With K-pop and K-drama making waves all around the world, it is inevitable that fans would want a piece of their idols – through their restaurants and amazing food. Korean celebrities are known for owning family restaurants in Seoul, the heart of Korea. These restaurants are made for fans as food is not the only attraction in such restaurants, fans can also chat with the celebrity and their family (if you’re lucky), buy idol merchandises and even leave messages for their idols to read.
Here are 7 restaurants that will feed you and your need for K-pop.
1. Kang Gary: Paljamakchang, Gangnam
Owned by half of the cute Monday couple from Running Man, Gary’s Paljamakchang is famous for its delicious BBQ food. They specialize in grilled pork intestine and the food served here is flavorful and tasty. Apart from the delectable food, relax and enjoy the rather ‘hip-hop’ ambience with interesting graffiti all over the walls. If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of Gary as well.
2. Kwon Sang Woo: Tea’us, Myeong-Dong
Opened by one of Korea’s most popular Hallyu actor, the café is simple yet sophisticated. It’s a little place to enjoy an afternoon with your friends. They even have quite corners hidden away from the crowed where one can unwind and have a private conversation. The café serves a wide variety of coffee, juice, cakes, sandwiches and many more. For the Kwon Sang Woo fans, there are life size pictures of him around the café for photo taking!
3. Se7en: Yeolbong , Shinsadong
Se7en’s melodic voice has charmed many girls (and guys) around the world. However his fans are not the only reason why his restaurant is so popular. The jjimdak (soybean chicken boiled with vegetables) is absolutely delish and leaves you wanting more. Also, you definitely have to take a photo with the famous cut-out of se7en in the restaurant. It’s the next best thing to grab a photo with the 2D star if you didn’t manage to catch him in the shop.
4. Jaejoong: Coffee Cojjee, Cheongdamdong
Part of the sweet trio JYJ, Jaejoong rides on the celebrity restaurants wave with his Coffee Cojjee shop. As the name suggests, the restaurant mainly serves normal coffee at ridiculous ‘star’ prices. However, the sleek ambience here makes up for the lack of quality in beverages. If you’re looking to just chill out and enjoy a cup of coffee while browsing through the various JYJ merchandise, this place is for you.
5. Kim Hyun Joong: Jaksul Chicken, Ilsan
Famous for being the leader of boy group SS501, Kim Hyun Joong teamed up with his childhood friends to open a fried chicken restaurant with special sauces and quality ingredients. Upon stepping into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by a waft of fried chicken and Kim Hyun Joong’s face on all printed materials. Even if you didn’t manage to catch Kim Hyung Joong in the restaurant, you’ll still have the chance to get served by his equally good-looking brother.
6. Haha’s 401, Hongdae
Everyone who loves Kpop and Running Man should be familiar with Haha and his funny antics. Haha’s restaurant is a franchise of Gary’s Paljamakchang and sells grilled food. The décor in the restaurant is very hip-hop and reflects Haha’s style. If you want to catch a glimpse of the famous star, try going to the restaurant at night where he might be hanging out with friends or even serving the customers himself.
7. Bae Yong Joon’s Gorilla in the Kitchen
Unlike other celebrity restaurants that aim for a local and homely atmosphere, Bae Yong Joon’s Gorilla in the Kitchen is modern and minimalistic. The restaurant focuses on naturally healthy food that a powerful gorilla would be interested in (hence the name). Food prices may be on the expensive side but the western cuisine served is interesting, creative and healthy. You might not be able to find the same dishes anywhere else in Korea and Gorilla in the Kitchen is the perfect, romantic place for a date with your significant other.
If none of these suggestions are mouth-watering enough for you, check out Bliss for more great food recommendations in Seoul.