Back to Seoul & dinner at Itaewon

Day 5:

Today its our day to go back to Seoul. Upon reaching  Gimpo airport, first thing is to get for ourselves a “cash bee” card at the convenience store before we got on the train to our apartment. The “cash bee” card is a stored value card that can be used to pay for transport and also purchases at the convenience store. You can charge it at the ticket machines that can be found at the subway stations. Its more crowded here in Seoul and being at the subway station reminds me of home.

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Our airbnb host met up with us outside the train station and drove us to our apartment. That was really nice of him. After checking in and washing up, we went to Itaewon for dinner.

Itaewon is the place where you can see a lot of other nationalities and cultures in Seoul. It is even designated as a ‘Special Tourism District’. It is a global village in Seoul and is served by Seoul Subway Line 6.

Itaewon is famous especially for the muslim community. Ask or tell any muslim that you are going to Korea, everyone will tell you to go to Itaewon. That is because this is the place with a lot of restaurants serving halal food. There are also supermarkets selling halal ingredients. Being muslim, finding halal food in a different country will typically generate a lot of excitement. We love to travel and this is one of the things we have to consider before going somewhere. Of course we can also make do with bringing our own supplies but to have them there is more convenient. To find authentic local halal food there is a bonus since we get to taste their cuisine. So once we know about a local restaurant or area where there is halal food, word will get around.

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There are many kinds of international cuisine you can find here like Turkish, Indian, Thai, Italian and lots more. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are a lot of halal restaurants here. For those missing their home cuisine, you just might find them here.

We went to eat at Makan Halal Korean Restaurant which serves really great food. The owner is a Korean Muslim. We met the owner as he goes around asking how our meal was. He is a really friendly person and you can tell how dedicated he is to provide good food and service for his customers. We also met a really friendly family from Selangor and had a nice exchange about their travels here. Its their last day here and they are sad holidays are over. For us, we just got here and are excited.

The menu here is quite extensive. We ordered the beef bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and spicy squid meal. I love the beef bulgogi! They serve a lot of side dishes and I really like the sesame seaweed. The price of the meals are reasonable and I really like the atmosphere of the restaurant. The service is also good. Dosirak is also available here. Dosirak is a packed lunch or the Korean bento. I would definitely recommend coming here.

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The Seoul Grand Mosque can also be found here. It lies on a hill overlooking the city. It is quite a walk up the slope along the narrow lanes. It was opened in 1976 and it is the only mosque in the Seoul Capital Area. Its really peaceful here.

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There are some supermarkets and butchers here that sells halal food and ingredients. So for those who wants to cook instead of eating at the restaurants, you can get your supplies from them. Most of them can be found near the mosque.

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The streets of Itaewon are also full of stores selling clothes, bags, accessories, etc. So, time to go shopping!

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Since I’m writing about Itaewon here, I would like to mention another halal restaurant we went to on a different day. We just had to come back here again. That restaurant is Eid – Halal Korean Food. There was so much hype about it online and they had opened another branch in Malaysia. So, I just had to try it out here. The owner too is a Korean Muslim and he is friendly too.

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There were only three items on the menu on the day we went there, beef bulgogi, spicy chicken jjimdak (steamed chicken) and samgyetang (chicken in herbal soup). I had the spicky chicken jjimdak because I wanted something spicy. Its more sweet than spicy though. This place is smaller and seats are limited. There were people who had to wait outside since the restaurant was full. It is worth the wait because the food here is delicious too and you can have free refills of rice and side dishes!

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There are other halal restaurants that can be found here which I didn’t have the opportunity to go to. I will definitely come back and try their food.

Here are details of the places I visited here:

The Seoul Grand Mosque (서울 중앙성원)

Address:

732-21, Hannam2-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul-si
서울특별시 용산구 우사단로10길 39 (한남동)

Nearest Subway Station: Itaewon station

How to get there:

  • Take Exit 3 of Itaewon Subway Station Line 6.
  • Walk all the way straight until the junction where you see Mr. Kebab restaurant on you right.
  • Make a right turn at that junction into the uphill slope.
  • Walk all the way up until you reach another junction where the road splits. You can see a lane with a red brick wall on the right and buildings on the left. This is the lane you need to walk into. Its on the opposite side of the road.
  • So, turn left, cross the road and take that lane with the red brick wall on your right. If you see Siti Sarah Restautant on your left, this is correct lane.
  • Walk all the way straight uphill (yes, we were breathless by now), until you see a halal butcher on your left.
  • Turn left and you can see the mosque’s entrance.

Makan Halal Korean Restaurant (마칸 할랄 코리안 레스토랑)

Address:

52 Usadan-ro 10 gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-911, South Korea

140-911용산구 우사단로10길 52

Operating Hours:

  • 10.30am to 10.00pm
  • Closed on Tuesdays

Telephone Number: +82 2 6012 2231

Nearest Subway Station: Itaewon station

How to get there:

  • Take Exit 3 of Itaewon Subway Station Line 6.
  • Follow the instructions as per going to the mosque.
  • Turn right when you reach the entrance of the mosque and walk further along that lane facing the entrance of the mosque and you will find it on your right.

Eid – Halal Korean Food (이드 – 할랄 코리안 푸드 )

Address:

67, Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-911, South Korea

140-911용산구 우사단로10길 67

Operating Hours:

  • 11.30am to 9.00pm
  • Closed on Mondays

Telephone Number: +82 70 8899 8210

Nearest Subway Station: Itaewon station

How to get there:

  • Take Exit 3 of Itaewon Subway Station Line 6.
  • Follow the instructions as per going to the mosque.
  • Turn right when you reach the entrance of the mosque and walk further along that lane facing the entrance of the mosque and you will find it on your left.

 

Up next, Nami Island. Its one of the places that shouldn’t be missed on a trip here. Come back to read about it in the next entry.

 

 

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