Myeongdong Street Food is probably one of the most popular tourist spots for first time visitors in Seoul. Many tourists stay in Myeongdong due to the proximity to historic sites and access to duty free shopping at the Lotte Department Store. Every night, around 5pm, the street food vendors of the night market set up shop along the main street outside the Euljiro-1ga subway stop exit 5 or exit 6. Here you can find most kinds of typical Korean street food such as tteokbokki, dragon’s beard honey candy, fried chicken, baked chestnuts, egg bread “gyeranbbang”, etc. If you have never experienced Korean street food before, this is a good place to try it out. The street vendors close up shop earlier than most other areas around 10pm. You can bring about 20,000 won / $20 and experience a whole variety of foods since most cost $2-$5 each.
Most of the other famous markets such as Gwangjang Sijang are indoors and are known for certain specialty food, whereas Myeongdong is a good introductory general area. In addition to popular food, all the popular Korean beauty brand stores and Korean street clothing stores are located here as well. If you want to try a restaurant in the area, the most famous sit down restaurants is Myeongdong Gyoza for traditional Korean knife cut noodles and dumplings. If you are curious to try Myeongdong Gyoza you can try this in the States in Fort Lee, NJ. I have eaten at both the original Korea location and the Fort Lee location many times and can wholeheartedly say the NJ location is just as good as the original in Seoul / Myeongdong.
Myeongdong is one of my favorite areas in Seoul because it is close to many great tourist spots such as Gyeongbokgung Palace, Cheonggyecheon, and Samcheongdong. Myeongdong is also home to one of my favorite foot massage places, The Foot Shop, I highly recommend you go there for a foot massage if you are in the neighborhood. You can also walk 20-30min to other famous restaurants such as Tosokchon Samgyetang Ginseng Chicken, the most famous Samgyetang restaurant in Korea and another traditional Korean food market, Tongin Sigjang which has the best tteokbokki in Seoul. One of my favorite traditional Korean beef BBQ spots is also in the area, Changgo 43. I recommend Changgo 43 if you want to try Korean BBQ with true domestic beef flavor and serving style in a big cast iron skillet that is unlike any of the BBQ spots in the NY / NJ area. The other place to go for food is the Lotte Department Store Food Court across the street from the night market. The perfect Myeongdong experience would probably be to browse Lotte Department store, eat at the Lotte Department Store Food Court, go across the street to the night market area for a foot massage, and then sample the street food after 5PM.
Now onto the Myeongdong Street Food Night Market
There is a main street of 20-30 food vendors across the street from Lotte Young Plaza outside the 5/6 exit of the Euljiro 1 ga subway station. The section of the street where the food vendors are is pretty short so you can just wander around to look at each stall. The food vendors are located as soon as you exit the subway underground passageway and is about two blocks long.
Quick video tour of the Myeongdong Street Food Night Market. See more of my Korean restaurant and markets reviews on my Youtube Channel JenCooksKorean
The foods are categorized in order of uniqueness to the Myeongdong Street Food Night Market. The first three you should definitely try, the others you can find in most other Korean food markets.
Home of the famous 32cm soft serve ice cream (12.5 inches). This 32cm soft serve has been around for the longest time. As of 2016, it is 2,000 KRW, or less than $2. However the price has rose steadily over the past few years. This is a specialty of this area so I would try it for fun but it’s not as tasty as Softtree soft serve with honeycomb which you can have in the Lotte Department store across the street.
Gomonae Tteokbokki is the most popular tteokbooki in Myeongdong and always has a thick crowd of customers. You have to go straight from the subway and make a right up the second block. It’s on the way to the foot shop. Their tteokbokki is good, but the best is still Halmoni Gireum Tteokbokki in Tongin Market a 30min walk away from Myeongdong.
I first saw this Tornado Potato on a Stick at the Myeongdong Street Food Night Market but I have started to see it pop up in other markets as well. Potatoes are spiralized, skewered, and fried. You can choose to dust them in onion or cheese powder; however, the powders tasted really artificial to me so I prefer to just eat the fried potatoes. This is always a crowd favorite.
Egg Bread “Gyerangbbang” is a super traditional Korean street food. The egg is baked into the bread and just delicious. I actually really like the egg bread on the other side of the street in front of the Lotte Department Store near the Krispy Kreme sign the most. That one is good because the bread is sweet and pairs well with the egg.
Dragon’s Beard pulled honey candy
Hand pulling the sugar strands for this candy
Traditional caramelized Korean sugar candy, Bbopki. Don’t be afraid, the halmoni who works this cart is super sassy and yells at a lot of people. 1,000 KRW, less than $1.
Grilled scallops and seafood
There are at least five different vendors selling their own version of Fried Chicken
Tteokbokki, Odeng, and Golbaengi (snails)
Strawberries in a Cup
Buyer Beware! The fruit juices are not worth buying there are a ton of pomegranate and other juice stands, but the juice is half watered down with seltzer and not that tasty