When it comes to food, the Land of the Morning Calm doesn’t disappoint. It is a food paradise. From Korean fried chicken that is second to none, to mouth-watering Korean street food, there is always something scrumptious being cooked up in Seoul! However, after living in Korea for a while, you may get the craving for something outside of Korean cuisine or want to try something new. If you want to get outside your comfort zone and try some authentic international food, be sure to check out these three foreigner owned restaurants in Seoul.
These restaurants are also all owned by immigrants, each with their own unique stories and pride in their homeland’s food. When you visit each of these restaurants, you will certainly get a taste of authentic, homemade food.
Moroccan Food | Marrakech Restaurant
Twenty years ago, chef Moustapha Rhiti came to Korea as the Chef for the Moroccan Embassy. Cooking is a tradition in the Rhiti family. Moustapha’s mother and grandmother used to cook for the Moroccan Royal Family in Fes, the oldest city in Morocco.
After Mousapha completed his contract with the embassy, he decided to stay in Korea with his wife Fatima, and his children Mehdi and Abella. The familial line of chefs continues. His son Medhi attended Woosong University in Daejeon, majoring in culinary studies.Today, Marrakech Restaurant continues to serve delicious, authentic food that introduces the culture of Morocco to Korea.
Morocco is a country located in northwestern Africa. Because of its geographical location it has a variety of regional influences that led to the formation of its unique food culture. Moroccan food uses spices from Arab cultures as well as lemons and olive oil which are found in a lot of Mediterranean cuisines. This fusion creates a wonderful blend of savory-and-sweet flavors that will certainly make Moroccan cuisine one of your favorites!
Read on to learn more about which dishes are the top picks to try for those who may need recommendations for their first time!
Lemon Chicken Tagine
This is a classic Moroccan dish, which uses seven Moroccan spices, preserved lemons, olives, olive oil and onions. This dish can be cooked in an authentic tagine or roasted in the oven, depending on your preference. Either way, the meat and vegetables have a soft, tender texture and are infused with a bold flavor. The best way to enjoy this dish of course is to scoop it up with a piece of fresh bread. Yum!
Lamb Prunes Tagine
This is another delicious Moroccan tagine dish. The Lamb Prunes Tagine is a slow-cooked stew, made with a combination of meat, vegetables, Moroccan spices, dried fruit and nuts, almonds, sweet bursts of dried prunes and tender chunks of meat. A tagine’s wide, shallow bottom and distinct conical lid traps the steam inside and returns condensed liquid to the pot, which means ultra-tender meat with little additional cooking liquid. This is a delicious dish that will always have you craving seconds!
It’s hard to say that you’ve had authentic Moroccan cuisine without trying couscous. It is often referred to as the national dish of Morocco. Couscous is a healthy, versatile side that you can serve with anything from roasted vegetables to chicken to lamb. Although couscous looks like a grain, it’s technically a pasta – it’s made with semolina flour from durum wheat, mixed with water. It’s great to pair with the delicious tagine dishes!
Vegetarian, Vegan, and Halal Options
Moroccan cuisine is also a great fit for vegetarians, vegans, and those following a halal diet. It is easy to find lots of items on the menu that suit a meat-free lifestyle.
Visitors may want to try Zaalouk which features eggplants and tomatoes. These two ingredients are commonly found in the cuisines of Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East. From falafel plates and vegan couscous to delicious appetizers such as the zaalouk, green salad, or hummus, there will be something delicious for all vegans and vegetarians to enjoy.
You also must make sure at the end of your meal to enjoy delicious Moroccan mint tea! It is the ideal beverage after a savory meal to leave you feeling refreshed! This is what makes Marrakech a must visit destination to enjoy delicious international food in Seoul!
Marrakech Restaurant Address: 164-1 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Korean Address: 서울특별시 용산구 이태원로 164-1 Operating Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
South African Food | Braai Republic
The story of Braai Republic begins when the founders met in 2009. They met while playing rugby and cricket for expat teams in Seoul. These players shared more than just a passion for sports, they also had a passion for cooking.
They began by selling boerewors rolls next to the sports field. Then they moved on to food festivals. And finally they opened up their first location in 2011. Their food was a hit with Americans, so they opened up a second branch near the army base in Pyeongtaek.
Finally, in 2019, they opened up their third place with one of their original Korean chefs who had completed a three year culinary course in South Africa. Braai Republic in Hongdae is now one of Korea’s trendiest spots for African food.
South African Cuisine
South African food truly reflects the diverse history of the country. Dishes are created using a unique blend Dutch, French, Indian, Malaysian, and indegenous techniques. The result is a delightful blend of textures, aromas, and tastes that people can’t get enough of.
