South Korea has become a popular travel destination and Muslims account for a significant share. However, Seoul is still one of those cities where not only tourists but also expats have always found it difficult to locate a halal restaurant in Seoul.
But fret not! The Korea Tourism Organisation (KTA) and more importantly restaurant owners themselves are making an effort in making South Korea a more Muslim-friendly country. KTA also announced that they are planning to increase their efforts in encouraging more restaurants to get halal certification, in order to serve 1.2 million Muslim tourists coming in 2017.
To help you out with your trip to Korea planning, we have found five must try halal restaurants in Seoul where you are able to eat both traditional Korean and international cuisine. If you’re a vegetarian or simply a seafood lover then check out our favourite Korean halal dishes that we believe are worth the try, they are super yummy and can be found here.
EID Halal Korean Food
EID restaurant is a halal certified favourite amongst the Muslim locals and tourists as it located close to the Seoul Central Mosque. Taste their popular dishes: Banchan (a meal made up of multiple side dishes served with rice and kimchi), Bibimbap (mixed rice with an assortment of vegetables) and Korean beef stir fry for a true Korean experience. We recommend EID for mainly special occasions as it can be expensive on an everyday basis. Also, because this halal Korean restaurant is small, the waiting queue can be quite long so make sure you plan your visit in advance. Food at EID makes the place definitely worth a visit as one of our favourite Halal restaurants in Seoul.
Must Try in their menu: Korean stir fry beef
Google Rating: 4.3/5
Facebook Page: EID Halal Korean Food
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EG4WQuYSbMx, nearest Station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: 11:30 AM – 9 PM, closed on Mondays
Balwoo Gongyang keeps true to the principles of eating food at a Buddhist temple, following the principles of true Korean cuisine started in the beginning of the Joseon era. The name of the restaurant refers to disciplining oneself in Buddhism, maintaining self-control as well as the method of monastery meals consumed by the monks. Balwoo serves only organic vegetarian food, excluding the forbidden five pungent vegetables from their diet: scallions, onions, chives, leeks and garlic from its cuisine. Balwoo’s cuisine makes one realise the importance of vegetables and encourages it to be the main focus in their recipes as they are cooked following techniques used for centuries.
P.s. Although it’s Buddhist, Muslim travelers still can enjoy this cuisine as it’s purely vegetarian.
Must Try in their menu: Song-l and Sansa
Google Rating: 4.3/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Vd1oTREe2Hv, nearest station: Gyeongbokgung
Opening Hours: Till 9 PM, closed on Sundays
Makan Halal Korean Restaurant
Makan restaurant in Itaewon is run a Korean Muslim family who serve the traditional Korean cuisine to tourists and locals. They took an extra step and got certified by KMF (Korean Muslim Federation) in 2015 for an additional assurance their meals are halal. We recommend that you try their best-selling dishes Makan Bulgogi (thin, marinated slices of beef) and Bulgogi Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish with a selection of vegetables. With an extremely affordable price point and a warm hospitality from the owners, Makan is definitely a notable restaurant to check out as it
P.s. They also offer help and information services to Muslim tourists.
Must Try in their menu: Samgyetang, a Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup
Google Rating: 4.9/5
Facebook Page: Makan Halal Korean Restaurant
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/VwHCiFWcc9n, nearest Station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: 10:30 AM – 10:30 PM, closed on Tuesdays
Yang Good (Yangguk) Halal Korean BBQ
Korean Barbecue is one of the South Korea’s most favourable food that garnered attention all over the world. Multitude of Korean BBQ restaurants have being opening up in recent years which makes it a great food awakening.
Yang Good BBQ is a restaurant where you can sample the world-famous Korean barbecue without having to worry about whether it is halal or not as this restaurant offers halal meat imported from Australia. Locals consider Yang Good BBQ to be one of the best, if not the best halal BBQ place in South Korea. You can enjoy a tasty lamb kebab or skewers prepared in Korean style, glazed with sweet-spicy Korean barbecue sauce. Barbecues and kebab are not the only food you can enjoy here; they also serve other traditional Korean dishes such as cold noodles and kimchi soup.
Must Try in their menu: Skewered Lamb meat and mutton soup
Google Rating: 4.4/5
Facebook Page: Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb – Halal
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/o3oqJqiSx6y, nearest Station: Yeoksam
Opening Hours: 3 PM – 12 AM, closed on Sundays
BoA Travel House
Conveniently located in Hongdae, an urban region in Seoul known for its youthful ambiance, BoA Travel house is a restaurant as well as a guesthouse that known for its eight kinds of halal dosiraks. Dosiraks are Korean packed lunches that consist of rice, side dishes and soup, kept warm by by their special packaging – thermo steel containers (no plastic!). This is very convenient for tourists who are visiting the area and want to eat Korean food on the go.
P.S. BoA travel house is also an awesome place to stay in Seoul (recommended by us on Tripfez! Check BoA Travel House Muslim amenities); plus they offer their guests a 10% discount for their restaurant!
