Finding Great Korean Food in Beijing

Korean food in Beijing
Korean food in Beijing

Just the other week I declared I had eaten the best meal of my stay in Beijing. Well, now I have had my second best meal here and it wasn’t even Chinese food! My love for Korean food, drink and culture began in 2006 when I moved to South Korea to work as an ESL Teacher. Sure, for the first week  there I basically starved because I couldn’t use the metal chopsticks and the food everyone else ordered for me turned out to be full of shellfish or meat. But since then, I have mastered every type of chopstick and learned which Korean foods are for me. I have also enjoyed many a bottle of Soju (Korean alcohol) and memorised all there is too know about Korean eating and drinking etiquette. I have sought out Korean food in many different countries and, even in London (where I lived nowhere near a Korean restaurant), I would often eat it at least once a week.

When some friends in Beijing decided to organise a trip to a Korean restaurant this past Friday, I couldn’t have been more excited! After a long week at work, we headed to Wangjing, an area in Beijing where many Koreans live. Spotting a Lotte Mart, Justin and wondered if it was like Lotte Mart in Korea or if it would be the same as the Chinese Carrefour (nothing French inside at all). As we passed shops with signs in Hangul (Korean script) I practised reading them “Ma, sar, jee…oh Massageee..massage!”

Korean Restaurant in Wangjing, Beijing
Korean Restaurant in Wangjing, Beijing

We arrived at the restaurant and were shown to a private room. Even though I love living in Beijing, Korea will always be my original Asian home and I was thrilled with the setup. We had a long, low table with ‘fake chairs’ and  hidden leg space under the table. This gives the illusion of sitting traditional style on the floor but without the leg cramp!

The menus were an odd mix of English and Chinese in the food section and Chinese and Korean script in the drinks section. Luckily, Justin and I were able to find the Soju and the Hite beer in Hangul. Our waitress was Chinese so I nearly blew my own mind by trying to order Korean food in Mandarin. Luckily we had Chinese friends to help us out!

In wasn’t long before our little group (a great mix of British, American, French and Chinese people all living in Beijing) were indulging in some amazing Korean food. Our table was full of veggie side dishes, barbecued meat and all the accompaniments, delicious vegetable dolsot bibimbap (for Justin and I) and of course, Kimchi. Yes, I even love kimchi now. Despite some of my fellow diners initial uncertainty, the bottles of soju went down rather too well. I won’t even reveal how many we drank in the end. Of course, I drank soju many times in Korea but I did feel a bit sorry for the unsuspecting friends who had never had it before and were encouraged by the shouts of “One Shot”.

Korean meal in Beijing
Korean meal in Beijing

Justin  and I even had a new Korean drinking experience. One of our Chinese friends introduced us to the concept of adding pommegranate to soju. It comes in small bottles and you literally pour it into the bottle of soju before serving. I don’t know how we’ve never had this before. Delicious!

I enjoyed our Korean night in Beijing so much. It was the perfect way to blend together my old and my new Asian homes! Cheers!

I must have had a million photos taken with the v sign. Kimcheeeee
I must have had a million photos taken with the v sign. Kimcheeeee

17 thoughts on “Finding Great Korean Food in Beijing

  1. Haha love the bit about you nearly starving because of the metal chopsticks. The worst! Luckily in Japan, where I did my ESL/money saving thing for two years, is much more sensible about their chopsticks. Also, pomegranate in soju? Yum!

  2. I have never tried Korean food when in Beijing. I was too busy looking for authentic Chinese dishes. However, I’m a big fan of Korean cuisine. We went to a local restaurant here in Dongguan which was run by Korean chefs and the salmon we were served was so freaking delicious!

  3. That looks amazing. I need to hunt down some decent Korean food here in Taiwan. I went to one all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ place, but it was sooooo not Korean – and not very good. However I inadvertently stumbled on a street lined with Korean stores and even a Korean restaurant (with 한글!), so I was pretty excited and shall be eating there soon. Me and a friend did purchase a bottle of soju there. Ah, 참이슬…

    1. Hehe I’m glad you found a Korean street and hope the food there is better than the BBQ place! I seriously get so excited when I find Korean areas/stores/streets. When I was in London I trekked out to New Malden to go to a huge Korean supermarket. I felt like I was back in Korea there. It was the best day ever ha! 🙂 Enjoy the 소주 !

  4. Im still super crap at chopsticks. Seriously who thought it was a good idea to make the primary tool for eating rice two sticks.. Im looking at moving to China soon so I am really appreciating your articles 🙂

  5. Joella, do you listen to KCRW in China? Didn’t think you could.
    That’s exactly where I heard Dengue Fever played.

    I am based here in Santa Monica so it’s not a stretch. Listening in Beijing would be!

    Although, we are referred to as “The People’s Republic of Santa Monica” (as heard on Harry Shearer show Sunday Mornings)

    1. Hi Rick! Yes, luckily I can listen to it in China! We have an internet radio so can get KCRW and the KCRW all music channel on there. Also, I listen to the recordings of some of the individual shows/programmes on their website because of the time difference.
      It’s definitely my favourite radio station. My husband is from California and he introduced me to it about 8 years ago- I’ve been listening ever since. It’s a great place to find new music.
      Ahh, Santa Monica (or the people’s republic.. 🙂 ). I love it there! Are you from there or just based there now?

      1. That’s great you have open access to the internet. Lately I’m addicted to Pandora Radio and create my own stations. I even pay the $3.99 month fee for no commercials.
        I have a home in Santa Monica and have been here forever. My plan was to keep it as my pied de terre and travel everywhere but I married a great gal who likes her local career and keeps me stuck here most of the time.
        I enjoy you writing (makes me hungry) keep on bloggin.

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