Improve your lunchtime ritual by choosing one of these healthy salads in Seoul.
Be prepared to pig out on salad—the portions offered at Pig in the Garden which has recently opened up in Yeouido are really, really plentiful. At the create-your-own-salad bar featured at the restaurant, you can choose from about a dozen types of salad greens, lots of protein options (grilled pork belly, chicken breast, shrimp, salmon, etc.) and 10 types of dressings including ranch, red wine vinaigrette and Caesar. There is a wide variety of cheeses and nuts to be added to your bowl or plate, as well. If you want to go with a more tried–and–true option, you can simply choose one from the made-to-order menu featuring Classic Caesar, Waldorf, Greek and Cobb among others. As for drinks, Pig in the Garden has several drafts and cans, along with ades and fresh-squeezed juices. That’s right, it’s salad and beer, guys, and it should be done more often (and us veggie heads know that unfortunately for many bars in Seoul, having salads on their menu doesn’t mean they’re great at making them). At the moment, it offers Goose Island IPA, 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Taedonggang Pale Ale on tap, and Hand and Apple’s cider is available in cans. The beer of your choice can be paired with the grilled chicken which is served up from 5pm until 9pm—for the health-conscious ones, just make sure you have some greens tossed on it!
Root, with a clean white interior and modestly chic vibe, is the place to go for a healthy and hearty meal in Hannam-dong, especially if you love avocados. Almost all of the dishes on the menu contain this flavorful and filling fruit. One of our favorites, the Avocado Toast comes with a nicely poached egg, crispy bacon and cherry tomatoes topped with shredded radish. It is Root’s take on eggs Benedict, with the difference being the use of whole wheat bread instead of an English muffin and guacamole instead of Hollandaise sauce. The guacamole is refreshing, with a good amount of onions and herbs. While some might prefer the whole wheat bread toasted, it is overall an extremely satisfying dish. Another awesome avocado dish offered here is the Salad Sushi (a popular story claims that the use of avocado in sushi was first started by a Japanese chef in California who was looking for an ingredient of a texture similar to fatty tuna — the result is what is known as the California rolls). A reinterpretation of the California roll, its rich flavors and texture from well-ripe avocados feels hearty, without any meat or fish in the ingredients. The mixture of rice, veggies, avocado and seaweed topped with savory sesame sauce create a delightful meal, which will be certainly filling for even non-vegetarians.
When it comes to nutrition and dining, the It-word right now has to be “superfood.” A term used to describe foods with that are rich in nutrients and that provide health benefits, the trend of superfood dining has hit all over cities in Europe and the U.S. In Seoul, you can find this trend happening at La Ferme, which opened less than three months ago. The menu includes several salads (with the chickpea and chicken quinoa being our favorites), while hot dishes like the seafood quinoa stew, oats risotto and chicken couscous offer slightly heartier options. Not only are the dishes filling, well balanced and healthy—they’re addictively good. The chicken is well seasoned, flavorful and tender, while the hummus (in the chickpea salad) is creamy and savory. Your mouth waters at the sight of these colorful dishes coming out of the kitchen and into the brightly lit jungle-like space. Director Park Ji-hye (who also owns the French restaurant Routine down the street) explains that she just wanted people to know that healthy food can also be delicious. La Ferme, one of our new favorite restaurants in Seoul, does not fail to disappoint.
Being health-conscious in Seoul and trying to eat out with friends or coworkers isn't necessarily an easy process. Providing an "at-home" salad place right in the heart of this neighborhood is Salad Seller. Opened about three months ago, the owners (formerly artists who largely designed the space on their own) are humble and kind. The avocado salad comes with a generous helping of fresh avocado. "Isn't it expensive to buy fresh avocados all the time?" I ask and she nods knowingly. Indeed, chickpeas, quinoa, feta cheese and kale are not cheap or easy ingredients to come by. During the summer, the store's Kale Coco juice is cold and zesty, while their chipotle soup made with chipotle, pork, chicken, potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, paprika and cheddar cheese is as hearty as it is healthy and warms you up during the long winter days. The so-called "diet-season" might start in the spring, but it's never the wrong season to make a good lifestyle change today.
This place gets its name from a neighborhood in Queens, New York. Located on the Gyeongridan hill, Little Neck invites warm sunlight through its large front façade, which lights up the cozy Soho-esque ambiance. Upon entering the restaurant, you will be welcomed with a sign that reads, "Keep calm and eat avocados." And with that, you’ll probably be ordering at least one dish with avocados in it, as many of their dishes do. While glancing at the healthy menu composed by the chefs here, the constant dietary alarm ringing on the back of your head will be at ease. Try the Avocado Salmon Burger. It is made with a whole avocado cut in half and served as a burger bun. In the middle, you will find a thick piece of salmon, lettuce, cucumbers and whole grain mustard sauce. With each bite you take, you will feel the perfectly ripe avocado melt in your mouth. Although the texture, scent and taste of the green fruit might get a little overwhelming as you eat, the savory salmon, crispy veggies and fresh mustard sauce will keep em' all balanced (the side salad helps as well). Admittedly, for those who aren’t used to the taste or texture of avocados, might find the whole burger a bit hard to finish. But just keep in mind, they’re good for you! The Avocado Cream Shrimp Pasta is another great dish to try. The carbonara sauce contains a scoop of what looks like guacamole, and is rich in texture with creamy avocado. Little Neck is a place for casual dieters who are craving healthy food options th
Luckily for Seoulites, plant-heavy options are growing and one of the restaurants setting the bar for salads is Bad Farmers. Popular amongst many Korean celebrities (supposedly, rapper Beenizo is a regular), the restaurant offers a select number of cold salads, hot salads, fresh pressed juices and yogurts. One of the most popular items on the menu is the Avo Cobb salad, which is made with romaine lettuce topped with cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, corn, olives, smoked salmon, roasted chicken and a choice of either the sesame doenjang or blue cheese dressing. As flavorful as it is colorful, this salad (like many others on the menu) is both hearty and filled with protein. All of the dishes come with a small bowl of soup on the side and a small slice of bread. It’s healthy food that won’t leave you hungry.
So the restaurant is named Thunder Bald because the owner of this restaurant gets his ‘thunderous’ idea from his balding head – thus Thunder Bald. Whether it has anything to do with the concept or taste of the restaurant, well you will have to be the judge of that. One thing for certain is that everything from the interior details to the separate lunch and dinner menus, has been through his hands. When you approach the restaurant, you can’t really look in because of the tall glass panels reflecting light. But once you open the door, you will feel that the restaurant is so distant from the whole area. Its slight industrial interior elements, with the hanging Edison light bulbs, dark wooden tables with iron chairs, bricked wall and red velvet curtains, it may even give off a 20’s American vibe. But don’t let this vintage atmosphere scare you off - nothing on their lunch menu exceeds 10,000 won. Whether you choose the brunch set, the pork steak, the yaki curry, or the humongous chicken breast salad, it won’t be hurting your pockets. Yes, the dinner menu is different, but only just a tad bit more costly. Each dish, lunch or dinner, is extremely filling, tasty and best of all, affordable. The yaki curry is oven-cooked Japanese-style, topped with a blanket of mozzarella cheese. Served in a small Le Creuset pot, it’s one of the smaller lunch menu specials. If you’re looking for a healthy selection, the chicken breast salad might be your pick. The bowl comes filled with lettuce, ch