In today's era, solo travel is gaining popularity as it offers the freedom to choose your schedule, destinations, and dining preferences independently.
The younger generation, in particular, embraces solo travel more boldly compared to older generations less accustomed to exploring foreign countries alone.
Solo travel in Korea is notably safer and more convenient than in many other countries. Numerous hotels and hostels cater to solo travelers, some even offering gender-specific accommodations for added comfort and security.
Some Korean foods are meant to be shared like Korean barbecues, soups, and more. But some restaurants found a way so solo diners and travelers can still enjoy Korea’s best foods even when they are alone.
Here are ways you can enjoy Korean food when you’re solo in South Korea:
"Honbap," or eating alone, has become a trend as more people choose to live and dine solo. To meet this demand, honbap restaurants have emerged, offering a variety of Korean dishes in a comfortable setting. These establishments often have single-person booths, tables, and self-ordering kiosks, making it convenient for solo diners to enjoy their meals at their own pace.
Honbap restaurants in Seoul:
Hongojip for Korean BBQ
Budaetong for Korean stews and stir-fried menus
Odarijip for Korean soy Sauce Marinated Crabs
Street food stalls
For a convenient taste of authentic Korean food, explore street food areas like those in Myeongdong. You can enjoy classic dishes like Korean chicken, bulgogi, japchae, and popular snacks and desserts in these lively street food alleys. The servings are typically designed for 1-2 people, making it a perfect option for solo dining.
You can easily spot street food stalls in Myeongdong, Hongdae, Dongdaemun, and other touristy areas.
If you want to try a wider variety of Korean food than what is available in the street food stalls, you should visit a traditional market. Similar to the street food areas, food stalls in traditional markets cater to 1-2 people.
Traditional markets are a great way to experience Korean culture and try a variety of delicious foods. They are also a great place to buy souvenirs and other Korean goods.
You can check out traditional markets such as Gwangjang Market, Tongin Market, Namdaemun Market, and more.
Certain Korean dishes are challenging to order in solo servings, but you can still enjoy them by opting for food delivery. While the food portions are meant for sharing, you can store leftovers in your accommodation's refrigerator and reheat them for another meal.
The "Shuttle" app is a foreign-friendly choice for this, making the process easier for non-Korean speakers. Consider trying dishes like Bossam, Korean chicken from popular brands (BHC, Kyochon, BBQ, etc.), braised pig's trotters, and more through this convenient delivery option.
Lastly, it's time to talk about everyone's favorite: convenience stores. Did you know that Korean convenience stores sell set meals? You can buy them for less than $10 and get a complete meal with a main dish, multiple Korean side dishes (banchan), and some even have dessert. There is a wide variety of options available in convenience stores, and most of them taste great.