True hidden gems are those who are only known to locals. One can say that the quality of these places have been verified, and therefore can be trusted. In Tongyeong surrounded by the sea, what are some hidden gems that locals love? Obviously, seafood, such as sliced raw fish or dishes with puffer fish, takes the lion's share of the list.

    Choose from Wellssam Gui Shabu, a Vietnamese spring roll restaurant; Ganggu Sikdang, a restaurant specializing in soy sauce marinated crab (ganjang gejang) accompanied with delicious seaweed soup (miyeokguk); Cheontaemansang, a pub in Mujeon-dong; Tongyeong Jungang Live Fish Market, a place to enjoy fresh sliced raw fish; Punghwa Gimbap, a place where locals go for Chungmu gimbap; Wonjo Sirakguk, a place famous for dried radish leaf soup (siraegiguk); Huni Sirakguk, a local favorite for dried radish leaf and rice soup (sirakguk); Hodong Sikdang, famous for its puffer fish soup (bokguk) from Namhae; Daepunggwan, which specializes in oysters and seafood; and Doemoegol Restaurant, which serves great sausage jjigae (budae jjigae).


    Wellssam Gui Shabu

    The best place for Vietnamese rolls in Tongyeong

    • Families
    • Couples

    Located near Mujeon-dong Lotte Cinema, Wellssam Gui Shabu is the most popular place for Vietnamese spring rolls in Tongyeong. Grill and shabu sets include a beef sirloin, pork belly, seafood, smoked duck, and beef brisket course and a seafood course with beef sirloin, pork belly, shrimp and octopus, while the shabu set include the Korean beef set, beef sirloin set, and a seafood set with shrimp and octopus. All menu items come with Vietnamese rice paper and wrap set.

    Dip the rice paper in the lemon water to soften them up, top them with vegetables and pineapple, and wrap the cooked meat and fish sauce with the vegetable wrap. At the end of the meal, one can choose between porridge or noodles as a finisher. The restaurant gets pretty crowded during lunchtime. For lunch specials, the grilled pork belly set is quite popular.

    Location: 29, Angae-ro, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9.30 pm (Closed on the second and fourth Mondays)

    Phone: +82 (0)55-649-3792



    Pub where you can enjoy traditional drinking food

    • Families
    • Couples

    Cheontaemansang is a pub that prepares 5 kinds of herbs and dongchimi made with traditional food as side dishes and serves them together. It is conveniently located near Lotte Mart in Mujeon-dong, which makes it easily accessible. The restaurant serves delicious food using fresh clams, flounder, octopus, and seafood sourced from the sea near Tongyeong.

    It is a great place to get some drinks with delicious food, like skate, pork, and kimchi combo (hongeo samhap), grilled eel (jangeo gui), and sea snails with noodles (golbaengi somyeon). Grilled marinated galbi (LA galbi) or braised beef galbi (sogalbijjim) are more than enough for meals. There are soups such as spicy fish roe soup (altang) and clam soup (jogaetang), jjigaes such as pork and kimchi jjigae (dwaeji kimchi jjigae), and dried snacks such as squid. Pancakes like green onion pancake (pajeon) or kimchi pancake (kimchijeon) are wonderful for rainy days. In winter, you can also order half-dried saury (gwamegi) or pan-fried battered oysters (guljeon). Try the rolled omelettes (gyeran mari) with hot chilli pepper.

    Location: 22-73, Mujeon 6-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +82 (0)55-649-4800


    Tongyeong Jungang Live Fish Market

    Vibrant traditional market in Tongyeong

    • Families
    • Couples

    Tongyeong Jungang Live Fish Market is a beloved traditional market that offers the opportunity to sample sliced raw fish, made from the freshest catch of the day. Take a bus to the Donam-dong area in front of Tongyeong Intercity Bus Terminal, and disembark at the Jungang Market bus stop to get to the market. The market is near Dongpirang Mural Village and Gangguan Port, so it is visited by many tourists as well.

    The market offers an abundance of freshly caught fish and seafood. You can see the day's catch swimming around in rubber basins. Buy the fish you want and take them to the nearby restaurants, which will fillet and slice the fish for you. For a table setting fee per person, you can enjoy the sliced raw fish and spicy fish soup against the view of the sea. Enjoy fresh sliced raw fish to your heart's content at an affordable price.

