The Ultimate Guide to 24 Non-Spicy Korean Food To Try & Where to Find in Seoul

by Sarah Chua
Published: Updated:
A table with a stone pot of bibimbap, rice with vegetables and raw egg, and small dishes of bean sprouts and kimchee

Headed to Seoul or Korea and wondering what non-spicy Korean food is available because you can’t take spice?

I’m Sarah from Stray with Sarah and ever since I did my student exchange in Korea as a university student, I’ve been back to the country many times since, and love the variety of food it offers. 

I may be able to tolerate spice, but I get it, Korean spice levels are on a whole other level. 

There have been moments when I’m all spiced out or I need to dine with friends who don’t take spice, so I’ve definitely had my fair share of experiences seeking out non-spicy Korean food options.

If you’re in the same boat, read my curated list of 24 types of non-spicy Korean food to try and where to get them in Seoul, Korea. 

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1. Bibimbap

The dish “bibimbap” literally means “mixed rice” in Korean and is one of the best go-tos if you want something balanced, filling, and non-spicy.

Bibimbap comprises mixed vegetables and typically a protein on top of a bed of rice. Most bibimbap versions come with gochujang (red pepper paste), a drizzle of sesame oil, and topped with a semi-cooked or fried egg. 

If you want a non-spicy version, you can simply choose to omit the gochujang or add less of it.

Another sauce you can mix it with is soy sauce or even doenjang (fermented bean paste). 

Bibimbap at restaurant, Gajok Hoegwan in Jeonju, South Korea

Life Of Doing captured this photo of bibimbap when visiting Jeonju, Korea. There is gochujang sauce but you can ask no spicy. Photo credit: Life Of Doing

Where to find Bibimbap in Seoul:

Jeonju Yulhalmeoni Bibimbap 

12-2 Bukchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

2. Bulgogi (Marinated Beef)

The dish “bulgogi” translates to “fire meat” and is so named because the thinly sliced marinated meat, typically beef, is fired up on a Korean barbecue before being served. 

The usual sauces used to marinate the meat include soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, garlic, and pepper, so the end product is usually savory-sweet rather than spicy

Where to find Bulgogi in Seoul:

Eonyang Bulgogi

Woori building, 15 Hakdong-ro 2-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

3. Doenjang Chigae (Soybean Paste Stew)

One of my favorite stews, “doenjang chigae” translates to “soybean paste stew” and is a comforting dish that is made of — you guessed it, soybean paste. 

As funky as the name sounds, soybean paste stew is mostly savory with a very light fermented taste. It’s not as divisive as the Japanese natto dish (also fermented soybean although stickier). 

Most soybean paste stews I’ve come across contain meat (typically pork), zucchini, and tofu. It’s a great dish to have with rice and also best saved for those chilly days. 

Where to find Doenjang Chigae in Seoul: 


33 Yanghwa-ro 16-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

4. Dwigim (Fried Fritters)

Dwigim refers to fried fritters and can be easily found along any streetside food stall in Seoul, usually accompanied by spicy rice cakes (Ddeokbokki) and fishcake soup (Eomuk Tang). 

But you’re probably on this list because you can’t take spicy stuff, so opt for the Dwigim — and maybe with a side of spicy sauce, and add as much as you can stomach. 

A plate of deep fried fritters such as egg, octopus and a side of hot sauce

Dwigim by a roadside stall in Hongdae. Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Dwigim in Seoul:

Any streetside food stall, really! But if you need a spot, give Sideshow a try.  

5. Gom Tang (Clear Beef Soup)

If you love beef but can’t take the spicy Yukaejang (spicy beef and vegetable soup), then take heart, because there’s a non-spicy Korean food alternative, in the form of Gom Tang. 

It’s a clear beef soup made after boiling different cuts of beef. It differs from another type of popular beef soup Seolloeongtang, which is also boiled using beef parts but also includes the bone.

Gom Tang, as the name suggests is clear, compared to the milky-looking Seolleongtang. Both are equally delicious and non-spicy if you ever get it wrong, so there isn’t much of a loss there!  

