OWL Magazine Korea

Cup Rice Alley in Seoul’s Noryangjin

In the past, the Noryangjin area was a popular spot for civil service exam takers. As the craze for civil service exams grew, it was easy to find academies offering classes for exam preparation, turning Noryangjin into a bustling hub for students from all over the country.

While online classes have become the norm, and the fervor for civil service exams has somewhat subsided compared to the past, Noryangjin still preserves its unique charm. Even now, you can find “Cup Rice Alley,” where exam takers used to enjoy affordable meals.

Cup Rice: A Reliable Meal for Exam Takers

Cup rice isn’t the conventional form of a meal. Typically, exam takers would either bring packed lunches or grab a quick bite at nearby restaurants. However, for students with tight budgets and limited time, a hearty cup rice meal was once considered a luxurious option.

Cup rice, as the name suggests, is rice served in a cup—offering a convenient way to enjoy dishes like bibimbap or fried rice. Besides cup rice, various other foods such as waffles, tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), sujebi (hand-pulled dough soup), and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) can also be found.

Exploring Cup Rice Alley in Noryangjin

In Noryangjin, known for its high concentration of civil service exam students, Cup Rice Alley can be discovered. Now, Noryangjin is synonymous not only with the fish market but also with this unique destination. Situated along the main road, you can find Noryangjin Cup Rice Alley by walking about 300m east from Noryangjin Station Exit 3.

Affordable Meals at Cup Rice Alley

Cup Rice Alley offers budget-friendly meal options ranging from a minimum of ₩3,000 to a maximum of ₩5,000. Various cup rice varieties, such as the popular Spam, sausage, and sunny-side-up egg topped with pork belly, are available.

Although the atmosphere may be somewhat ambiguous, eating while standing on the street or on benches provided by Cup Rice Alley is part of the experience. Despite changes in popularity, it remains an attractive place due to its reasonable prices, making it particularly appealing for exam takers who can’t afford to spend much time on meals.

Cup Rice Alley in Noryangjin, Seoul:

  • Address: 174 Noryangjin-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul
  • Operating Hours: 10:00 – 22:00 (Varies by establishment)