I’ve been in London for about four months now and as a Korean I have been craving some good Seoul food since welcome week. Having lived abroad for most of my life, finding the hidden gems of the Korean food scene has become an essential skill to harness. Compared to the cities I lived in before (Istanbul and Dubai) finding Korean food in London was relatively easy. The traditional food I was once made fun of for having in my lunch box during grade school has now become a heavily demanded staple for hipsters in the city. Kimchi tacos, kimchi burgers, kimchi pizza are some of the unique and equally horrifying fusion creations I’ve come across in London.
As a self-proclaimed Korean food connoisseur, I’ve been on the prowl for some hearty, authentic Korean food since day one and have created a list of some of the Korean restaurants I discovered in my first semester, all within close proximity to King's campuses!
Photo Credit: Halim Kim
1. Kimchee Strand
Details: This restaurant is situated within five minutes’ walk from Strand campus - very convenient for that quick lunch in between your lectures and seminars! Kimchee Strand is a more casual version of its counterpart in Holborn. The menu consists mostly of Korean bunshik (South Korea’s take on fast food). Each food item is organised under Incheon, Seoul, Jeju and Busan, the major Korean cities. As a native its weird seeing burgers as the representative food for the city of Busan known mostly for seafood but, hey, as long as the food is good, I am not complaining!
Must try: The Tuna Mayo Kimbap. The most basic Korean food but, if done right, a flavour bomb will explode in your mouth. This Kimchee does it perfectly.
Location: 388 Strand, London WC2R 0LT
Photo Credit: On the Bab, Instagram
2. On the Bab
Details: Now let’s talk about On the Bab. You’ll know when you get there because you can see a bunch of hipster east Asians lined up outside around lunch time. On the Bab boasts western-friendly fusion Korean food. Personally, it seems a bit watered down as I prefer the original strong taste Korean food has to offer, but On the Bab is perfect for those just starting in the Korean food scene.
Must try: The buns. With various types of fillings ranging from pork to chicken, the bao buns will literally melt in your mouth when you take a bite.
Location: 36 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BD
Photo Credit: Oseyo Eats
3. Oseyo Eats
Details: Located in close proximity to the Waterloo campus Oseyo eats is a hybrid between a restaurant and a convenience store, selling ready foods as well as Korean groceries. Like Kimchee Strand, Oseyo Eats sells Korean bunshik or fast food. From Korean ramen to fried chicken, they are ready to serve up your food quickly as all food is ready made.
Must try: The hoppang aka Korean red bean buns. Hoppang is perfect for that cold winter day when you want to warm your hands and insides!
Location: 158 Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8SB
Photo Credit: CheeMc, Instagram
Details: CheeMc is situated in Walworth road at the heart of East Street in Southwark. As evident in the name of the restaurant, CheeMc is a short-name for chicken and Mekju (the Korean word for beer). They also serve up delicious soups and hotpots for friends to share.
Must try: The garlic fried chicken. Every time I have taken a friend here, they have been amazed by the quality chicken: the crispy batter and the sweet garlic sauce are a match made in heaven.
Location: 310 Walworth Rd, London SE17 2NA
Photo Credit: Daebak
Details: We end our Korean food list with a restaurant located near the King’s Vauxhall accommodation. Daebak which means 'great' in Korean certainly lives up to its name. Its menu includes all the essential Korean food items, ranging from Korean fried Chicken to Kimchi Soup. The booths make it perfect for families or group of friends to enjoy a meal together. Its also situated right next to a Korean karaoke bar, Jihwaja, so you can sing your heart out and burn some calories after your meal!
Must try: The seafood sundubu Jigae. This is a spicy seafood soup with soft tofu, served with a portion of rice. When you want something fiery to burn your stress a way this should be a go to dish.
Location: 316-318 Kennington Ln, Lambeth, London SE11 5HY
Edited by Evangeline Stanford