Where to find Gom Tang in Seoul:

Kyewol Gomtang

8 Seongdeokjeong 3-gil, Seongsu-dong 1(il)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

6. Gukbap (Rice with soup)

Now, if beef isn’t quite up your alley, but you’re still craving some delicious soup, then give Gukbap a go. The name means “rice soup” but usually refers to a pork rice-soup mixture

The rice comes separate from the soup, typically a robust broth boiled with pork parts for hours. The soup will come with pork slices with the cuts depending on the restaurant.

If you’re trying it for the first time, you may not quite know how or where to start. First, you’ll get a whole array of condiments like salt and salted shrimp paste. Add both in small incremental amounts to your soup, tasting it as you go. Once you reach the right level of seasoning, toss in your rice and you’re good to go. 

Some people like adding the kimchi and radish sitting on the table into the soup, but others prefer having them as sides. 

If you don’t take spice, then you’d probably be better off with just salt and salted shrimp! 

A wooden table with a bowl of gukbap, soup with pork slices and green onions, a plate of pork slices, and a small bowl of kimchi

Gukbap is a delicious non-spicy Korean food option to try. Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Gukbap in Seoul:

Gwanghwamun Gukbap

53 Sejong-daero 21-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

7. Hoe (Raw fish)

If you’re a fan of Japanese sashimi then you’d want to try Hoe or raw fish in Korea. Hoe is similar to sashimi in that both dishes involve raw fish. The main difference is the way the Koreans serve it.

In Korea, the fish is served and eaten with a sauce called Chojang instead of soy sauce and wasabi. The Koreans also like wrapping their raw fish in lettuce leaves, like how they have their grilled meats. 

At the end of the mean, you can even request a spicy soup called Maeun Tang, which they’ll cook with the leftover fish meat and bones — however, if you can’t take spicy stuff then I’d suggest staying far from this. 

A plate of hoe, raw sliced white fish with a side of lettuce, side dishes, and condiments

Hoe or raw fish served with a wide array of side dishes. Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Hoe in Seoul:

Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market

674 Nodeul-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea

8. Japchae (Mixed glass noodles)

If you know Korean food, even on a fundamental level, you’d be familiar with Japchae – a stir-fried glass noodle dish made of glass noodles, vegetables, and sometimes meat such as pork, beef, or chicken.

Japchae is usually made in Korean homes but you can also find it easily at many Korean food markets. 

Most love it as it’s a simple, fuss-free meal to get your carbs, protein, and veggies in a single dish. The noodles used are chewy and made of sweet potato starch. 

Cooked japchae, noodles with sliced carrots, onions, wood fungus mushroom, and onions, for sale at a market

Have you tried japchae before? Photo credit: Steven Roe via Scopio Photos

Where to find Japchae in Seoul:

Gwanjang Market

88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

9. Jajangmyeon (Black bean noodles)

Jajajangmyeon is a Korean-Chinese dish comprised of black bean sauce and noodles, usually served with pork and some vegetables in the sauce. 

This dish is a Korean take on the Chinese Zha Jiang Mian, though the Korean version has a darker-colored, thicker sauce, and tastes sweeter.

In Korean culture, there is even a day when singles order or have Jajangmyeon. The day is called Black Day and it falls on April 14, two months after Valentine’s Day and one month after White Day (a day similar to Valentine’s Day that is celebrated in Korea and Japan). 

Where to find Jajangmyeon in Seoul:

Hong Kong Banjeom 0410

7-4 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

10. Jeon (Pancake)

Jeon simply refers to a fried pancake in Korea. Kimchi Jeon and Pa Jeon (Onion Pancake) are the most common. Sometimes Jeon also refers to fried fritters that Koreans consume with an alcoholic drink called Makkeoli, or Korean Rice Wine.

For these Jeons, the Jeons are simply ingredients such as meat and vegetables coated with a batter, and fried. Because of how oily these Jeons are, the Koreans love consuming them while having drinks or just as a side to their meals. 

The Jeons are only spicy if you have a Kimchi Jeon which could be slightly spicier. Do also stay away from the Jeons that come in a green chili shape — those could be spicy! 

A plate of jeon, small fried pancakes, and a hand holding a bowl of Korean rice wine, makkeoli

Jeon is usually had with a Korean rice wine, known as Makkeoli. Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Jeon in Seoul:

Yimone Wangpajeon

12-3 Hoegi-ro 28-gil, Hwigyeong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea

11. Jjimddak (Braised Chicken)

Jjimdak very simply translates to “braised chicken” and is a simple dish of chicken braised in a soy-based sauce. The dish is usually eaten with rice and is very comforting and seldom spicy, though spicy versions exist. 

