City Insider: Seoul, South Korea

Ever wish you knew the inside scoop before visiting a new destination? Now you can! We’ve reached out to our favorite locals and tour guides from all over the world for their insider tips. In the City Insider Q&A, they’ll let you in on the spots that should be on your must-see and do list!

Name: Daniel Gray

Occupation: Head of Food Tours at O’ngo Food Communications and Chief Marketing Officer

Born in: Daegu, South Korea

Lives in: Seoul, South Korea

Website: ongofood, seouleats

Twitter: @seouleats

Facebook: seouleats 

Pinterest: worldfoodie 

YouTube: delawheresdan

Short bio: Daniel Gray is a Korean adoptee that returned to Korea in 2005 in order to search for his birth mother and to learn about Korean culture. He started a restaurant review blog in 2007, www.seouleats.com, that became a local and international hit. He and his blog have both been featured in the New York Times, Monocle Magazine, The Kimchi Chronicles, Bizarre Foods, Rudy Maxa, Olive Magazine, Euronews and many more publications and media. He works at O’ngo Food Communications (www.ongofood.com), a culinary tourism company that offers Korean cooking classes and restaurant tours to travelers. Their food tours and cooking classes are ranked as one of the top attractions in Seoul according to Tripadvisor. Daniel is an accomplished writer and is the food columnist for Seoul Magazine and Walkerhill Magazine. He has contributed to Time Out Seoul, The Seoul Book of Everything, and wrote, “The Illustrated, “How to Eat” Korean Food Comic.” He is currently writing, Say Kimchi! Korean Food Comic.

Ready to explore? Here’s Seoul, South Korea according to Daniel Gray:

Favorite World Heritage Site: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju

Best way to the airport: The Airport Limousine

Best way from the airport: The AREX direct train

Best way to get to/from train station: Taxi

Best way to get to/from port: Taxi

Favorite 5* hotel: Sheraton D-Cube City

Favorite Budget hotel: 126 Mansion

Favorite fine dining restaurant: Jungsikdang

Favorite casual restaurant: Pub of the Blue Star

Favorite café: Take Out Drawing

Best museum: The War Museum

Most popular local food: Tteokbokki! (Spicy Rice Cake Noodles)

Local fruit: Chamwei (It’s a yellow-skinned melon with white stripes. You should eat the seeds because that’s the only sweet part).

Local drink: Makgeolli: Cloudy Rice Beer

Movies filmed there: Bourne Legacy, Old Boy, The Man from Nowhere, JSA

TV shows filmed there: Kimchi Chronicles, Winter Sonata, Rooftop Prince, Bizarre Foods,

Best souvenirs locals can buy: Metal Chopsticks and Long Spoons, Korean Hanboks (traditional dresses), Cell phone covers and accessories

Recommended reading for your city: Korea Unmasked in Search of the Country, the Society and the People by Won-bok Rhie; Seoul Selections Guides: Seoul; Seoul Selections Guides: Korea; Time Out: Seoul

10 Places Visitors must see:

  1. Hongdae Sang Sang Madang (Design Square)
  2. Gyeongbukgung Palace
  3. JSA (Joint Security Area) at the DMZ
  4. Kwangjang Market
  5. Namsan Tower
  6. Noryangjin Fish Market
  7. Olympic Park by Jamsil
  8. Insadong Antique Street
  9. Dragon Hill Spa: Jimjilbang
  10. Garusugil: Tree Lined Street

Best place to volunteer: Feed Your Seoul: Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen.

Biggest tourist trap: The DMZ 3rd Tunnel

Best iPhone app(s): Jihachul: Subway Map; Seoul Taxi Guide; Tripadvisor

Best website(s): seouleats, eatyourkimchi, korea4expats

Best travel tip:  Rent a cell phone (iPhones available) or a 3G hotspot from the airport. They are cheap and essential for getting around.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi Daniel, which country do South Koreans prefer to study and to learn English? Why do they study abroad?

  2. Hi Global Travel Blog, This changes quite a bit. These days, I have heard many people are going to the Philippines because it is cheaper than other countries. USA is also very popular. They study abroad so they can learn English. I hope that was helpful. Cheers, Dan

  3. Johnny, thank you so much for posting this. It was great meeting you and Natalie in Korea. I hope you’ll return to visit us again. Cheers, Dan

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Food Tour and there’s no better person to show you where the locals eat than Daniel Gray (see his Seoul City Insider guide). Daniel is a Korean-American adoptee that returned to Korea in 2005 to learn about Korean culture. [...]

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