Seoul, South Korea
Clare, 38
Translator & Foodie
see her Seoul city guide

ask Clare about

ethnic food asian food cocktail bars food markets parks korean food chinese food

What do you do and why do you do it?

Currently I’m working as a translator at an e-commerce company after five years' work as a communication/international cooperation officer at international events by municipalities such as Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix. I like to be a messenger helping communication between different languages and I’m quite satisfied with my job.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

My playlist for such sad days is filled with Rachmaninoff and Korean singer Kim Dong-Ryul. It’s quite typical taste, but the melodies soothe me.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

For Korean shows, I once fall in love with Please Take Care of My Refrigerator, which is a cooking show. Four chefs fabulously cook with the foods in a celebrity’s refrigerator within a set time. For English programs, I love Star Trek.

Name some spots in Seoul that are good for a Tinder date.

I recommend Hangang riverside trails or Yeonnam-dong area. Both are places where I want to share my time with those who I’m interested in.

Who’s your hero and where in Seoul would you take them out for a serious hang?

In fact, Korean female politician Miae Choo is one of my secret hero and if possible, I hope to go Cheongjinok Haejangguk (hangover soup) with her and have quick lunch.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I prefer to shop at small shops in large malls such as Coex. As shops at Coex have changed a lot since the mall's renovation, I'd like to recommend the fifth floor of Noon Square (in Myeongdong, located in front of the Lotte Department Sotre) for such shopping.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

I don’t prefer to shop at the Mario Outlet store in Guro. The place makes me quite tired whenever I visit.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Night hiking at Inwangsan mountain would be fantastic looking down the night view of palaces and building skylines.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Seoul and where did you get it?

Once I tasted Glenfiddich aged 30 years at a food studio located in Seochon thanks to my close friend. She and I were a fan of Star Trek and in the latest movie Star Trek Beyond, captain Kirk tasted the liquor along with Doctor McCoy. We could understand why Chekov preciously kept the bottle in his rocker.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Seoul that you particularly like?

I can recommend Tender Bar which is in the small alley near the government complex buildings. You may enjoy very delicate and carefully tailored cocktail for you. Another recommendation is Heaven’s Door at Shinchon. The bar looks quite humble, but inside, you may find classic and right cocktails and five lovely cats!

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Seoul? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

Once I visited a wine bar named 55˚. Of course the dishes were quite reasonable but the amount that we paid that night was over KRW500,000 for a few bottles of wines and that was quite an luxury for me.

What restaurant in Seoul looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Generally, old restaurants serving Korean dishes generally look quite old from its exterior. But if you are challengeable enough to visit the backstreet alleys of Dongdaemun or Namdaemun markets, you may find deep and authentic Korean pub restaurants. Sorry, I cannot name a few!

Where can you get the best cocktail in Seoul? Which one do you like?

As I recommended in other question, I’d like to recommend Tender Bar Seoul located near palaces and government complex buildings in Jongro. The bar is quite small and classic. And the cocktails are literally nice.

Where would you take your partner in Seoul if you wanted to really pamper them?

If there’s no limit in budget, I’ll book a suite at Four Seasons Hotel in Gwanghawmun and have a dinner nearby, according to the taste of my partner. (In Gwanghawmun, it’s relatively easy to find various kinds of restaurants.) And then will have a quite chat at Charles H bar of the hotel.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Did you try Gim snack (seaweed)? Though roasted seaweed sheet (roasted gim) have been quite popular among tourists visiting Korea as a side dish, now there are snack type products and it’s quite nice to enjoy beers. It’s salty and has thin small of sea. I’d like to recommend to try the snack with wasabi taste option.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Seoul?

I like Itaewon but it seems that restaurants there are no longer reasonable.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Seoul?

Though it became more like an area of tourist attractions, still Tongin Market next to Gyeongbokgung Palace has lots of interesting spots to enjoy an evening. It’s quite unique place where residents and tourists can be mixed so naturally.

What are the Seoul spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The district from Gwanghwamun to Myeongdong is quite unique place which looks like a mix of New York and Washington DC, according to one visitor I accompanied with her Seoul trip. You may find all things of Seoul in the area from palace to old markets, government buildings, and small pubs.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Seoul. How do you spend it?

I'll go to the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts along with my parents, eat out at comfortable restaurants, and slowly walk along the street which have been the favorite places of my families to share my last good moment.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I’ve spent my summer vacation in Busan for more than 10 years as the city is unique and near the ocean. But if I need to select one more outside this nation, I’ll go to New York to taste Sour Beers at the Big Alice brewery.

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Kayla Park