In addition to being home to South Korea’s primary airport, the coastal city of Incheon boasts a thriving downtown area and lively Chinatown that are chock full of gastronomic gems. So whether you’re on a stopover or settling down for the long haul, be sure that you don’t miss out on these local favorites.
Restaurant, Korean, $$$
Opened in 1978, Buam is a famous Korean barbecue restaurant, and many locals, tourists and even celebrities love dining there. They offer very succulent pork belly and hanwoo (Korean native cattle) that you can grill at your table to your liking. Do as the Koreans do and wrap a piece of freshly grilled meat with cabbage.
Liquor Burger, Incheon | Courtesy of Liquor Burger
American-owned and operated, Liquor Burger serves up a selection of hearty burgers and sandwiches that are certain to satisfy your comfort food cravings. The signature LB Burger, for example, is piled high with a juicy patty, cheese, bacon, egg, hash browns and vegetables, while the Quadruple Bypass Burger a double cheeseburger with four kinds of cheeses. The restaurant also has a number of beers on tap, as well as darts and live music, making it a great place to enjoy a night out with friends.
Ilmi Hwapyeongdong Naengmyeon specializes in naengmyeon, Korean-style cold noodles with a twist. Chewy noodles and a sweet, light broth make for a dish that is as refreshing as it is tasty. But unlike most naengmyeon joints, which tend to add Asian pear for a cooling crunch, this unique joint utilizes watermelon to create the effect. The sweetness of the fruit pairs delightfully with the saltiness of the bibim spicy sauce that is sure to cool you down on the hottest of days.
Four storeys tall, the gargantuan Gonghwachun in the city’s picturesque Chinatown is perhaps one of the most famous jjajangmyeon restaurants in the country. The Chinese-inspired dish of chewy noodles and black bean sauce has its roots in Incheon, where many Chinese immigrants worked. Decorated with red lanterns and fai chun, Gonghwachun also serves up a variety of dumplings, buns and several set meals that are worth trying.
Sikgaek presents diners with a range of dishes that feature fresh and tasty hanwoo. Some of the standout items include the selleongtang (ox bone soup), which is both incredibly sweet and nutritious, while the yukhoe (raw beef salad) is fresh and savory. Each dish has its own unique flavor, but also pairs well with the restaurant’s unlimited side dishes of cabbage, cucumber and radish kimchis.
Wonjo Sinpo Dakgangjeong is one of the most popular restaurants in Incheon. They serve traditional dakgangjeong, an indulgent dish of deep-fried chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. Loved by tourists and locals alike, the budget-friendly venue is small but homely. While the staff doesn’t speak much English, they are incredibly hospitable and will go out of their way to ensure that you have a pleasurable dining experience.
Located in the luxurious Grand Hyatt Hotel, Restaurant 8 is an innovative restaurant that offers an extensive selection of food spanning Japanese, Korean, French and Italian cuisines. All diners, therefore, can mix and match dishes from the buffet or order à la carte to create a meal that is suitable to their tastes. With a sophisticated and cozy atmosphere, Restaurant 8 is a wonderful spot to relax after a long flight or day of sightseeing.
At Relish, diners can gorge on fantastic food all the while enjoying great city views and a lively atmosphere. A favorite menu item is the beef steak – a delicious cut of beef that is both generous in size and reasonable in price. The fish and chips, burgers and salads are just as tasty and worth a try. Check out their Facebook page for daily specials and events.
The Italian-style cuisine served at Chapter 1 is excellent as the dishes are designed and prepared by Chapter 1’s professional chef de cuisine, who is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. Their wide range of pizzas, pastas and salads are all finely embellished with side dishes that are at once tasty and decorative. Chapter 1 tries to involve diners in the cooking process as much possible, so while there is no open kitchen, they broadcast the kitchen as the chefs prepare the food.
Looking to take a breather after a day of exploring Incheon’s sights? Enjoy the atmospheric experience offered at Tochon, situated at the bottom of Jayu Park. Revel in tranquility and enjoy a traditional Korean meal among aquariums, waterfalls and lush greenery. This sit-down affair offers all the classics, including bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and bibimbap (rice, egg, meat and veggies with chilli sauce) with a notable variety of sides.