Although there is a dearth of Korean food spots in India, some cities have got the memo. From bulgogi and tteokbokki to fried chicken and bibimbap, these Korean restaurants in Mumbai and Pune are serving up stuff that K-food dreams are made of.
The more Korean content we consume, the greater our chances of being swept up by Hallyu (the Korean wave). Besides the use of finger hearts and the expression hwaiting! (translated fighting, the Korean way of wishing someone good luck), the most influential aspect of this wave has been Korean food.
K-food, if we can call it that, goes beyond kimchi and Yakult (or as Lara Jean in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before calls it, Korean yoghurt smoothie). The cuisine is rooted in the concept of eumyangohaeng (ying and yang) and every food preparation is balanced in terms of textures, colours, and flavours. Pay close attention to the leads of your favourite drama as they sit down to eat, and you’d notice that a traditional Korean table also includes garnishes and side-dishes of five different colours which represent the earth’s five elements. That said, not all Korean foods follow this rule. Fusion foods like Korean fried chicken, hot dog, army stew, and cheese ramen are influenced by the West, and while they might not come with the promise of a balanced meal, they’re just as delicious.
Despite the growing popularity of all things Korean in the country, spots that serve authentic Korean fare are few and far in between. Grab your chopsticks (metal, of course) though because we’ve rounded up a list of Korean restaurants in Mumbai and Pune that will give anyone who loves the country and its food the quintessential experience.
Korean restaurants in Mumbai and Pune every Korean-food enthusiast needs to check out
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One of the first spots in Mumbai to serve authentic Korean fare, Bandra’s Heng Bok is perfect for when you want to immerse yourself in Korean culture. The place offers everything from spicy ramen, kimchi jiggae (stew), pajeon (pancakes), and pork belly to tteokbokki (rice cakes), pork bibimbap (rice with meat and vegetables), pajeon (pancakes), and kimbap. Those who love their bulgogi could sit down for a Korean barbeque here and have a bottle of soju to go with it. To round off your meal, the place has patbingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert) and tempura ice cream. All this, with a side of K-pop music.
Image: Courtesy: @hengbokmumbai/Instagram
Serving major Korean vibes (BTS songs included) along with traditional food, the cosy Sun and Moon in Lower Parel has won the hearts of locals for its hospitality and scrumptious offerings. Popular options here include jjamppong (noodle soup), tteokbokki, kimchi soup, pajeon, and samgyupsal (grilled pork belly). The place also serves kimchi mandu (dumplings), gimbap, ganja jjimdak (chicken in soy sauce), and shaved ice with a red sweet bean. Don’t take our word for the place’s delicious offerings though, the place has a dedicated wall where happy customers have shared just how much they enjoyed the food and the opportunity to partake in this part of Korean culture.
Image: Courtesy @shweta_kadam_25/Instagram
South Bombay’s gift to those who love their kimchi and mandu, Seoulmate’s most popular options also happen to be classics like bibimbap, fried rice, gimbap, jajangmyeon and yachaejeon (Korean pancake). This is great for when you’re just starting out on your Korean food journey and aren’t too hot on the idea of biting into octopus, sea snails, and blood sausages just yet. Open for deliveries from Tuesday to Sunday, the restaurant uses responsibly sourced ingredients and does not add MSG to any of its food. Vegans and those with other forms of dietary restrictions will also find something to enjoy here.
Image: Courtesy @photography_by_aryaan/Instagram
A charming Japanese and Korean restaurant in Powai that serves authentic Korean (and Japanese) food, drop by for some wholesome goodness like spicy kimchi soup, kimbap, stews, mandu guk (dumpling soup), tteokbokki, and stir-fried pork. They also have cold noodles, jjajangmyeon, and japchae (glass noodles) on offer. Fans of Korean barbecue will enjoy the bulgogi and samgyeopsal. Although Korean food is dominated by meat and seafood, vegetarians will have plenty to choose from here.
Image: Courtesy @followmyfoodsteps_/Instagram
Although not a strictly Korean spot, the Korean fried chicken at Louis Burger is enticing enough for it to make it to this list. Wildly popular in Korea, locals are often seen grabbing a glass of soju and digging into, what they consider its better half, chicken wings. This marriage is called chimaek, “chi” for chicken and “maek” for maekju or beer. Although there isn’t a beer to go around, the restaurant’s juicy, crispy chicken wings tossed in a gochujang-based sauce and topped with sesame seeds is both delicious and addictive. You’re bound to go back for seconds. For the days you need something a bit more substantial, go for their Korean fried chicken burger with a side of onion rings and coke.
Image: Courtesy @louisburgerofficial/Instagram
Serving classic Korean fare in a cosy setting, K in Aundh is packed on most weekends. Locals head to the spot for a bowl of Korean ramen, some mandu, naeng myun (noodles with cucumber, pear, and radish), steak, and dak-galbi (stir-fried chicken). If the vast menu has you confused, you could always ask the friendly staff for recommendations and specials. And if you’re a fan of Kpop, don’t forget to check with the restaurant for any BTS goodies they might have on offer.
Image: Courtesy @k_inpune/Instagram
Another local favourite with several branches across the city, Cafe Peter has a dedicated Korean special section in their menu that has some classics that any Korean food enthusiast is bound to enjoy. From gochujang cheese ramen and dark gang jeon (batter-fried chicken) to kimchi fried rice and roasted chicken ssam meal (chicken served with rice on a bed of lettuce), pop by for when the cravings set in.
Image: Courtesy @cafepeterpune/Instagram
Satisfying your Korean food needs, even when you’re on the road, Seouljib is located in Wakad on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Part of a guest house for Koreans, the restaurant is open for all and usually does set menus with all of the information in Hangul. The best way to go about dining here is to let the staff know of any dietary restrictions and preferences and have them recommend what you should have. A meal here usually includes a lot of banchan (side dishes) and can include anything from bibimbap and fried rice to steamed eggs and stew. It doesn’t get more authentic than Seouljib.
Image: Courtesy @whatshotpune/Instagram
Bon appetit! Or as Koreans would say, Masissge Deuseyo!