Eating our way through Suwon in Korea
Updated: Apr 28
SUWON, SOUTH KOREA: Suwon lies about 30 km south of Seoul, is the capital and largest city of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea's most populous province. It is traditionally known as "The City of Filial Piety". It is also the only remaining completely walled city in South Korea and one of the more popular tourist destinations.
Suwon is not just a cultural centre but also a culinary hub. These are all the spectacular food we found in Suwon.
새우상회 수원역점 (Shrimp Market, Suwon Station Branch)
We found this place accidentally, and it is their marinated raw prawns that attracted our attention. We thought it to be a typical Korean restaurant, but it turned out to be an All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant. We had a problem communicating with the waitress, but it was amusingly solved through hand gestures and pointing 'here and there' on the menu. It was a complete disaster. Nevertheless, she came back with a lot of food which we were more than happy to oblige.
Not knowing beforehand, the set meal we ordered included Salmon Sashimi, DIY Korean Rice Ball, Crispy Fried Chicken, Soy Marinated Raw Prawns, Spicy Marinated Raw Prawns, and last but not least, DIY Rice Maki with lots of Tobiko. Boy, we were overwhelmed! It turned out to be so much food that we ended up only able to consume one round of it. Fully satisfied and very affordable at 20,900 Korean Won.
Address: 16-1 Hyanggyo-ro, Maesanno 1(il)-ga, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
When we first discovered this restaurant, we were there for the Octopus Abalone Short Rib Soup (낙지전복갈비탕). This is no surprise since the restaurant's name translated to "Rich Octopus".
In Korea, Octopus is also called "ginseng in the mudflat, " which is believed to be good for health. There is a saying by Jeong Yak-Jeon, "if three or four octopuses are provided to a skinny ox, he will be strong immediately.". Upon knowing this, we couldn't wait to try this dish.
It is tough to describe the taste, but you have to imagine a beefy soup with the umami from the sea. Instead of the usual fishy aroma you get from a seafood soup, this has the beefy bone smell you get from a broth. It is absolutely amazing.
Besides the hearty soup, this restaurant also served Pork Belly Baked in Huge Jar, also known as Mountain Pot BBQ. The pork is marinated and baked in the jar for many hours. Then, before serving, it is sliced into one to two centimetres thick and put on a hot metal plate to be grilled again. We ate it with the usual condiments and wrapped it in Lettuces or Perilla leaves. It is a great way to end our day on a cold winter day.
Address: 27-68 Maesanno 2(i)-ga, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
돈통 마늘보쌈 수원역점 (Dontong Garlic Bossam, Suwon Station Branch)
Bossam (보쌈) is a Korean Boiled pork dish made from pork shoulder or pork belly boiled in spices. The meat is thinly sliced and served with banchan. The pork is usually eaten with salted fermented shrimp (새우젓). If the pork is served with fresh raw oyster, the dish is called Gul Bossam (굴보쌈)
It was my first time having Gul Bossam, and I must admit that I didn't expect the combination of pork, oyster, and kimchi to be so delicious. Besides Bossam, we tried their Oyster Soup. It is fantastic too. If you have not tried Bossam before, you got to try it.
Address: 31-2 Hyanggyo-ro, Maesanno 2(i)-ga, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
79 Founyard can be found in many parts of Korea, and you cannot miss their Tiffany blue storefront. It vaguely brought me back to a store along an old London street with its vintage exterior. Yet, an Instagrammable interior can keep you occupied with your iPhone taking photos. Looks aside, 79 Founyard is not all looks and no substance. Their selection of cakes and waffles are all praiseworthy. In fact, we enjoyed the cake so much that we went back.
79 Founyard is also known for their waffles, crowaffles to be exact. Crowaffles are waffles made from croissant dough, giving you a much crispier texture. Coupled with high-quality butter, this is divine. This turned out to be our favourite cafe in Korea at the time of writing.
Address: 10, Hyanggyo-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
Jin Mi Chicken (진미통닭)
You can't say you have tried Suwon food if you have not been to Suwon Chicken Street for fried chicken. Suwon Chicken Street is located near the Hawseong Haengung Palace, making it a must-stop after a day of sightseeing. The whole area is dotted with so many fried chicken restaurants that you will get dizzy just by thinking about it.
With so many restaurants to choose from, we can't help but gravitate towards the most prominent Fried Chicken Restaurant. Jin Mi Chicken is located right beside the river with a big sign you cannot miss. There are only two flavours you can choose from, plain or spicy glaze. There is an option for half/half, and that is exactly what we went for since we wanted to try both. However, we prefer the plain one as the spicy glaze was too sweet for our palate. Personally, the fried chicken tasted like fried chicken. However, we still enjoyed the atmosphere and surrounding area, making it worthwhile.
Address: 23 Jeongjo-ro 800beon-gil, Haenggung-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
유치회관 (인계동 본점)
We are deprived of blood pudding (congealed blood) from Singapore. So I will never miss the chance to have Haejang-guk (해장국) or hangover soup with congealed ox blood. Haejang-guk refers to every kind of soup eaten as a hangover cure in Korean cuisine. It means "soup to chase a hangover". Seonjiguk (선짓국) is a type of Haejang-guk made with seonji (선지), coagulated ox blood.
This restaurant, 유치회관, at Suwon is very popular with the locals, and people travel there just to have their soup. When we arrived, there were more than 20 groups ahead of us. However, they moved the queue quite fast, and we only waited 15 minutes for our table. There are only three items on the menu: hangover soup, boiled ox meat, and spicy salad with boiled ox meat. We ordered the food before we were seated, and they served the food within minutes. By the time we finished, they had already served another 30 groups behind us. This is what I call fast food! Before you drink the soup, help yourself with the amount of ox blood you want and mix it into the soup. I like to mix my rice into the soup when I have this. It ensures I have a good portion of rice and soup in every spoon.
Address: 67 Hyowon-ro 292beon-gil, Ingye-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
육풍 수원역점 (Yukpoong, Suwon Station Branch)
Yukpoong is located at the end of Rodeo Street and is known for serving pork of all cuts. 육풍 수원역점 has one of the highest ratings around the area on Google and Naver. It is hard to go wrong with Pork BBQ as what you need is fresh, quality meat and ingredients. What truly sets it apart is the price, the environment you dine in and most importantly, the service they provide. 육풍 수원역점 checked all the boxes and more.
Address: South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Suwon-si, Maesanno 2(i)-ga, 40-9 KR
Gabojeong Galbi is the most popular restaurant for Galbi ribs in Suwon and might be the best Galbi Restaurant in Korea. This is also the biggest Korean Restaurant we have ever seen! There are three buildings and each with 400-600 seats. Kabojung Galbi (Gabojeong Galbi) is one of the most popular restaurants in Suwon. You get to choose between Korean or American beef, marinated or not marinated. Korean beef is more expensive than American beef because they only use the best. Whatever you order, it will be cooked to perfection by the waitress over a charcoal grill. The Banchan served in this restaurant is also exceptional. Besides the usual kimchi, they also have unlimited marinated raw crab, eel and japchae. It is a 5-star treatment in a Korean BBQ restaurant.
Address: 282 Jangdari-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do