that line itself sound genius? Brothers refers to the two friends who came up with this idea (they’re bros) and Springhill refers to fresh. They opened this spot two years ago, and because it’s located next to a Woman’s University- it especially became a hit. Instead of the usual ramen and tuna-mayo triangle kimbab college students might grab at the local CU, they can now grab avo-salmon (one of the many) rolls, salad, or pressed juice made from organic ingredients just as easily and prepared to go! If you have the time, they even have hot food options such as pad thai and rice bowls, which they use organic ingredients and purple rice for as well. The interior is like a café, so you can also sit down to enjoy your food!
Location: Itaewon – both kitchen & bakery venues
Usually, when people hear any reference to vegan food they immediately assume it must be disgusting. It doesn’t particularly sound appetizing. Butt! Who said vegan food can’t be good, too?! Plant is a vegan restaurant so they don’t use animal products, such as meat and dairy, and they only use plant substitutes, which makes their meals much less in calories! You will be amazed at how delicious the food is here– I swear you won’t even be able to notice that it’s vegan. Their menu ranges from burrito bowls and hamburgers to wraps! They also have delicious smoothies and even vegan cake!! The visual is as vibrant as the taste.
Note: The Plant Kitchen holds both vegan food and baked goods and the Plant Bakery only has baked goods.
Location: Chains all over Seoul
If you want more bang for your buck, (or won) Juicy is the place to go. They have a wide range of raw fruit smoothies that cost as little as 2,000-3,000 thousand won per drink. You can even ask to exclude the sweetener in your smoothie. as well. I wouldn’t eat it as a meal, but it’s definitely a good alternative to going to a café and having a sugar-y dessert.
Location: Sangsu & Yeonnamdong
Again Refresh is famous for their delicious salads and sandwiches. They are very generous with portion sizes for the price. A bowl of their salad is actually very filling! Their salads and sandwiches also come in set menus with your choice of pressed juice.
Soak Insider Tip: If you feel it’s a hassle to go out finding these places,– you can also make wise choices at your local shikdang! I highly recommend bibimbap. It ranges from marinated roots and vegetables over rice or to just being also topped with grated meat and egg. There’s many different combos! This dish is mostly made of whole foods and is very yummy when mixed it with red pepper paste! Also, don’t forget to have your serving of Kimchi with every meal for it’s beneficial probiotics. These two delicacies are probably the most traditional and nutritious foods in all of Korea.
It’s easy to get carried away with food when you’re in Korea, but generally sticking to whole foods and even traditional soups and stews can help from gaining unwanted weight. Also, don’t forget to exercise! Taking a jog in Han river or going on a bike ride is a good way to maintain good health as well!