Although the number of halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants keeps growing in Seoul, I definitely can't help but return to some of my favourites when I'm in the city. ? If you happen to be in Myeongdong, Busan Jib is definitely the place to go for some delicious and authentic Korean dishes! I've been able to visit it on both of my trips to Seoul, and I love the affordability of the dishes as well as how good they taste.
To get there, travel to Myeongdong subway station (line 4) and take exit 6 to the ground level. You should find yourself facing a Uniqlo store. Turn left, and start walking down the street until you see an ABC-Mart on your left. Then turn right and it's right down the alley! It's about 4 alleys down from Uniqlo and is a bit narrower than the other alleys, so don't worry if it takes you a while to locate it. I thought I'd have an easier time finding it on my 2nd trip there, but I almost walked past the alley once more. ?
The restaurant is not halal-certified, but it uses only halal-certified ingredients in its cooking. It does sell canned alcoholic beverages as there is a strong local drinking culture in South Korea, however, there is no alcohol used in any of its cooking. ? I've only been to their first outlet which sells ala carte meals but I really loved the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant! Every dish also has a home-cooked kind of taste to it - simple and delicious, with flavourful broths that weren't too rich or heavy. ? It's only fitting as the 'Jib' in its name actually means house! It's a place you should go for a taste of authentic home-cooked Korean food.
They also recently opened a 2nd outlet selling halal Korean BBQ! The new outlet is right next door to the first outlet and has prayer spaces available. Do approach the staff if you wish to do your prayers, and bring your own prayer mats and garments just in case.
The first time I visited Busan Jib was actually in the middle of the summer - think 40 degrees Celsius weather! Thankfully, Busan Jib's menu includes dishes suitable all year-round. Order a bowl of Naengmyeon (Chilled noodles in a more simple broth) to cool you down in summer, or savour sizzling hotpot soups to warm you back up during winter. ?
Abalone Rice Porridge (KRW10,000)
I ordered Abalone Ramen during my last visit, and my friend ordered Abalone Rice Porridge. Abalone is considered a delicacy in Korea and you can actually get really fresh and delicious abalone (and all other types of seafood) throughout the country! The rice and noodles weren't too salty, and the abalone itself was soft and tender. ? The ramen broth itself didn't feel like the usual broth you'd get in instant noodles, and there was a distinct taste of the sea that made me fall in love with it. If you're craving comfort food, their ramen is definitely worth it - they also have a seafood version that comes with crab legs, prawns, and other shellfish!
L-R: Seafood Pancake (KRW15,000 for Regular, KRW20,000 for Large); Hot Stone Bibimbap (KRW8,000); Stir-Fried Rice Cake (KRW10,000)
Their menu is also full of classic Korean dishes such as Bibimbap (mixed rice served in a stone bowl), tteokbokki (rice cakes covered in spicy gochujang sauce) and jeon (Korean-style pancake - the one pictured has seafood including squid and spring onions)! I'm a huge fan of 'sides' such as tteokbokki and jeon, and Busan Jib is where you can dine on them without having to worry about the ingredients. ?
Myeongdong is actually known for its various food stalls that sell street food including tteokbokki but there are no stalls selling halal-certified versions, or that can confirm they use Muslim-friendly ingredients. So being able to pop into Busan Jib for a meal is definitely super convenient. ?
If you're still getting used to Korean food, you don't have to worry because Busan Jib has some familiar dishes too including Fried Rice, Asam Pedas, and Chilli Sotong. This mix of Korean and Malay dishes is definitely one reason why Busan Jib has become so popular with Muslim visitors!
I recommend visiting slightly before peak lunch or dinner times, as the restaurant is still quite small. I actually had to make 2 trips down to get to eat there because there were just too many people in the queue the first time. ? But if you get a seat, I guarantee you'll have an amazing meal you won't forget!
Halal Status: Not halal-certified, but uses only halal-certified meat and ingredients. Alcohol is sold separately in the establishment but is not used in food preparation. As this restaurant is not halal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion. There is a prayer room on the premises but do bring your own prayer garments.
Average Price: KRW12,000 (Mains)
Opening Hours: 10AM - 10.30PM (Mon-Fri), 10AM - 11PM (Sat-Sun)
Address: 11-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 중구 명동2가 명동8길 11-4)