    Location: 160, Jungang-ro, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-649-5225


    Punghwa Gimbap

    Beloved Gimbap joint for locals

    • Families
    • Couples

    Punghwa Gimbap is a Chungmu gimbap restaurant frequented by locals. You can find it at the opposite side of the entrance to the Tongyeong Port Passenger Terminal car park. It's not a big shop, only having three 4-person tables. Many visitors get their food for takeaway. This place has a reputation for offering more value for your money than the Chungmu gimbap places in Gangguan Port. Chungmu gimbap lends itself to takeaway very well, just like regular gimbap. An order here starts from two portions.

    Chungmu Gimbap is an experience in harmony between the spicy and sour radish and napa cabbage kimchi (seokbakji), made with salted radish and napa cabbage tossed and fermented with chilli pepper powder, garlic, ginger, and salted prawns, along with stir-fried squid and fish cakes (ojingeo eomuk muchim). It is served with a rich dried radish soup (siraegiguk), whose unassuming taste goes very well with rice.

    Location: 233-1, Tongyeonghaean-ro, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 5.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-644-1990


    Wonjo Sirakguk

    Cosy market restaurant for dried radish leaf soup

    • Families
    • Couples

    You can find Wonjo Sirakguk, a restaurant specialising in dried radish leaf soup (siraegiguk), at the Seoho Traditional Market in Tongyeong. Seoho Traditional Market has many restaurants that advertise dried radish leaf soup. This soup, known locally as sirakguk, is beloved for its refreshing broth. This light and refreshing soup is known as a local delicacy in Tongyeong. Tongyeong's take on dried radish leaf soup is made with an eel broth. It is intended to be a nutritious meal for sailors, who sail out before dawn.

    Wonjo Sirakguk also has a long table with more than 10 side dishes, such as kimchi, sesame leaves, dried radish salad, and fresh radish salad. You help yourself to however as much as you want. That way, once you sit down, the restaurant only brings you rice and soup.

    Location: 12-10, Saeteo-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 4.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-646-5973


    photo by National Institute of Korean Language (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Huni Sirakguk

    Warm bowl of dried radish leaf soup (siraegitguk) with unlimited side dishes

    • Families
    • Couples

    Located in Seoho Traditional Market, Huni Sirakguk is a restaurant beloved by Tongyeong locals. The menu is simple: Dried radish leaf and rice soup (sirakgukbap). When you sit down, you are served a bowl of eel bones-and-soybean paste soup, along with a bowl of rice. You can add chives or Korean mint leaves for taste. Huni Sirakguk has a L-shaped table with self-service side dishes. You sit on either side of the table. Help yourself to the side dishes you want on a plate.

    The all-you-can-eat side dishes here include large omelettes. It should be pointed out that if you don't finish all your side dishes, you will be levied with a fine, so make sure to only take what you can eat. At any rate, fortify your energy for your trip with a hearty bowl of dried radish leaf and rice soup, served with bean sprouts, squid salad (ojingeo muchim), and sesame leaves. You have to fetch your own water and coffee.

    Location: 42-7, Saeteo-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 4.30 am to 3.30 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-649-6417


    Hodong Sikdang

    Place to enjoy fresh puffer fish from Namhae

    • Families
    • Couples

    Hodong Sikdang is famous for puffer fish soup (bokguk), made with puffer fish sourced from Namhae. Puffer fish from Namhae are smaller than the commonly found imported frozen puffer fish. It is sourced fresh from the market, and is made into a soup with bean sprouts. Hodong Sikdang, which serves both clear broth puffer fish soup and spicy puffer fish soup (bongmaeuntang), has a branch in Gangseo-gu, Seoul. Along with puffer fish dishes like soup and boiled slices (boksuyuk), you can also enjoy dishes made with monkfish, like monkfish soup (aguguk), boiled monkfish slices (agu suyuk) spicy monkfish stew (agu maeuntang), or braised monkfish (agujjim).

