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5 Korean Cultural Experiences To Try in Seoul

culture korean

If you're searching for authentic and unique activities to add to your South Korea itinerary, this is for you.

Experience Korean culture with our curated selection of five immersive activities in the heart of Seoul. Designed to be accessible to foreigners and guided by English-speaking instructors, these cultural experiences offer an authentic glimpse into the rich tapestry of Korean traditions.

From crafting Korea's iconic dish in a Kimchi Making Class to mastering the infectious rhythms of K-Pop in a Dance Class, each activity promises an unforgettable experience. Discover the art of brewing Makgeolli, Korea's traditional rice wine, or uncover the secrets of Korean Temple cuisine in a cooking class. Lastly, immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of a Korean Tea Ceremony, where you'll learn the intricate rituals and etiquette surrounding this time-honored tradition.

Whether you're a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, these foreigner-friendly activities provide a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding and appreciation of Korean culture.

1. Kimchi Making Class

Kimchi is an iconic dish in Korean cuisine, deeply ingrained in the country's cultural heritage. The fermented dish rich in probiotics, beneficial for gut health, has gained worldwide popularity.

At Seoul Kimchi Academy Center, located in the charming Bukchon Hanok Village, offers a unique opportunity to learn the art of making delicious kimchi from a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience.

The 1-hour regular course allows you to:

  • Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.

  • Master the art of kimchi making: Learn the secrets to creating authentic kimchi using fresh ingredients. You'll take home 700g to 900g of your own kimchi, conveniently vacuum-packed for easy transport.

  • Savor a delicious kimchi pancake: Cap off your experience by enjoying the very kimchi you made!

This class is a perfect way to:

  • Gain hands-on experience in a traditional Korean house (Hanok).

  • Learn about Korean food culture and kimchi's significance.

  • Take home a delicious souvenir of your Korean adventure.

Cost: 45,000 KRW

Address: 102 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

2. K-Pop Dance Class

K-pop dance has gained significant popularity globally, with fans not only enjoying the music but also learning and performing the choreography themselves through cover dance videos and dance challenges on social media platforms.

At Real K-Pop Dance in Hongdae, anyone can learn the electrifying moves of their favorite K-Pop idols.

These classes cater to everyone, regardless of skill level. Led by real K-Pop backup dancers, the instructors are equipped to guide participants through the hottest K-Pop routines of popular groups like BTS, TWICE, EXO, SEVENTEEN, IU, and more.

This program is designed specifically for foreign tourists and conducted entirely in English.

Price: 50 USD (1.5 hours)

Address: 42 Yanghwa-ro 11-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

3. Makgeolli Brewing Class

Makgeolli is a time-honored Korean alcoholic beverage crafted by fermenting rice. Its rustic charm sets it apart from other Korean alcohols, offering a unique flavor profile that blends subtle sweetness with a touch of tanginess and a hint of bitterness.

The Makgeolli Brewing Class hosted by The Sool Company, is led by local Korean alcohol specialists, equips you with the knowledge and hands-on experience to make your own makgeolli.

In the comprehensive class, you will be able to:

  • Sample homemade makgeolli: Savor the flavors of this unique beverage before diving into the brewing process.

  • Get hands-on: The instructors will guide you through every step, from washing rice to the final filtering stage.

  • Take home your masterpiece: Leave the class with a brewing kit containing all the essentials to recreate your own craft makgeolli.

Price: 75 USD

Address: 229 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

4. Korean Temple Food Cooking Class

Korean Temple Food Cooking Class

Temple food encompasses the daily meals consumed within Buddhist temples. Within these sacred spaces, every aspect, from cultivating vegetables to cooking meals, is considered a fundamental part of spiritual practice. Monks and nuns actively engage in the entire process, expressing gratitude for the efforts involved in food preparation. They adhere to the principle of taking only what is necessary for sustenance, ensuring no food is wasted. This unique approach to food preparation has evolved over centuries, deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy and traditions. Temple food is celebrated for its natural, wholesome qualities, integral to the Buddhist way of life. Today, this 1700-year-old tradition thrives within Korean Buddhist temples, continuing to honor its heritage.

Korean temple food strictly adheres to vegetarian principles, with the exception of dairy products, as Korean Buddhism prohibits the consumption of meat. Rooted in Buddhist teachings emphasizing compassion for all living beings, temple cuisine avoids the use of five pungent vegetables known as "o-shin-chae" – onions, garlic, chives, green onions, and leeks – which could potentially disrupt spiritual practice. This dietary restriction serves to safeguard practitioners from distractions during meditation and fosters detachment from strong flavors that may interfere with their journey towards enlightenment. By embracing these dietary practices, Buddhist monks and nuns exemplify the interconnectedness of all life and strive to create a world founded on harmony and compassion.

If you're interested in learning more, the Korean Temple Food Center hosts cooking classes every Saturday.

Price: 20,000 KRW

Address: 56 Ujeongkuk-ro, Jongno-gu Seoul, South Korea

5. Traditional Korean Tea Etiquette Class

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Korean tradition with the Namsangol Korean Traditional Tea Etiquette Class. This immersive experience offers a delightful blend of cultural exploration and hands-on learning. Learn the art of Korean tea culture as you partake in the exquisite flavors of traditional tea and dasik, authentic pressed sweets. Led by expert instructors, you'll have the opportunity to refine your understanding of tea etiquette, from the meticulous process of making teabags to the delicate art of brewing tea.

Additionally, you'll learn the time-honored techniques for crafting traditional snacks, dasik, adding another layer of authenticity to your cultural immersion.

Price: 15,000 / 20,000 KRW

Address: 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Namsangol Hanok Village)

Cover photo source: Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation

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