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S1E5 The History of Kimchee (Kimchi) & What To Eat In Seoul, Korea

Listen To The History Of Kimchee (Kimchi) & What to Eat in Seoul Podcast Below.

The Full podcast episode contains kimchee facts, a detailed background on the history of kimchee, information on when many dishes were created (some are older than you think) and some of the MUST Try Korean dishes to eat in Seoul! Most importantly, it’s a fun and informative exploration of the tasty world of Korean Food.

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In The Podcast Above You’ll Learn about:

  • The origins & history of Kimchee and why is it so important in Korean food history.
  • What to eat in Seoul – our top picks of traditional dishes!
  • Where to eat in Seoul – Some top restaurant picks from us and other bloggers.
  • How NOT to pronounce many of the dishes mentioned (we tried – but Korean is super hard!)
  • Tommo eats a Korean dish that does not want to be eaten! (Video below too)
  • Kimchee in Space….
  • And lots more!

–> Looking for where to stay in Seoul? this post also offers a 5 day itinerary to get your travel plans started

THE BELOW CONTENT IS NOT A TRANSCRIPT – It’s companion and bonus material ONLY.

A Brief Overview Of The History Of Kimchee

Kimchee is a fermented vegetable dish made with salt and chilli and most commonly, napa cabbage. After initial preparation it is traditionally buried in clay pots underground so it can maintain a constant temperature during the fermentation process.

Early records of the history of Kimchee suggest it’s been produced since before 7AD (CE), possibly from 37BCE or before. Chilli was not available in South Korea until around 1614, so it’s believed black pepper would have been used as the essential spice to give Kimchee it’s characteristic kick!

The modern history of kimchee involves production in temperature controlled refrigerators. Kimchee even went to space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with South-Korean astronaut Yi So-yeon. Why? You’ll have to listen to the podcast above to find out.

For the full story and a ton more info on what amazing dishes to eat in Seoul, listen to the podcast above. Plus, more written info on what to eat & where to eat in Seoul, below.

What Is The Dish Food Podcast?

Foods Of The World – A Travel & History Guide

“The Dish” is Light-Hearted Food Travel Podcast Which Uncovers The Stories Behind The World’s Most Famous (& Best!) Dishes – And What To Eat In Destinations Worldwide.

Join food travel experts Tommo & Megsy from (Who have eaten their way through 90+ countries) and their expert guests, for tasty facts, foodie secrets and more! We even sometimes visit the destinations to meet the locals and eat the dishes, right from the source. Even when we can’t visit and record in person, almost every dish we describe is from a destination we’ve visited in the past to try.

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The Dish Podcast


Thanks for listening & your continued support of the show – Tommo & Megsy

History of Kimchee & What to Eat in Seoul – Mentions in this Episode:

Some recommendations for eating each of the dishes we mention in the podcast. After this, more suggestions from other food-travel bloggers.

Seoul Fish Markets – 3 Major ones you can find information about here:

Kimchee (Kimchi) – find it pretty much everywhere! 

History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Kimchee (Kimchi):  History of Kimchee & What to eat in Seoul Podcast

Bibimbap – Try This at Grandma Yu’s Bibimbap

Bipimbap - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Bibimbap – What to eat in Seoul Podcast

CNN 2017 best foods list

Bulgogi – Try this at Yeontabal BBQ Restaurant 

Bulgogi - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Bulgogi – History of Kimchee & What to eat in Seoul Podcast

BBQ – Where? See our list below…

Korean BBQ - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Korean BBQ – What to eat in Seoul

Kimbap – Try This at Kwangjang Market

Gimbap - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Kimbap  – What to eat in Seoul Podcast

Mandoo – Try This at Jonny Dumpling

Mandu - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Mandoo Dumplings – History of Kimchee & What to eat in Seoul Podcast

Tommo Eats Live Octopus 

Sashimi / Prawns – See our list below

What to eat in seoul - Sashimi & prawns from the fish market

Sashimi – Straight from the “aquarium” in the fish market – What To Eat In Seoul Podcast

Seafood market in Seoul – Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market

Makgeolli – Try at Mr. Ahn’s Craft Makgeolli 

makgeolli: History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Makgeolli in a teapot – What to eat in Seoul Podcast

Street Food (Tteok) Rice cakes in Sauce – Check the streets of Seoul…you can’t miss them! There is normally one about here most evenings.

Tteok History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

(Tteok) Rice cakes in Sauce – What to eat in Seoul podcast – Image by Chloe Lim at Flickr

Chicken & Beer – Han Chu Korean Fried Chicken & Beer

Garlic Fried Chicken – BBOBBO Chicken 


History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Spam! Surprisingly, A Korean Favourite. (What To Eat In Seoul Podcast)

Army Stew – Daewoo Skidang Restaurant

Korean Army Stew - History of Kimchee - What to eat in Seoul

Army Stew. Image by LWY at flickr –, CC BY 2.0. 

Things to Eat in Seoul + Where To Eat in Seoul

Discover more tasty Korean dishes and where to find them as told by the experts

Korean BBQ – Husband In Tow 

What to eat in Seoul - Korean bbq

What to eat in Seoul – Korean BBQ

On the top of any food traveler’s must eat list for Seoul has to be Korean BBQ, which is not just a dish, but an event. It’s possible to choose an amazing array of meats, including pork or beef of all cuts. All of the meats are grilled right on the table, along with peppers, seasoning, fresh garlic, and of course kimchi. Or, try the bulgogi, a Korean marinated beef, which is normally served hot pot style rather than grilled, but is part of the experience.