Where to find Jjimddak in Seoul:

Bongchu Jjimdak 

87-3 Chungmuro 5(o)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

12. Jokbal (Pig Trotters)

Love pork? Then you’d want to try Jokbal, a braised pork trotter dish where the pork trotter is deboned and cut into small bite-sized slices. The braising results in a tender, melt-in-the-mouth consistency. 

Because of the cut of the pork — the trotter — the dish usually has a lot of gelatin and is said to be beneficial for good skin. 

Two hands holding a gold plate of jokbal, pig trotters

Would you want to try jokbal? Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Jokbal in Seoul:

Myth Jokbal

21 Myeongdong 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

13. Juk (Porridge)

Juk refers to “porridge” and as expected, a bowl of porridge

The Korean version comes in both savory and sweet versions — the savory versions come with beef, abalone, seafood, or vegetables, while the sweet versions also come with red beans.

While some might associate Juk or porridge as a meal to be had when you’re ill, Koreans pretty much have porridge whenever they feel like it, but also when they’re feeling a little ill. 

Where to find Juk in Seoul:


6 Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

14. Kalguksu (Knife-Cut Noodles)

Kalguksu translates to “knife-cut noodles” and is a dish of soup and noodles that is usually handmade

The broth is usually clear or slightly cloudy, made with ingredients such as anchovies or kelp. The noodles are usually made with wheat flour and eggs, and knife-cut into thin strips. 

The soup is seldom spicy unless you add Kimchi or red pepper powder on your own accord. Some regions in Korea, such as Jeonju, have their unique take on Kalguksu. 

A bowl of hand cut noodles with pork at Myeongdong Kyoja in Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea

This is the Kalguksu from Myongdong Kyoja. Photo credit: Life Of Doing

Where to find Kalguksu in Seoul:

Myeongdong Kyoja

29 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Read More: Places to Eat in Seoul’s Myeongdong Area

15. Kimbap (Rice rolls)

When you first see a kimbap, you might think — sushi. But a kimbap isn’t a sushi. A kimbap is simply a roll of rice wrapped in seaweed or “kim.” 

The main difference between Kimbap and sushi is that Kimbap is typically made of cooked ingredients (such as ham, radish, carrots, spinach, and even cheese), and the rice is seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce. 

Whereas for Japanese sushi, the ingredients can be raw or cooked, and the rice is typically seasoned with a sushi vinegar mix. 

Kimbaps come in many flavors. If you don’t go for spicy, just remember to opt for a non-spicy flavor of Kimbap. Stay clear of Kimchi Kimbap or Spicy Bulgogi Kimbap, for example. 

Where to find Kimbap in Seoul:

Ssada Gimbap

63-3 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

16. Kongguksu (Noodles in Soy Milk Broth)

If it’s hot out, Kongguksu or “noodles in soy milk broth” would be the ideal choice for food while you’re in Korea. 

Kongguksu is a cold noodle dish and the soy milk broth is incredibly refreshing, unless you don’t take soy. 

A bowl of kongguksu, cold noodles in a soy milk broth and topped with sesame seeds and sliced cucumber

This is kongguksu served at Myeongdong Kyoja. Photo credit: Life Of Doing

Where to find Kongguksu in Seoul: 

Jinju Hoegwan

26 Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

17. Korean Fried Chicken

This isn’t your average KFC — Korean Fried Chicken differs from western-styled fried chicken in that it typically comes glazed with marinade after frying or sprinkled with a special seasoning

In Korea, you can find flavors like soy garlic, spicy, cheese sprinkle, and even spring onion on your chicken. 

It’s the perfect dish to have if you love your fried chicken. My personal favorite is soy garlic. Non-spicy eaters, steer clear of spicy or “yangnyeom” which can be a tad spicy. 

Where to find Korean Fried Chicken in Seoul:

BHC Chicken

21 Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

18. LA Galbi (Korean-style short ribs)

LA Galbi refers to Korean-style short ribs (or “galbi” for ribs). You might wonder if it has anything to do with LA, the city of Los Angeles (in California, U.S.). But LA means the lateral cut that is used for this dish.

