It's been some time since this kimchi love affair invaded our lives - especially when it comes to our appetites! So, in the name of, ahem, cultural education, we've hopped from one restaurant to another and sussed out the best Korean restaurants in Jakarta.
Korean food is taking the world by storm and for good reason! We personally haven’t found a Korean fried chicken joint we haven’t loved, and there really is nothing better than an ice cold bowl of naengmyeon on a hot summer’s day. Whether you’re looking for kimchi, bibimbap, Korean barbecue, or simply, a glass of soju, here are our favourite Korean restaurants in Jakarta.
With over 450 stores in Korea and several others in China, Thailand, and America, Mapogalmaegi or Magal is famous for a reason. It is the first Korean barbeque restaurant to bring the concept of cooking steamed egg on the side, which quickly becomes the signature of the house. As you grill your meat on the barbeque, the oil will drip down onto the grill grate’s side slot which is filled with the raw beaten egg, so you can only imagine how tasty it will get. The result? A perfectly cooked egg soufflé!
Mapogalmaegi, multiple locations, check website for details.
Chung Gi Wa
This gem of a neighborhood BBQ joint was famous among south Jakartans when it first opened in Dharmawangsa area. Do go in large groups – great samgyeopsal (pork belly) is always fun to share, but usually we end up fighting over them in a chopsticks war! This is why: their meat and pork are flown in from Chung Gi Wa’s very own farm in Korea. Due to its popularity, the restaurant has also branched out to various shopping malls in the city, so you know you’ll always have a backup plan if one of their restaurants is fully booked.
Chung Gi Wa, multiple locations, check website for details.
Legend of Noodle
Korean cuisine isn’t just about kalbi and grilled pork-belly you know. While we do love our barbecued meats, there’s the less celebrated hero of K-cuisine: Korean noodles. Legend of Noodle does it best in Jakarta – their best-selling jajangmyeon (black noodles) have a real depth of flavour, while an ice cold bowl of naengmyeon (cold glass noodles) is the perfect antidote for a sweltering hot day.
Legend of Noodle, Jl. Senopati No. 81, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 521 0230.
Those who love fried chicken would love Chir Chir. The Korean chicken specialist is famous for their crispy fried chicken, which is given a twist with its use of various sauces like honey butter, cream sauce, or garlic. The best way to taste everything is by getting their Half Half Crispy Chicken, which is a combination of the original one and either one of the Spicy or Garlicky Chicken. Oh, don’t forget to pair the meal with their delicious whipped cream-topped beer to cool things off!
Chir Chir, Ruko Garden House Blok B No. 20, Jl. Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta, p. +62 21 2903 3491 (multiple locations, check website for details.)
We love Gojumong’s variety of banchan (appetizers) – good ol’ kimchi, coleslaw, seasoned spinach, steamed egg, braised tofu, and loads more. The best part? They’re all complimentary! It doesn’t stop there of course, their wagyu yangnyum galbi sal (seasoned boneless rib wagyu) and their saeng galbi sal (prime boneless short rib) are excellent. The japchae here comes in a big portion, so sharing is a must. Taking your family out for a Korean foodscapade? Gojumong’s got tatami rooms (4-6 people) and VIP room (12 people).
Gojumong, Jl. Panglima Polim IX No. 7-9, Melawai, p. +6221 72796709.
Gahyo wasn’t crowned Jakarta’s best Korean restaurant three times for nothing. They serve grade 6-7 sher wagyu, which won the gold medal in the Australian produce award. For first timers, their lunch set is a great intro to top-notch Korean food, serving galbi (ribs) and sundubu jjigae (sizzling hot seafood and tofu stew) at one go. Calling real Korean cuisine aficionados: we dare you to chow down their famous daechang (beef intestine). Top it off with a soju shot and you’re good to go for a wild gangnam-style night!
Gahyo, Kawasan SCBD Lot 6, Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52-53, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 515 2905.
Gahyo, Jl. Raya Kelapa Nias Blok LC12 No. 18A, Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, p. +62 21 4587 6626.
Love K-BBQ but too lazy to cook up those meats tableside? Then, Mr. Park should be your latest go-to. Delicious thick cuts of barbecued beef and slices of marinated pork belly come straight out from the kitchen ready to be devoured right away – don’t forget to order a bottle of chamisul to wash it all down. Bonus point: they are probably one of the only Korean BBQ joints in town where you don’t walk out smelling of smoke.
