Food in Insadong
One of the best parts of visiting Korea is enjoying the food. Insadong is known for the food stalls and variety of food available here is astounding. Check out a local restaurant, Korean BBQ, or grab some traditional street food or sweet treats to take with you as you wander, because Insadong’s food is an attraction of its own.
Street Food in Insadong
Insadong is a vibrant district of Seoul and a great place to find street foods. Street food is one of the best attractions in Insadong served hot and ready to eat and is usually sold from a cart or portable booth on the street. Most street foods are local favorites and vary by region.
Insadong Street forms the main artery of the Insadong area, with multiple alleys and smaller streets branching off. The entire area is a street food paradise with food carts peppered all along the way. Look for tasty dishes including dumplings, hottoek, dragon’s beard candy, and local delight corn cookies filled with ice cream and sweet treats.
Restaurants in Insadong
Insadong may be a busy district packed full of booth vendors and food carts, but there are also many cozy sit-down restaurants to discover here. Take a break from the busy street and get some food, drinks, or snacks.
There is usually a long line up at Bukchon son Mandu, a little Insadong shop famous for its Korean dumplings. The Mandu dumplings are made on site in the tiny kitchen. There is a limited seating area and food is available to stay or to take away. Menu offerings are quite limited and include a variety of dumplings and soup, but the menu is written in both Korean and English.
This little local pizza joint is the place to go to when you are looking for something more familiar. Located at 39 Donhwamun-ro 11na-gil, Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Brew 3.14 specializes in handmade pizzas and calzones served up with a selection of local Korean craft beers. Stay in the cozy and casual seating area for a drink or a cocktail, or get your pie to go.
Check out Sanchon to find vegetarian food in Insadong. Set up and decorated like a Buddhist monastery, the restaurant serves vegetarian food with a focus on regional delicacies and it is not too spicy. Located at 14, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, it isn’t far from the action of Insadong, and offers a peaceful retreat. Stop in here to get vegetarian food and a spot to sit down.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is extremely easy to find Korean BBQ food in Insadong. There are plenty of traditional Korean BBQ restaurants to choose from in this historic area. Find one that’s on your route, and spend some time sitting, eating, and drinking in the manner of historic Korean BBQ. Some of our favorites in Insadong include 853 located at 6, Insa-dong 12-gil, Jongno-gu, and offers table service in English. Cha Iyagi is another Korean BBQ joint that is decorated just like a traditional Korean house. It is located at Insadong 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Shopping in Insadong
Insadong Street and the surrounding area is known for its historic artsy presence, and has filled many of its historic structures with antique shops and art galleries. This arts market street is very much the place to get things to take home that are unique and beautiful. Wander up and down the streets of Insadong for a selection of pottery, art, antiques, and unique tourist souvenirs.
Insadong Samziegil is a large, 4-level shopping mall in the Insadong district. The shopping mall has a spiraling walkway up the middle, and contains galleries, workshops, clothing shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, just like the rest of the neighborhood. Some of the ground floor market shops existed before the shopping centre was built and have been incorporated into the modern architecture.
Shopping on Insadong Street
The main artery of Insadong is Insadong Street which runs more than 700 meters from Tapgol Park to the Anguk-dong rotary. The shopping district is packed with shops and street markets selling art, handicrafts, pottery, and tourist souvenirs. On weekends, Insadong Street is designated as pedestrian-only, making it feel like a safe and appealing place to browse.
Art in Insadong
Insadong has always been a center for art and artistry even during the Joseon Dynasty, when painters came to study and train at the Dohwawan. Currently, Insadong is home to many art galleries and artisan market shops selling pottery, art, and ceramics made by masters and students. You can find delicate fine porcelain work here as well as simpler sturdy items designed for everyday use. Look for small street market shops selling art supplies like calligraphy brushes and ink.
Kyung-in Art Museum
The Kyung-in Art Museum, located at 11-4, Insadong 10-gil, Jongno-gu, is full of works by cultural and international artists. The exhibits change several times a year and there is a permanent sculpture garden with space to relax and enjoy the surroundings. There are three indoor gallery halls as well as an outdoor stage where music acts or others perform. Wander through the greenhouse and enjoy a cup of tea from the traditional tea house. Art pieces are for sale at the museum shop.
Antiques in Insadong
In a place steeped with so much history, it is no surprise that Insadong is also packed with antique shops. Look here for small shops in historic buildings selling antiques and artsy goods. The antique streets in Insadong are full of unique treasures and are a great place to browse for souvenirs. You are sure to find something unusual here.
Tea in Insadong
Tea is a big deal in Korea, and you can find shops specializing in tea in Insadong. Stop in to the Shin Old Tea House for a cup of tea in a floor seating area just like a traditional Korean house. It is situated at 164 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, which is a little bit out of the way of the main attractions. It is dimly lit and provides a quiet and relaxing spot to enjoy some regional specialties.
Beautiful Tea Museum
A combination of a shop and a museum, the Beautiful Tea Museum has a very small shop and museum space. It offers a traditional tea experience, with multiple cups of regional and artisanal tea. Located at 19-11 Insadong-gil, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. Look for a sign that says “The Tea Company”, as the museum can be difficult to find.
Parks in Insadong
Seoul is a busy and crowded city, but it still has some lovely green spaces to enjoy the outdoors. Check out one of Seoul’s lovely parks and green spaces. Insadong is a tightly packed district but still has room for quiet spaces.
Spend some time in Tapgol Park, sometimes called Pagoda Park, a historic greenspace in Insadong. This small park is home to a pavilion, and is the historic site of a 10-story stone pagoda. It houses several monuments and national treasures. It is also the site of the March 1st Movement which was a significant part of the Korean independence movement in 1919. It may be small in size, but is big in history and significance.
Buddhist Temples in Insadong
Seoul’s modern landscape is punctuated by historic and beautiful Buddhist temples which can be found all over the city. Spend some time in the temple grounds near Insadong for a peaceful escape from the busy city outside when you feel overrun by all the things to do.
Stop in for a visit to Jogyesa Temple, a historic place in a convenient location. The grounds are simple but peaceful and Jogyesa Temple is one of Seoul’s most-visited Buddhist temples. Two trees on the premises are each over 450 years old and the temple grounds are open 24 hours a day. It is best accessed from Anguk Station on the subway line 3, or from Jonggak Station from subway line 1. The streets around the temple are filled with souvenir shops selling Buddhist souvenirs including small Buddhas and other items representative of Korean Buddhism.