When it comes to Afrikaans cooking red meat, potatoes, and rice with vegetables are staples. The braai, or barbeque, is one of the most famous types of cuisine in South Africa. Braai features red meat put over hot coals, infusing the meat with a savory, smoky flavor.
So if you’re ready to get a taste of South African culture, make sure to stop by Braai Republic to try these top dishes! For those who are unsure of where to begin, here are a few top picks!
It’s difficult to say that you’ve experienced braai without trying lamb chops. Although lamb chops are featured in other cuisines, Braai Republic’s lamb chops are seasoned to perfection. They are rich with flavor and the smell alone will leave your mouth watering. Their lamb chops are seasoned with their famous Braai salt which is a combination of 5-10 very specific hand picked herbs that bring out a rich flavor that you’ll never forget!
Meat pies are a classic dish from South Africa. However, they are known locally as Bobotie. Bobotie can be made with any of your favorite seasoned meats. Braai Republic’s meat pies are made with homemade dough, and filled with your choice of meat. This is a rich and savory dish that is full of the flavors of Africa!
Braai Republic’s Handmade Sausages
South African sausages are simply to die for. Braai Republic offers four sausages which each contain 99% meat- hooray for no fillers! From spicy, to sweet, to a more traditional gamey taste. These sausages are aromatic and zingy which will easily become a favorite for anyone who tries them!
Other Menu Items
Additionally, visitors are encouraged to pair these main dishes with their creamy spinach side dish. For those with a sweet tooth, Braai Republic also offers desserts that each have a unique taste – Amarula Cheesecake, Malva pudding, and Peppermint Crisp Tart. The main dishes can also be washed down with Windhoek Lager which is a Namibian Beer. Yum! For those who are vegetarian or vegan, there is delicious garlic bread, savory veggie pieces, and a few fresh salads.
However, be warnned – when you plan to visit the Braai Republic, don’t forget to skip breakfast. You will need the space you can get in order to finish our food! You can also feel free to stop by and enjoy traditional South African music, food, and an atmosphere that will take you out of Korea for the evening. This is certainly one of the best international restaurants in Seoul! You can also buy their delicious frozen products to take home online Here.
Braai Republic Address: 19 Itaewon-ro 14-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Korean Address: 서울 용산구 이태원로14길 19 Operating Hours: Tues - Sun 12:00 PM - 09:00 PM Mon 05:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Swedish Food | Hemlagat
Daniel Wikstrang has been running Hemlagat for seven and a half years with his wife Soojin. They met in China in 2003, and in 2009 they got tired of their working life and decided to start a Swedish cafe. They ran a Swedish cafe/restaurant in Chengdu for five years. Then later, they decided to move to Seoul and open a specialized Swedish restaurant.
In the Swedish language, ‘Hemlagat’ means ‘homemade’ and as the name suggests they specialize in Swedish home-style cooking. The restaurant offers dishes that are warm and comforting, that promotes hospitality and flavor of authentic Swedish food.
Due to the harsh climate of Scandinavian countries, Swedes began the practice of smoking and marinating fish or meat. Wild animals are also a large part of the traditional Swedish diet. Because the hunting season typically occured after the fall, stews with game meat have become a beloved winter dish. For those who are unsure where to begin with their journey into Swedish home cooked cuisine, here are a few delicious suggestions!
Marinated herring is thought of as the iconic Swedish dish. Plus, it is not as pungent as other marinated dishes. Marinated herring is served with a boiled egg and home baked rye bread.
Additionally, marinated herring is often paired with a drink, and ideally it is a Swedish vodka called ‘schnapps’. Schnapps has a strong flavor which makes it an ideal paring with the subtle tasty fish. Hemlagat also has more than 30 kinds of home spiced schnapps that goes very well with their food.
Visitors are encouraged to try fried elk with oven baked potato and mushroom stew. The slow cooked pork ribs with potato and gravy which are old family recipes from Wikstrand’s family. They also served cured salmon, a dish with mashed cheese and vodka that is served with deep fried pork rinds and home baked rye bread.
All of the bread is baked in-house so it guarantees an authentic, fresh flavor that will easily make Swedish food one of your favorite cuisines.
Hemlagat Address: 35 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul Korean Address: 서울특별시 중구 소공동 35 Operating Hours: Tues - Sat 11:30 AM - 08:30 PM * Break Time: 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
I hope the next time that you decide to give your taste buds a chance to try delicious, authentic international cuisine that you consider one of these fabulous choices! Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like any other suggestions!