Food

Seoul Refined: Chef Matthew Chung’s top five must-try restaurants


15 October 2016

mingles-jang-trio
Mingles’ jang trio.

Off camera, we turn to our gastronomic compass to Seoul, celebrity chef Matthew Chung for his ultimate foodie cheat list. We asked him which five restaurants in Seoul Refined best represents the food scene in South Korea.

“Gah! The hardest question by far! It’s tough to answer, because our team of writers put together an incredible line-up of restaurants, but if I have to pick five, it would have to be … ”

Jungsik

jungsik-seoul-restaurant
Jungsik’s dolhareubang.

Straight up game changers. Chef Jungsik was the first chef in Korea to really popularize that modernist style of Korean cuisine, subsequently evolving it for the 21st century. But most importantly, their food tastes good. It’s legitimately and unequivocally delicious.

Jungsik, 11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, South Korea

Related: 5 things you need to know about Seoul Refined

La-Yeon

layeon-jeonbok-doenjang-moolhoe-steamed-abalone-and-cuttlefish-with-cold-soybean-paste
Jeonbok doenjang moolhoe | Steamed abalone and cuttlefish with cold soybean paste

If Jungsik is from the future, then dining at La-Yeon is a more traditional experience that makes you feel like royalty. They take classical Korean cooking and refine it until it sparkles like a diamond. Their service is phenomenal, as is their beverage programme. La-Yeon treats Korean cuisine with such reverence, but it never once feels overbearing or self-important.

La-Yeon, Hotel Shilla, 249 Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-856, South Korea

Mingles

mingles-doenjang-foie-gras-foie-gras-with-bean-paste
Doenjang foie gras | Foie gras with bean paste

Mingles have been straight killing it this past year. I think Alvin and I talked about that temple food ravioli dish that Chef Mingoo served us for a good couple of hours after that. Incredible dish, incredible restaurant.

94-9 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

See also: 10 Michelin-starred restaurants in Asia to know

Tuk Tuk Noodle Thai

tuk-tuk-thai-fried-fish-with-fish-sauce
Tuk Tuk Thai’s fried fish with fish sauce.

This is making my top five because no one expects a truly fantastic Thai restaurant in Seoul. Everyone I’ve taken there always walks in with skepticism and leaves pleasantly surprised with a full belly.

Tuk Tuk Noodle Thai, 223-15 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

See also: Ananda Everingham’s 24-hour guide to Bangkok

Fritz Coffee

Seoul is a city that takes its coffee very seriously. The bar is already set super high and the guys over at Fritz Coffee just knock it out of the park every time. Everything from their design work to their house-made bread, to their coffee: they put everything they have into their product, and it shows.

Fritz Coffee, 179-9, Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Get the ultimate chefs’ insight into these five must-try restaurants in Seoul. Seoul Refined, the all-new Life Inspired Original food series brings together Michelin-starred ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung and celebrity chef Matthew Chung airs Sunday, 10pm MY/SIN/HK.

Watch the highlights here.

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