The short rib seasoning is usually sweet-savory thanks to the use of soy sauce, honey, and pear in its marinade

It’s an extremely tender cut of beef and great for anyone who wants barbecued meat but might be afraid of accidentally ordering something spicy. 

Where to find LA Galbi in Seoul:

Byeokje Galbi

25 Dosan-daero 81-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

19. Mandu (Dumplings)

Every culture has some version of dumplings — the Chinese with their jiao zis, the Japanese with their gyozas, and the Koreans have mandu. 

Korean dumplings are essentially similar to others — a meat filling encased in a flour skin

The main difference is the way it looks — Korean mandus are folded similarly to Chinese dumplings but the ends are usually brought together after folding the skin, resulting in a rounder shape. Korean mandus also tend to be larger. 

Where to find Mandu in Seoul:

Goobok Mandu

7 Duteopbawi-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

20. Miyuk Guk (Seaweed Soup)

Miyuk Guk refers to seaweed soup and is a simple soup that every Korean would have had. 

Miyuk Guk is usually eaten on birthdays and also by mothers after giving birth so you can be sure it’s a very nutritious soup. 

It doesn’t have to be your birthday nor do you need to have given birth to try this soup. Most usual Korean restaurants would serve this as a side dish. 

Where to find Miyuk Guk in Seoul:

Seoul Ttukbaegi

1 Supyo-ro 6-gil, Chungmuro 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

21. Naengmyeon (Cold noodles)

Naengmyeon translates to “cold noodles” in Korean and comprises thin, chewy buckwheat noodles in either a cold, icy broth or with a spicy sauce (Bibim Naengmyeon)

If you aren’t a fan of spicy food, stick to the soupy version which is extremely refreshing on a hot day, or after a heavy barbecued meat meal. 

Where to find Naengmyeon in Seoul:


105 Tojeong-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

22. Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)

Not a fan of cold soup or cold noodles? How about some Samgyetang or Ginseng Chicken Soup to warm your soul? As the name suggests, it is a chicken soup with ginseng in it — extremely nutritious and comforting. 

Unlike Western versions of chicken soups, this version of chicken soup comes with the Asian herb ginseng which has a herby, medicinal flavor. 

The Koreans also stuff glutinous rice or sticky rice into the chicken. It’s a dish unique to Korea and one I always go for when I need something hearty. 

Where to find Samgyetang in Seoul:

Tosokchon Samgyetang

5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

23. Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Stew)

Just when you think there are enough soups, there is yet another one of my favorites that isn’t the least bit spicy — Seollongtang or ox bone stew. 

As the name suggests, it is boiled for hours using ox bone. The result is a milky, flavourful broth. It is also typically served with beef slices.

My favorite part of this meal is the Radish Kimchi that comes with it, though I’d advise you to approach that with caution if you can’t have spicy food. 

A table with a bowl of rice, bowl of ox bone stew with a spoon of ox meat, and a bowl of radish kimchi

Seollongtang is another non-spicy food to try in Korea. Photo credit: Stray With Sarah

Where to find Seolleongtang in Seoul:

Oegojip Seolleongtang

555 Samseong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

24. White Sundubu Jjigae (Soft Tofu Stew)

The last on the list — White Sunbubu Jjigae — isn’t as commonly found compared to its non-white, spicier version, but trust us, it’s an extremely yummy dish that you cannot miss if you love tofu. 

It’s even better if the place makes its own tofu or “dubu” in Korean. Some regions in Korea also specialize in their own versions of Sundubu, so keep an eye out for it when you travel.

Where to find Sundubu in Seoul:

Jaedong Sundubu

6, Bukchon-ro 2-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03059 South Korea

Final Thoughts

I hope this list has been helpful to you in helping you navigate the ins and outs of Korean food and to seek out non-spicy alternatives.

Unlike what most people say that Korean food is really spicy, there are more than enough non-spicy versions to go around and you can still have a fruitful experience without needing to touch any of the red-hot food items you see around.

Try these dishes and let us know which non-spicy Korean food you enjoyed the most! 

Looking for other posts about Seoul? Check out the posts below: 

Like this post? Save it to your South Korea Travel Board on Pinterest!

A close up of a Korean stone pot with pork, dark leafy vegetables, bean sprouts, mushroom, and raw egg

Featured photo & pin #1 photo credit: shalamov via

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