    Puffer fish are low in fat and high in protein, and are said to energize the body from weakness brought on by a depletion of energy. Puffer fish soup can also be said to be a great hangover cure. Water parsley in puffer fish soup helps to detoxify the body and boost your metabolism. Add a dollop of spicy paste into the clear soup for a kick.

    Location: 47, Saeteo-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-645-3138



    Restaurant where you can enjoy seafood to your heart's content

    • Families
    • Couples

    Daepunggwan is located in a large red brick building near the entrance to Dongpirang Village, serving fresh seafood and hearty side dishes. You can enjoy oyster course dishes in autumn and winter, and cold raw fish soup in spring and summer. Sea pineapple bibimbap (meongge bibimbap) is also a popular menu item. In addition to side dishes such as vegetables, salted fish, kimchi, and green laver, bibimbap dishes are served with an oyster and seafood pancake (gulhaemuljeon), seafood soybean paste soup (haemul doenjang), and grilled fish (saengseon gui).

    Seafood soybean paste soup (haemul doenjang) contains blue crab, while cold raw fish soup contains sea cucumber, abalone, sliced fresh raw fish, and sea pineapple. Enjoy the cooling sensation of the rich cold raw fish soup. After eating all the sliced raw fish, you can finish the soup with either noodles or rice. For those who want to try a variety of flavours, we recommend the course meal.

    Location: 29, Haesongjeong 2-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-644-4446



    Sausage jjigae (budae jjigae) with various toppings

    • Families
    • Couples

    Doemoegol serves excellent sausage jjigae (budae jjigae) near Mujeonhaebyeon Beach Park in Mujeon-dong. The restaurant has two types of seating: the hall, which requires you to take off your shoes, and regular table seating, which has tables and chairs. The restaurant serves sausage jjigae, sausage hot pot (budae jeongol), spicy stir-fried chicken (dakgalbi), and rolled omelettes (gyeran mari). Additional toppings include ham, cheese, and ramyeon noodles. The food is served pre-boiled, so you only need to wait momentarily for it to simmer before digging in.

    Don't forget to order fried rice as a finisher for your sausage jjigae. Side dishes at Doemoegol include raw radish salad, kimchi, and water kimchi, with some seasonal variance. Sausage hot pot includes all the toppings of the seafood jjigae with additional ingredients like tofu and glass noodles. It has more substance and a richer soup than the jjigae.

    Location: 64-11, Mujeon 1-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 8.30 pm

    Phone: +82 (0)55-644-3361


    Ganggu Sikdang

    Soy sauce marinated crab restaurant with delicious seaweed soup

    • Families
    • Couples

    Ganggu Sikdang is famous for its seaweed sourced from Gyeonnaeryang and the opaque and rich seaweed soup (miyeokguk) made with abalone, live clams, flounder, beef, and fish. The main dish here, however, is marinated crab, either marinated in soy sauce (ganjang kkotgejang) or a spicy sauce (yangnyeom kkotgejang). The seaweed soup set menu, such as live clams and seaweed soup, fish and seaweed soup, beef and seaweed soup, flounder and seaweed soup, abalone and seaweed soup, etc., are good for hangovers.

    For the assorted marinated seafood set menu, one gets marinated blue crab, abalone, conch, salmon, side dishes, grilled fish, soup, laver, and two bowls of rice. Side dishes are quite refined, and include the likes of cucumber and onion salad (oi yangpa muchim), bean sprout salad (kongnamul muchim), steamed eggs (gyeranjjim), chilli pepper salad with soybean paste (gochu doenjang muchim), water kimchi (mul kimchi), napa cabbage kimchi (baechu kimchi), stir-fried dried anchovies (myeolchi bokkeum), laver, braised sweet pumpkin (danhobak jorim), grilled marinated fish (saengseon yangnyeom gui), and japchae. Seaweed soup is cooked and served in an earthenware pot. It is made with natural stone-grown seaweed sourced from Gyeonnaeryang, a small strait under Geojedaegyo Bridge. Marinated crab shells are topped with egg yolk. Try it by mixing the yolk and the content with rice.

    Location: 15-12, Hangnam 1-gil, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

    Phone: +82 (0)55-643-0033


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