Korean food tours, especially Seoul food tours, daunt travelers with all the choices. There is no one-size-fits-all experience. As I said on a previous post, TripAdvisor/Viator tours and others like them tend to be reposts of other companies’ tours with 15-30% sucked out for commissions.

Do the right thing. Book directly.

Top 9 Korean Food Tours

This is a list, NOT A RANKING. I’ve compiled it based on the most popular rankings and web searches. I know a lot of these operators personally, and they’re good people. We each have a different style. Find one that fits you.

1. ZenKimchi Experiences

I’ll just go ahead and post ours first to get it out of the way. ZenKimchi Experiences specialize in immersive–experiences. We avoid the touristy areas. When we design tours, our guides want to show off why we love this place. What is it that keeps us here?

I created the tours out of frustration that many travelers, especially solo travelers, were having bad food experiences in Seoul. A lot of food programs, especially government funded programs, were run by Koreans who held outdated shallow stereotypes of foreigners. They dumbed everything down and tried to push through foods that everyday Koreans don’t eat, like Royal Court Cuisine.

The big bus tour companies packed their starving tourists into restaurants that only made business from those tours. They served food that was close to prison fare. My wife used to be a tour guide, and she told me horror stories of these companies’ tactics. It was all about extracting more money from tourists rather than showing them a good time. Unfortunately, they dominate the airport kiosks and tour organization websites.

ZenKimchi creates curated experiences that are unlike any other. We want our guests to feel like they’re Korean for the night. We run a profit-sharing business model. This means that our guides own their tours. They aren’t college kids trying to make extra cash. They’re passionate professionals who know where to go.

Websites: ZenKimchi.com, KoreaFoodTours.com
Tour Types: Walking
Booking System: Automated instant online booking for Credit Card & PayPal. Bank Transfer & Cash need to contact through booking form.
Private Tours: Yes
Solo Travelers: Yes, for most tours
Groups: Up to 20. Group discounts.
Family Friendly: Yes, for most tours
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul only

Top Tours

The Ultimate Korean BBQ Night Outsolo friendly$85-118
The Authentic Chicken & Beer Experiencesolo friendly$85-118
Majang Market Meat Lovers Experience solo friendly$140-190
Mix-and-Match Private Tours solo friendly$350-1000/group
Premium Private Tours solo friendly$300-700/group + food cost

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2. O’ngo Food Communications

O’ngo is the granddaddy of food tour companies. They’re not just a tour company. They publish books, do research, and make video productions. The founder, Gina, is well respected in the Korean food community. They’re the most popular food tour company and cooking class entity. They have beginner to professional level cooking classes, and they even have special classes for company team building. I just saw they have a special North Korean cuisine class, which I think is the first of its kind. They conduct food tours in Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, and Jeju. They even do multi-day package tours.

Website: ongofood.com
Tour Types: Walking, cooking classes, mutli-day packages
Booking System: Form. They get back to you.
Private Tours: Yes
Solo Travelers: Tours cancelled if minimum booking isn’t met
Family Friendly: Yes, for most tours
Hotel Pick-up: Private tours
Area: Seoul, Busan, Jeonju, Jeju

Top Tours

Night Dining Tourmin. 2 ppl$88 ($15 surcharge for groups less than 3 people)
Street Food & BBQ Tourmin. 3 ppl$57
Namdaemun Market Tasting Tourmin. 3 ppl$47
Halal Food Tourmin. 3 ppl$57 ($15 surcharge for groups less than 3 people)
Ultimate Food Tour: Private Tourmin. 2 ppl$350/person
Beginner Cooking Classessolo friendly$65
Advanced Cooking Classessolo friendly$250

3. Gastro Tour Seoul

Veronica Kang is a powerhouse. She knows Korean food. She has great stories. When I talk to people who have taken her tours, they gush with love. She creates one-of-a-kind experiences.

Gastro Tour specializes in less touristy fare–Korean food for the already initiated. Advanced level stuff. I’m looking for a chance to take her “Tuscany of Korea” tour. It looks so good! The brewmaster tour is a good crash course in Korean alcohol. It’s life changing.

Website: gastrotourseoul.com
Tour Types: Walking, day trips
Booking System: Form
Private Tours: Yes
Solo Travelers: Tours cancelled if minimum booking isn’t met
Groups: Can offer group discounts
Family Friendly: Yes, for most tours
Hotel Pick-up: Can arrange for a fee
Area: Seoul, Taean Peninsula

Top Tours

Seoullo 7017: City Hall & Gwanghwamun Tasting Tourmax. 16 ppl$80
Traditional Seoul Gourmet Tour (Bukchon & Insadong)max. 16 ppl$99
Tuscany of Korea (1 Day)max. 40 ppl$250

Brew Master Tour (Bukchon & Insadong)

max. 30 ppl$118

Seoul Night Food Tour (Hongdae)

max. 16 ppl$118
Custom Events & Private Tours Ask for price

4. The Sool Company

Image result for sool company

Cooking classes you can find anywhere. What about home brewing classes?

