That Little Shop of Banchan called Sigol Bapsang in Seoul, South Korea

That Little Shop of Banchan called Sigol Bapsang in Seoul, South Korea

If you enjoy eating Korean food, then you probably like banchan. We do.

The term banchan means “side dish” and refers to those little plates of food served at the start of a Korean meal. Most are made with vegetables, though some banchan contain meat and seafood as well. They’re an essential part of Korean cuisine and are meant to be eaten together with your rice, soup, and main course. Kimchi, that ever popular dish of fermented vegetables, is just one example of banchan.

As good as they are, banchan is no more than the supporting cast of a Korean meal, but that isn’t the case here. At Sigol Bapsang, the banchan is the star. For just 8,000 KRW, you can have a feast of at least twenty different types of banchan to go with some rice and a steaming bowl of fermented soybean paste stew (jjigae).

Simple but fun and cheap, this humble spread of side dishes turned out to be one of the most enjoyable meals that we had in Seoul.

Open 24-hrs and located in an alley just off the main road, Sigol Bapsang is about a 10-15 minute walk from exit 2 of Itaewon Station. Detailed directions at the bottom of this post.
An Assortment of Curiosities and Banchan at Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea

A tiny space with just five tables, Sigol Bapsang is literally a hole in the wall. What makes it so interesting is that it looks utterly out of place in its surroundings. Seoul is a sprawling modern metropolis of steel and glass, but walk into Sigol Bapsang and you’ll be instantly transported to old school, rural Korea. Very cool.
An Assortment of Curiosities and Banchan at Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea

The space is filled with curiosities. One wall was even laminated with what looked to be pages from a book or newspaper.
An Assortment of Curiosities and Banchan at Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea

Vintage bric-a-brac
An Assortment of Curiosities and Banchan at Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea

And finally, our banchan feast! As mentioned up top, 8,000 KRW gets you all of this. And the best part about it? Refills are free. We had so much fun picking on all the banchan that we didn’t even need a main course. It was like having a tableful of healthy tapas!
An Assortment of Curiosities and Banchan at Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea

We love banchan so it was refreshing to have it be the star of a meal for once. Based on price alone, I highly recommend that you enjoy a meal here on your next trip to Seoul. A different type of dining experience, it’s delicious, inexpensive, fun, plentiful, and very healthy. On top of that, it isn’t something that you can easily find outside of Korea I don’t think.

Did I already mention that refills are free? 😉

Sigol Bapsang, Seoul, South Korea
시골 밥상

738-17 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
용산구 한남동 738-17
Tel: +82 2 793 5390
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun, 24 hrs
Expect to spend: Around 12,000 KRW per person with drinks
Reservations: Not required

HOW TO GET THERE:
By subway, get off at Itaewon station (line 6), exit 2. Walk straight and you’ll see a boutique hotel with a large metal dog sculpture on your left. Keep going straight until you see the convenience store pictured up top at the corner of a small cross street. Sigol Bapsang is the restaurant with the orange sign right next to it.

For more Seoul travel tips, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea

The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Seoul, South Korea

JB Macatulad

JB Macatulad

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He's the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don't listen to him.
JB Macatulad


There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Felicia at 12:03 am

    hey there, could I just ask if it’s 8,000 won per pax? since it’s refillable I thought it might be a rule that each customer pay per pax =)

  2. paul at 6:08 pm

    Hi there, is it okay for solo travellers to go and dine there?

  3. Pingback: Banchan – Korean Side Dishes | Far + Away : Trips Outside of Japan
  4. Felicia at 1:10 pm

    Hi, I read various review on sigol bapsang.
    Some gives extremely low rating while other gives top rating.
    Some said, there might be confusion about the location and ends up with wrong sigol bapsang.
    Is there really another “sigol bapsang” near THE real sigol bapsang you’re talking about?

  5. JB Macatulad at 3:27 pm

    Hi Felicia, not that I know of. The one pictured above is the only one I’ve seen online. Taste is subjective so I’m not surprised people have differing opinions. Best to just go and try it. It’s cheap so you have nothing to lose. 😉

  6. nbaws at 12:44 pm

    Hi, would like to ask if they have meat/ pork at the restaurant? Thank you!

  7. JB Macatulad at 7:29 pm

    Hi nbaws, they do but not a lot. I remember seeing bulgogi on the menu and a few other dishes like fish. 🙂

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