Fried Chicken for the Seoul: A Walking Tour through Shanghai’s Korea Street

Fried Chicken for the Seoul: A Walking Tour through Shanghai’s Korea Street

Visitors to Shanghai may be surprised to learn that the city also has a vibrant little Korean district, which your local taxi driver will call Korea Street (hanguojie). Located in the Gubei area, a 60 RMB taxi ride from central Puxi, it features many stores that offer products made in South Korea, and you can also get what is likely the best Korean food in the city. In addition, there is a section of this area dedicated to walking and relaxing, with features such as outdoor coffee shops. Here you can watch passers-by enjoy a pretty day outdoors.

Shanghai’s Korea Street
Walking area.

Korea Street is famous for its small eateries and stands that sell fried chicken and beer, among other items. A recent Korean soap opera has popularized these two items in China, and many Chinese people now come to this area to enjoy the lively atmosphere and these particular foodstuffs. A glass of cold beer- Korean, Chinese or even German- will cost 35-55 RMB, while a few slices of fried chicken will cost 25-40 RMB. At some of the more popular stands, be prepared to wait in line as lots of young people wait to get their fried chicken and beer first. In fact, the lines can be quite long and a sight to see in and of themselves.

If you’d like to sit down and eat a larger meal, Korea Street also has many fantastic Korean restaurants. Bonga, a restaurant located not far from the main thoroughfare, stands out in particular for its brand of Korean BBQ. You can order a traditional Korean pancake for 25 RMB, and the servers will grill beef in front of you for around 60 RMB a plate. They will also serve you small bowls of kimchi, peanuts and various other small items on the side, as well as a very large tray of assorted vegetables. Many ethnic Koreans frequent this restaurant, whose dishes are quite authentic.

Shanghai’s Korea Street
Bong restaurant.

One of the best places to sit outside and watch people pass by is Caffe Bene, a coffee shop located in the center of the walking area where most people stroll through. This coffee shop will play Korean soap operas and entertainment shows inside, as you order dessert and a drink, while outside at a table you can enjoy great weather and listen to the various languages spoken by visitors.

Shanghai’s Korea Street
Afternoon snacks.

An iced coffee will cost around 30 RMB, while a slice of chocolate cake or another similar dessert should cost about 25 RMB. If the tables outside are crowded, the coffee shop also has a large section upstairs with many tables next to large windows facing the walking street. Here you can enjoy your coffee while observing the street from above.

If you’d like to buy some Korean food products, this is also the best place to do so. For example, several small shops make and sell their own kimchi, the spicy pickled cabbage that is a Korean classic. Many of these storeowners are native Koreans who can speak good Mandarin Chinese, and you can buy a package of their homemade kimchi for around 40 RMB. You can also buy clothes and other products made in Korea at the local shopping center, located just across the street from the walking area. Many of these items are discounted, so you should be able to find lots of great deals. Items here include furniture, cosmetics, and some special Korean-language services.

Enough Koreans live and work in Shanghai that the area also supports a few Korean-language publications, such as the Shanghai Journal. This publication highlights the activities of Korean families and businesspeople in Shanghai, and also features many Korean-language advertisements for schooling, real estate, business development, and other related matters. It appears the Korean population of Shanghai is growing and thriving, and they appear quite proud of their little section of this big city.

In short, if you have a free afternoon and would like to spend it walking around with friends or family, I recommend you visit Shanghai’s Korea Street in the Gubei area. On a nice day, people are guaranteed to visit this section of the city for its delicious food and cheap beer, and its window into a culture that bears similarity to Chinese culture, but is also still quite different. The locals are very friendly, and the atmosphere is very relaxed, with Korean pop music wafting through the air from a nearby fried chicken stand. Korea Street will be a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of China’s financial capital and showcase city. 

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Keywords: Shanghai’s Korea Street Korean bbq in Shanghai


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