“Sool” is the Korean word for liquor. The Sool Company specializes in teaching you about Korean alcohol traditions from tasting to making. Chinese records from 3,000 years ago stated that the people on the Korean peninsula were the best at making alcohol. The Sool Company was started by expat home brewing geeks obsessed with Korea’s rich drinking culture. They’ve studied under masters, and they have figured a way to distill that knowledge (see what I did there) into easy-to-learn classes. They even have a free online course.

If home brewing isn’t your cup of soju, then take one of their masterful Korean alcohol tasting tours.

Website: thesoolcompany.com
Tour Types: Home brewing classes, walking tours
Booking System: Online
Private Tours:
Solo Travelers: Classes need a minimum of 2 to run. Classes under 4 will get a W30,000 extra surcharge.
Groups: Classes max out at 10
Family Friendly: Not if you want your kids to learn how to home brew
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul

Top Tours

Makgeolli Brewing Class2-10 ppl.$75
The Insadong Taster2-12 ppl.$90
The Master Brewer2-12 ppl.$125
Traditional Korean Alcohol Dining Experience2-12 ppl.$90

5. One Day Korea

“You make a wish, we make a tour!”

One Day Korea created an innovative tour recommendation system called “tumakr.” It helps you design your itinerary according to your desires. Similar to ZenKimchi, their guides create their tours. One Day Korea carries a lot of tours in different categories, one of them being food. The types of tours include street food, markets, kimchi making, Noryangjin Fish Market, and even hiking. This is a solution for you if you want to set up all your different tours under one provider.

Website: onedaykorea.com
Tour Types: Walking
Booking System: Online
Private Tours: Yes
Solo Travelers: No
Family Friendly: Most tours are family friendly
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul, Busan, Andong, Gyeongju, Jeju

Top Tours

Food Tour at Noryangjin Fish Marketmin. 2 ppl.$90
Half Day Royal Palace & Food Market min. 2 ppl.$59
Tradition vs. Modernitymin. 3 ppl.$89
K-Food Tourmin. 2 ppl.$99
Kimchi Making & Hanbok Wearing min. 2 ppl.$85
Foodie Tour in Seoulmin. 4 ppl.$99
Hiking Inwangsan Mountain & Fortress Wallmin. 2 ppl.$55

6. OME Cooking Lab

I recently took a tour and class at OME Cooking Lab, and I just had to include them on this list. Their class is well done. You start out with a tour of the traditional medicine market and then one of the largest ingredients markets in Seoul. They explain a lot about Korean ingredients, and you get to sample them.

The cooking class is what truly impressed. They run a tight operation, and they’re personable. We made EIGHT DISHES. I’m a Korean cooking veteran, but even I learned a few new things.

Website: 5-tastes.com
Tour Types: Cooking classes, walking
Booking System: Online with deposit through PayPal
Private Classes: Yes
Solo Travelers: Yes
Groups: Over 10 need special accommodation
Family Friendly: Yes.
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul

Top Classes

Samgyetang Classsolo friendly$55
Korean Home Cooking Classsolo friendly$55
Korean Street Food Classsolo friendly$55
Kimchi Classsolo friendly$55
Bibimbap Classsolo friendly$55

7. Absolute: Seoul Pub Crawl & International Party

Seoul is truly the city that never sleeps. It is one all-day all-night party. If you’re here to party then party with these folks. They’re the “ORIGINAL and LONGEST operating pub crawl of Seoul and one of the longest running in whole Asia.”

This isn’t a literal food tour. It’s all drinking, so make sure to get something in your stomach beforehand. I went on this one recently with one of my guests, and we had a good time. It’s a good way to meet people.

Website: absolutepubcrawl.com
Tour Types: Walking
Booking System: Online + PayPal
Private Tours: No
Solo Travelers: Yes
Family Friendly: Heck no!
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul

Top Tours

Multiple Pub Crawls & Eventssolo friendly$23+

8. F&C Academy

Food & Culture Academy has been around longer than anyone here. They have been instrumental on almost every Korean drama that revolves around food. I’ve worked with them multiple times, and I’ve been impressed at how thorough their knowledge is, along with their relaxed teaching style. If you want to learn a certain dish, this is the place to learn it. You can make your own tailored cooking class. Professional chefs go there all the time to learn new techniques. There are vegetarian classes, though they’re more on the pescatarian side. They even have classes for kids.

Website: koreanrecipe.co.kr
Tour Types: Cooking classes, walking
Booking System: Form
Private Classes: Yes
Solo Travelers: Yes, for a little extra
Groups: Group discounts
Family Friendly: Yes. Children’s discount on some products.
Hotel Pick-up: No
Area: Seoul

Top Classes

Design-you-own Cooking Classsolo friendly$90+
Vegetarian Cooking Classsolo friendly$100
Korean Cooking Class + Market Toursolo friendlyRegular cooking class price +$10
Kids/Teenagers Cooking Class Contact for prices
Professional Classessolo friendlyContact for prices

Tell us your favorites

Share with us your experiences on these Korean food tours. Tell us which ones we’ve missed.

If there are any details we need to fix, please Contact Us.

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