Try a bottle of local soju to wash it all down. Don’t be surprised if the staff helps grill up your meats. It’s not meant to infer that you don’t know what you’re doing, but just part of the friendly service.

Hands down the best place for Korean BBQ in Seoul is Maple Tree House, but it can be pricey. The meat there is amazing. Or, check out some of the 24 hour BBQ places, which are less expensive, and a lot more fun!

Sashimi – Once in a Lifetime Journey

What to eat in Seoul - sashimi

What to eat in Seoul – sashimi

In Korea, sashimi is different from the boring old salmon and tuna of the West. For Koreans, sashimi is usually eaten when visiting areas closer to the ocean like Busan or Jeju, yet in Seoul there is one place where you can feel safe eating raw fish, and that’s at Garak Market.

The popular fish market is located in Songpa-gu in the greater Gangnam Area (Garak Market Station crossing lines 3 and 8) and is open 24 hours a day, 6 days a week (closed Sundays and public holidays) and is filled with seafood of all kinds and other fresh produce. You can purchase fish to take home or eat at one of the restaurants in the newly renovated building right by the station. Visit any of the vendors in the 17 buildings spanning over 500,000 square meters, and select your live fish from the tank.

If you don’t want to eat at home, rather go to the smaller building by the station and one of the restaurants will prepare your gigantic plate of sashimi. All meals come with the usual side dishes (banchan) and a broth made with the rest of the fish at the end of the meal.

Dak Galbi – Bobo and Chichi

What to eat in Seoul - dak galbi

What to eat in Seoul – Dak Galbi

After living in Seoul for 2.5 years we grew to love so many local dishes. Our all time favorite though is dak galbi. This dish is cooked in front of you, similarly to Korean bbq, but instead of grilling the meat it is stir fried. The dish consists of chicken, a spicy gochujang based sauce (a chili soy based sauce), chopped cabbage, perilla leaves, scallions, rice cakes or tteok, and sweet potatoes known locally as goguma.

There is always a server who comes and checks on you and makes sure your dak galbi is cooking to perfection. After about 15 minutes of cooking in front of you at your table, you can have shredded mozzarella cheese added, this is the icing on the cake. After sprinkling the shredded cheese on top of your dak galbi a lid is placed to melt the cheese before it’s ready to serve.

This dish is incredibly tasty and perfect for spicy food lovers! You can find dak galbi all over Seoul at independent dak galbi joints or at the popular chain Yoogane which are all over the city.

Kimchi Dumplings – A Social Nomad

There’s no better way to get an introduction to Korean food in Seoul than to head to a market. The Gwanjang night market is a great place to start. Here each of the aisles has a specialty – and you won’t find many signs in English. Pull up a stool at one of the many food stalls here and prepared to feast.

A great introduction and one of the staples here is kimchi – a name for the family of pickled vegetables beloved by Koreans. Take it a step further and get yourself some Mandu. A handmade Korean dumpling stuffed full of kimchi and you’ll get the best of both worlds. The glorious salted seasoned, spicy taste of kimchi, minced pork and tofu encased in a lightly steamed dumpling. Heaven in a bowl with chopsticks. Eat it with broth, or without. You will of course also get kimchi on the side too. Just make sure you eat it. And come back for more.

화덕고깃간 – Travel Stained

What to eat in Seoul -

Where to eat in Seoul – 화덕고깃간

화덕고깃간 is a rare find in Seoul. Not just because it’s the only location in the city, (the other being in Daegu), but because it’s one of the few bbq places in Korea that sears its meat over an actual wood fire at your table.

They sell various cuts of pork (no beef), but don’t go there if you’re looking for the usual 3-layer pork belly or sam-gyupsal. Because at 화덕고깃간, they only have huge cuts of 5-layer pork belly or oh-gyupsal. Try not to be squeamish about the layer of skin that remains on the oh-gyupsal. It’s delicious when cooked up and crispy. If you believe what Koreans do, it’s also good for anti-aging due to the high levels of collagen found in it.

It comes with a huge array of unlimited refillable side dishes (or banchan), a boiling pot of kimchi jiggae, complementary skewer of veggies, and best of all, it doesn’t break the bank. If you stay long enough, you might even get a chance to win some fire-roasted sweet potatoes with a game of rock, paper, scissors.

Myeongdong – 197 Travel Stamps

One of the best things about traveling in Asia is the street food. If you are eager to find out what delicious meals the streets of Seoul are offering you, you should head to Myeongdong Shopping District. If you aren’t hungry yet, check out the hundreds of shops before diving into the culinary action. It is best to visit the area at night when the food market is at its busiest.

We first walked up and down the numerous stalls to have a look at what’s on offer and then we started off with some fried squids. After that, we hopped over to the next stall and tried some kimchi vegetable rolls, a small portion of yaki noodles with pork and then we moved on to dessert. We started off the sugar rush with a banana roti pancake and then we had to try some weird looking fruit

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We dive into the history of kimchee and discover why it's so important in Korean food history. Also, what to eat in Seoul, where to eat in Seoul, and more! We dive into the history of kimchee and discover why it's so important in Korean food history. Also, what to eat in Seoul, where to eat in Seoul, and more! We dive into the history of kimchee and discover why it's so important in Korean food history. Also, what to eat in Seoul, where to eat in Seoul, and more!