With Korean food growing in popularity, restaurants selling bibimbap and kimchi seem to be appearing on every street corner. Delicious Korean food is so easy to come by these days, but what about the secret spots Korean locals have been loving for decades? Yonsei University is known for its diversity, lending well to a whole host of restaurants and cafes serving everything from traditional Korean dishes to a classic omelette. We’ve compiled some of the restaurants most highly rated by Yonsei students near Yonsei’s Sinchon campus to take out the difficulty of hunting down those secret gems every college student finds.
- On Campus
Looking for a quick kimbap or coffee on your way to class? How about an ice cream to keep you going during your pre-finals all nighters? GS25 is a 24 hour convenience store franchise popular all over Korea, and is available to Yonsei International student dorm residents. This GS25 is conveniently located on the ground floor of the SK Global dormitory. Yonsei students are known to stop in every morning before class for an on-the-go breakfast or snack.
Korea is often praised for its extraordinary public school lunch program, and this benefit continues to be loved at the college level. Yonsei has several cafeterias on campus with cost-effective options - many students say they rarely spend above $3.50 USD for a meal! These cafeterias are each known for their unique dishes, which rotate out daily and are open for three meals a day.
- Gwangjang Market (광장시장)
Recently the star of Netflix’s Street Food's Korea episode, Gwangjang Market is busy with merchants selling everything from luxury fabrics, accessories, clothing, and our favorite—street food! This is a great place to spend a Friday night filling up on hotteok (호떡: korean sweet pancake), mandu (만두: meat and vegetable dumplings) or delicious tteokbokki (떡볶이: spicy rice cakes). Only a short distance away from the Dongdaemun Market, Gwangjang is conveniently located and makes for a great stop during a night out with friends.
- Delicious Tofu and Kimchi Soup (맛있는순두부&김치찜)
Did someone say twenty-four hours? Yonsei University’s campus and surroundings are well aware of the sometimes unconventional schedules of a busy college student, so 24-hour stores and restaurants can be found on every street corner. Often considered the top favorite food stop of Yonsei students, this 24-hour tofu soup restaurant (literally called 맛있는순두부&김치찜: delicious tofu and kimchi soup) serves as the meeting place for busy students every day of the week at every time of the day. They sell piping hot sundubu jjigae (순두부찌개: soft tofu stew) as well as kimchi jjigae (킴치찌개: kimchi stew). Be aware, this restaurant can easily be addicting and will quickly become a nightly occurrence for those late night cravings!
- Hanlim Donga (한림돈가)
Korean barbecue is a must for anyone looking to experience the unique culture and delicious flavors of Korean cuisine. K-BBQ is known for allowing you to cook your own meat, and is a wonderful experience with friends or family. One of Yonsei students’ favorite spots for K-BBQ is Hanlim Donga, a hot spot for pork barbecue and delicious side dishes. This is a great choice for those looking for an authentic Korean dining experience!
- Taco Loco (타코로코)
Korea is not often known for its authentic Mexican food, but Taco Loco, located in Sinchon, comes pretty close! Taco Loco is a very popular spot for international students at Yonsei, and serves delicious tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and chips and salsa. If you’ve been in Korea for a bit and are starting to crave the taste of home, we highly recommend stopping by Taco Loco for a quick and cheap bite to eat!
- Standby Kitchen (스탠바이키친)
You’ve seen some great options for Korean food near Yonsei University, but if you’re starting to get homesick or are just craving a good burger, we recommend Standby Kitchen, located near Ewha High School. Standby is known for its delicious handhelds: burgers, egg sandwiches, BLTs and more. They’re also a popular brunch location, serving omelettes, and baking their own bread daily. This is a great option for anyone who is looking for a healthier alternative to dorm ramen, and is easily taken to go for busy students.
We hope this list helps you navigate the overwhelming amount of restaurants and cafes in the Yonsei University vicinity and gives you a place to go when you just can’t figure out what to eat! Which restaurants are you dying to try? Let us know in the comments some of your secret spots to find great and cheap food in Korea!
Written by Abby Kotar