Seoul Food: Bali in Mangwon
Bali in Mangwon
It’s no secret that Bali is high on my list of places to sink my teeth into once my final contract in Korea is complete. I had no idea I’d get my wish so quickly (and literally) this Chuseok vacation! Bali in Mangwon is a “Surfer-made Balinese food & drink” stop a hop, skip, and a jump away from Mangwon Market in Mapo. Years ago I read how getting stuck in Mapo meant you were far from the heart of Seoul. Now that The Soul of Seoul has so kindly shown me around, Mapo may just have stolen my heart (and Seoul).
Hallie owns and operates The Soul of Seoul as a blog and runs tours of the city (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). Thankfully, as a friend and fellow dreamy cafe-lover, I got the best of what was open in Mangwon during the holiday! According to Hallie, Bali in Mangwon constantly has a line right out the door. When we passed by there were a couple of groups waiting for it to open, so we stuck around too and got the first table.
The interior of Bali in Mangwon has calm, beachy vibes. It’s entirely different from the weathered feel of the side-street on which it’s located. Mangwon is full of personality. Tons of street art and colourful walls brighten up the area.
Bali in Mangwon Menu
Having eaten my weight in Nasi Goreng on my summer vacation to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I was eager to give it a go in Seoul. Everything sounded right up my alley translating what I could understand from their primarily Hangeul menu. The server spoke English pretty well and Hallie’s Korean is far superior to mine, so we went ahead and ordered based on recommendations. We ordered the Nasi Goreng with Chicken, Padang Ayam Green Curry, and Bakwan Jagung. I had never tried Balinese food, but the menu seemed to be a perfect combination of Malaysian and Thai flavours. Certain menu items are only available for dinner, so visit during the evening seating if you want beef!
How good does that fried egg look? We cracked the yolk and went to town mixing it into the spicy fried rice loaded with fried garlic slices, hot peppers, green onions, chicken, and cilantro. This was my favourite dish from lunch, although everything we ate was pretty fantastic. Indonesian Nasi Goreng is totally different from Malaysian Nasi Goreng. There were no fried anchovies (thank goodness!) and the dish came already prepared with the sauce mixed in. It wasn’t a super saucy like in Malaysia. I loved how all the spices danced together!
Padang Ayam Green Curry
Hallie and I agree that we could eat curry every day of the week and never grow bored. This mild green curry was full of pineapple, eggplant, bay leaves, thick cut ginger, and chicken piled high with lettuce, cilantro, and fried garlic slivers. The chip on top is a prawn cracker (thanks, Paul H). I’ve been having a bad string of luck with seafood in Korea giving me irritated skin, so Hallie gave it a go. She wasn’t sure whether it was a fish cake or pork skin, so the flavour was pretty mild. Rice accompanies this entree, so no need to order a side. If you’re not a fan of heat I’d go for this option!
Full disclosure, we only ordered this side because of the peanut sauce. I assumed because it was served with peanut sauce that it would be a satay dish. We were pleasantly surprised by the fried corn fritters. They were gone in a heartbeat and (what a travesty) we didn’t even finish the incredible, creamy peanut sauce! The only downside of this dish was that it took forever to arrive. The food isn’t exactly prepared quickly at Bali in Mangwon – don’t arrive as ravenous as we did!
Contact/ Directions to Bali in Mangwon
- Hours: Monday – Saturday 12 PM – 3 PM, 5 PM – 10 PM
- Phone Number: 02-336-0527
- Address: Mangwon-dong 394-86, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04017
- Instagram: @Bali_in_Mangwon
Bali in Mangwon
Next time you’re looking for international eats do yourself a favour and get out of Itaewon and over to Mapo. There is plenty of amazing Korean street food at Mangwon Market. The surrounding area has tons of cafes, Makgeolli and Pajeon joints, KBBQ, and Dalkgalbi as you’ll see in the video below. Beyond Korean food, there is Bali in Mangwon and a Laotian restaurant down the road I’ll have to go back and try soon. Mangwon is such a lively area – get out and explore… with no fear of Bali Belly!
Do you have a favourite Mangwon eatery we can try next? Let us know in the comments!