Eating in Korea is as much a part of experiencing the culture as going to the beach is in Australia. Restaurants are everywhere, invariably meticulously clean, and serve cheap and tasty food.

Some of the most popular are barbecues (see below), rice dishes (bibimbap is the most famous), soups, savoury pancakes and dakgalbi (delicious grilled spicy chicken).


Most restaurants have a barbecue set into the table (or have camping-style mini gas stoves), which you use to barbecue slices of meat. Beef and pork are the most common, but can also be chicken, seafood or vegetables. Cooking the meat is easy, while the staff will often help out if you look like you’re getting nowhere!


Korea’s national dish is served with just about every meal. It’s spicy, pickled cabbage and makes a great accompaniment to dinner. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but give it a few tries – 50 million Koreans can’t be wrong.


Seoul has some gracious teahouses with a beautiful and traditional décor. The tea can be expensive but has to be tasted to be believed – it’s that good.


Soju is the traditional Korean liquor, made from rice and not hugely different to vodka. It’s potent stuff but at dinner many Koreans slam back shot after shot.


Tap water is safe to drink in South Korea.