Must Try in their menu: Bulgogi Dosirak
Google Rating: 4.4/5
Facebook Page: Halal Korean Food Dosirak, Hongdae of Seoul
Location: Hongdae, https://goo.gl/maps/p6Co4iJ184B2, nearest Station: Hongik University
Opening Hours: 12 PM – 9 PM, closed on Mondays.
This Middle Eastern restaurant uses the same name as the capital city of Morocco: Marrakesh restaurant’s interior has a quintessential Middle-Eastern style that sets the mood, and the restaurant’s menu is filled with dishes that effectively recreate the Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan sandwiches with chicken or falafel, and Kabsa, a mixed rice dish with served with either chicken or lamb with a topping of potatoes, raisins and pine nuts are local must-try favourites here. Another notable dish at Marrakech is couscous (steamed crushed wheat semolina). They also serve hookah (a smoking device for those craving for shisha) giving you the ultimate Moroccan experience.
Must Try in their menu: Falafel Sandwiches and Couscous
Google Rating: 4.5/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/F92nVeb7oWA2, nearest station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, till 3 AM
MURREE Halal Korean Food
Murree restaurant takes its name from a city in Islamabad from northern Pakistan and embodies a mix of the Pakistani and Korean food cultures. The owner, a Muslim Pakistani from Murree, offers a variety of Pakistani foods that is enriched with history and flavour, from currys of different spices to Biryani, a mixed rice dish served with meat – their special must-try dishes. The restaurant is also well-known for serving Korean food such as Dakdoritang (Korean spicy stew), Kimchi stew and Bulgogi, a tribute to his host country.
Must Try in their menu: Tandoori Chicken and Biryani
Google Rating: 4.3/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vyt9AX5dTRS2, nearest station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 11 AM to 10 PM
Little India restaurant is located near Seoul Central Mosque and is often crowded with locals and tourists wanting to taste their flavourful curry. ‘Little India special for 2’ is their most popular choice on the menu as it offers Lasooni Kebab (a garlic infused meat), Tandoori Chicken, Plain Naan, Malai Kebab (chunks of chicken wrapped in sour cream, creamy textures of cheese and cream cheese), Garlic Naan and Mango Lassis (yogurt based drink). If you are a party of one, go for the Chicken Dopiaza curry cooked with flavourful spices and a large amount of onions.
Must Try in their menu: Little India special for 2
Google Rating: 4.1/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/h938xApkLt32, nearest station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM
Salam restaurant serves Turkish cuisine and is located right next to Seoul Central Mosque. It is known to be the very first Turkish restaurant to open in South Korea and has been certified by the KMF (Korean Muslim Federation). The owner of the restaurant is in fact a Muslim Korean who visited Turkey and could not forget the taste of the Middle Eastern dessert Baklava (a sweet pastry dessert). This inspired him to open up a restaurant in Korea in order to bring the Turkish culture to Korea, and he was able to achieve this by hiring two Turkish chefs. The restaurant’s menu represents the Turkish cuisine by re-creating authentic foods such as lamb or chicken doner and Köfte. If you have a sweet tooth, enjoy desserts and pastries at an affordable price at Salam Bakery which is just next door.
Must Try in their menu: Lamb shish kebab
Google Rating: 4.2/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Yyg5RruntSp, nearest station: Itaewon
Opening Hours: Till 10 PM, closed on Mondays
You can get a different taste of cultures simply by eating at Foreign Restaurant (레스토랑).
The restaurant is located in Itaewon and specialises in Indian food, but it also serves Korean dishes as well as Middle Eastern and Bangladeshi cuisine, with an occasional serving of Chinese and Italian. This eatery is popular amongst locals as it deviates away from their everyday Korean meals, and they can taste so many different cuisines in one place. Tourists also come here often for the buffet; while slightly limited, the buffet does give value for money at ₩20,000 per person. They also have weekday lunch specials for a more reasonable price from around ₩8,000. A definite must visit if you are looking for the international experience.
Must Try in their menu: Tandoori Chicken
Google Rating: 3.5/5
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FKQTauUB1YQ2, nearest station, Itaewon
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 11:30 AM– 11 PM
Tips to help you when searching for a halal food in Seoul:
- When in doubt, make to sure to double-check with the restaurant before you order anything, if not opt for a vegetarian choice.
- South Korea launched an app called ‘Halal Korea’ dedicated to help Muslims in find the best halal restaurants.
It may still be a struggle finding halal food everywhere in South Korea, especially in cities outside of the capital area, however, on the positive side of things we are starting to see an uprise of Muslim-friendly eateries. If you are deciding to travel to Busan, you can enjoy a selection of our favourite halal restaurants in Busan.
Did you like these Halal Restaurants in Seoul?
If you have tried any of these restaurants, then let us know of your experience in the comments section below.
If you’re visiting South Korea, we’ve prepared the 5 day essential Korea itinerary. And if need to book a Muslim-friendly hotel, visit our South Korea country guide for Muslim travelers that also has a Qibla map and a prayer time calendar so you don’t miss your prayer.
Those who prefer to have all the travel arrangements taken care of instead, book Tripfez 5D4N fullboard Korea tour that includes Seoul, Nami island and Skiing with an experienced guide.