OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul, Seodaemun’s Stylish Chinese Restaurant: Zen

The area around Gwanghwamun Station is known as one of Seoul’s prominent office districts, with various companies clustered together. As lunchtime approaches, you can find numerous office workers in the area, leading to a variety of restaurants catering to this demand.

Particularly, along the main road leading from Gwanghwamun Square to Seodaemun Station, you’ll find many high-rise buildings, housing major corporations like LG and Heungkuk Life.

“Zen: A Fusion Chinese Restaurant near Seodaemun Station”

In the Gwanghwamun area, you can explore a variety of restaurants. Occasionally, there may be a craving for Chinese cuisine. One such place I visited for a taste of Chinese food is a restaurant called “Zen.”

Zen is categorized as a fusion Chinese restaurant. It exudes a slightly upscale atmosphere compared to the typical image that comes to mind with Chinese restaurants. Perhaps it’s classified this way due to its somewhat refined ambiance. Of course, the menu also differs somewhat from traditional Chinese restaurants, leading to such classification.

Located on the 3rd floor of the Kyunghyang Shinmun Star Six Annex, across from Gyeonghuigung Palace, between Gwanghwamun and Seodaemun Stations. Zen operates as a Chinese restaurant in the morning and transforms into a stylish bar in the afternoon.

“Zen’s Menu”

At Zen, you can experience a variety of Chinese dishes. They offer lunch courses labeled as “A, B, C.” The most affordable A course is priced at KRW 14,000 per person, while the priciest C course is KRW 23,000. Ordering from the course menu doesn’t impose a significant burden.

Additionally, you can order individual items from the menu. Basic Chinese dishes like Jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles) and Samseon Jjambbong (spicy seafood noodles) are available, starting at KRW 7,000.

“Shrimp Fried Rice: KRW 9,000”

After some contemplation on what to order, I decided to go with the “Shrimp Fried Rice,” priced at KRW 9,000. It falls within a reasonably affordable range.

Personally, I have a preference for noodles, so when I used to visit Chinese restaurants in the past, I often centered my order around noodle dishes. However, after trying fried rice in Macau, I find myself frequently ordering it again to re-experience that taste in Korean Chinese restaurants.

Upon placing an order, you are served with kimchi and pickled radish. After a short wait, you’ll be able to enjoy your chosen dish. The Shrimp Fried Rice I ordered this time had an enticing appearance, with eggs, shrimp, and various other ingredients harmoniously blending together, presenting a delightful visual.

If there’s anything slightly disappointing, it’s that in Chinese restaurants around the Gwanghwamun area, when you order fried rice, most tend to serve clear egg soup rather than the hearty, thick soup that complements fried rice better. While the clear soup provides comfort, it’s a bit lacking in complementing the rich flavors of fried rice.

“A Stylish Chinese Restaurant”

Zen doesn’t merely exude the typical atmosphere of a Chinese restaurant. It operates as a Chinese restaurant during the day and transforms into a wine bar in the evening. It offers a slightly upscale feel, and if you’re seated by the window, you can also enjoy the outside view.

Moreover, there are statues representing Chinese-style figures from the northern regions, giving off a unique vibe that sets it apart from the typical Chinese restaurant.

“Seoul, Seodaemun Chinese Restaurant: Zen”

  • Address: 3rd Floor, Star Six Jungdong Shin Annex, 38 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-725-3690