Mr. Park, SCBD Lot 6, Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52-53, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 5140 1142.
Mr. Park, Grand Indonesia Level 5, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Central Jakarta, p. +62 21 2358 0266.
A tedious morning of shopping requires a kickass amount of protein. That’s where Han Gang comes in: with all outlets spread out over Jakarta’s top malls, all you need to do is to walk into one for a hearty lunch. Their dolsot yache bibimbap (rice, beef and vegs with garlic and sesame oil in a heated stone bowl, topped with an egg yolk and chilli paste) with a side of jumulleok (grilled beef) is our definitive Korean go-to. Hosting a Korean-themed party? Call Han Gang, they do catering too.
Han Gang, Grand Indonesia, Sky Bridge Level 3A, Unit FDI-08, Jl. MH Thamrin, p. +6221 23580710 (multiple locations, check website for details.)
Born Ga was established in Korea by a celebrity chef, Paik Jong-Won. With 33 branches in Korea, we were excited to visit Jakarta’s branch to try their patented – yes, patented – woo sam gyup, which is thinly sliced beef brisket. The thrill we got from seeing those marbled slices curl up while cooking on the grill was comparable to actually tasting it. Dipped in the special Born Ga sauce, it’s a K-pop stage with kaleidoscopic fireworks on your taste buds. Get their chadol doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) for a healthier, steamier meal.
Born Ga, multiple locations, check website for details.
Seorae has taken the northern Jakarta foodie community by storm! The first branch outside Korea (257 of them over there!), you can be sure that the Seorae’s pulling all the stops for everything to be up to scratch – we’re talking imported pork, beef and even (wait for it), utensils. Pork connoisseurs, sink your teeth into their galmaegisal (pork skirt meat) dipped in their special sauce, this part of pork you can’t find anywhere else in J-town. We’re also currently obsessed with their Seoul Bulgogi.
Seorae, Rukan Garden House Blok B No. 19, Panti Indah Kapuk, p. +6221 29033389.
Enter SamWon House and you’ll instantly feel like you’re in traditional Korea. Some of their cuisine is authentic Korean, like naengmyeon (cold noodle soup with beef and egg) or samgyetang (ginseng chicken). If you’re looking for a more familiar fare, opt for their best-selling yang nyam galbi (seasoned beef ribs) and dolsot bibimbap. With ingredients imported from Korea and beef imported from Australia and the US, SamWon House pampers your taste buds like no other.
SamWon House, Setiabudi One, Ground Floor, unit B 107-108A, Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 62, p. +6221 52904213.
The thing we love about Korean restaurants is their generous serving of complimentary side dishes, but honestly, we’ve never had as many – and as delicious! – as the one we had at Chunghae Soosan. Located in Senopati, this authentic Korean restaurant serves a generous serving of banchan with selections like stir fried mushroom, grilled mackarel, steamed egg, oden, fresh oyster, octopus, baked clams, fish cake soup, tempura, and many more. Remember, that was just the beginning. The side dishes are surely fulfilling, but don’t forget to spare some space for the main highlight, their signature Chunghae Sashimi Course, which offers a variety of raw fish and comes in three different sizes.
Chunghae Soosan, Jl. Senopati No. 49, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 527 8721.
Located in Senopati, Arasseo is not your regular Korean dining spot. You won’t find classic dishes that you normally would in other traditional Korean restaurants; instead, you’ll have Korean food with a twist like Beef Grill served with rice balls on a plate, Korean Bolognese Spaghetti, Korean-style taco and Cheese Chicken. The eatery is also a soju bar, so their signature Blended Soju is definitely a must-have, especially since it comes in unique flavours like Yakult, Pong Ta, and Bubble Gum.
Arasseo, Jl. Senopati No. 16, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 2751 0187.
If sticky deep fried chicken wings are your thing, then Chicken Phong needs to go on your list, stat. The chickens are fried in the traditional Korean way with your pick of seasoning. Our favourites are the hot spicy seasoning and BBQ oven. Portions are generous, but you won’t want to stop eating anyway. Best enjoyed, of course, with an ice cold beer.
Chicken Phong, Jl. Darmawangsa VI No. 47, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 720 7275.
Chicken Phong, Ruko French Walk Blok F No. 7, Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, p. +62 21 4587 0346.
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