No trip to South Korea will be complete without visiting a K-drama filming location. With so many dramas released every year, pretty much every tourist spot in Seoul is a shooting location. However, there are still some hole-in-the-wall spots that you really have to go out of your way just to reach. Such is the restaurant used in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, and it was the first spot we visited for our South Korea trip last spring.
But out of all the Weightlifting Fairy filming locations used for the drama, this was my priority! Watching the show, I could hardly believe that a chicken restaurant could look so pretty so I was surprised to learn that it’s a real restaurant in Seoul. I just had to visit it, and I was glad my sister agreed. So far, it’s my favorite 2017 K-drama, and it was the one that pulled me out of my drama slump. (You can read all about it here if you want, hehe.) I couldn’t visit all its filming sites, but I could fit in at least one. It was more than enough for me because at least a fourth of the series was filmed here!
When I said that it’s out of the way, it’s really out of the way. It’s not a tourist spot and it’s near Kookmin University. However, it’s still pretty easy to reach, and we didn’t even get lost looking for it. But I guess I just have to attribute that to my killer sense of direction, or I can just really sniff out K-drama spots. (Seriously though, every corner in Seoul is fit to be a K-drama filming spot. The city is just that photogenic.)
After quickly dropping off our bags at Hotel Maui DDM, we went straight to Bok Chicken. But of course, it wasn’t really called Bok Chicken but Jak-eun Ma-eul, which I think means Small Town. But please don’t quote me on that.
To get there, we had to ride the subway to Gireum station then hop on a bus that stops at Kookmin University. It felt like a really great day to fangirl about WFKBJ because there was a huge Lee Sung-Kyung Laneige advertisement at the bus stop. We were off to a good start!
From the bus stop, we just had to cross the street to go down the stairs just right across from it. We immediately saw the restaurant going down the stairs and my heart did a couple of flips when I saw it. Just thinking of all my favorite scenes filmed there almost sent me in a panic attack!
At first I had a hard time believing that it’s a real restaurant in Seoul. How can it be so pretty with its exterior walls covered with autumn leaves? But it is real and it was as pretty as it looked in the drama. I bet it would even look more magical during winter, which was the season WFKBJ was filmed.
When we got there, we thought it was close because the door facing the street was closed. And when it opened, we saw a staff (probably the owner!) washing the dishes. Then a man walked out of the side door and apparently it was open. It was already around 2PM that time and we didn’t expect anyone else to be there. But since it was so near a university, some students were having lunch.
However, we did get the place all to ourselves for a couple of minutes when the students left. This allowed us to film a couple of videos, which are too embarrassing to be posted online. A couple more students came in later, though, so we stopped fooling around and waited patiently for our food to be served.
Though they have already pulled down the Bok Chikin sign outside, it was displayed inside the restaurant and we decided to sit next to it. It was the best place inside, no contest.
The inside of the restaurant pretty much looked the same as it was in TV. It looked like a house converted into a restaurant, and I was glad that we had our first lunch in Seoul here. What makes it even more perfect were the traces of Weightlifting Fairy in the place.
There’s a Jae-eun Ma-eul signage with all the signatures of the cast and crew of the show, and there was also a WFKBJ poster. I just had to pose next to it, because I’m not a true shipper if I wouldn’t, hehe. I had to wait for the perfect moment when there were no other patrons, though.
As a side note, as a true blue delusional NamLee shipper, I still believe they are together and you cannot convince me otherwise.
Don’t be disappointed when you don’t see Korean Fried Chicken on the menu. They may be a real restaurant but they have a different menu. It’s all Korean so we got our first fix of hanshik! I had a hard time deciding what to eat because I love Korean food and my main plan for the trip was just to eat every K-food I could get my hands on. The menu was written in Korean, but I believe you can ask for assistance when ordering.
After pondering forever, I decided to have jeyuk deopbap and my sister had kimchi fried rice. She let me pick her food, so I pretty got to choose two for myself. I’m awesome.
As you can see, they weren’t scrimping on the side dishes. There were 9 side dishes, and it was refillable. So yes, I think we got more than our money’s worth. For a meal this good and for servings that huge, the KRW 13,000 we paid was money well spent. We even had cider with that.
My sister couldn’t finished her kimchi fried rice, so being the glutton that I am, I got to finish both dishes myself. I am happy to tell you that I am proud of this accomplishment.
If I had more time to spend in Seoul, I would have loved visiting other Weightlifting Fairy filming locations in and around Seoul. We almost went to Inha University where some scenes were filmed, and I’d even love to visit the random 711 branch Jung Joon-Hyung sat at on my favorite episode, where he used Bok-Joo as a human shield from the water splash, hehe. But for now, visiting one location was enough, and I at least got to visit the most vital one.
If you love watching Korean dramas, cheap but good Korean food, and Instagrammable places, then Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo’s chicken restaurant in Seoul deserves a spot on your itinerary. Try exploring Kookmin University, too! We didn’t get to, but from the looks of it from the outside, it looks beautiful.
Directions to Bok Chicken:
- Take the subway to Gireum Station (Line 4).
- From Girem Station, go out at Exit 3.
- Look for the bus stop just right outside, and then hop on Bus 7211.
- Hop off at the Kookmin University stop.
- Cross the road right across the bus stop
- After crossing the road, go down the stairs and turn left.
- You’ll see Bok Chicken on your right!
For other sights and spots to visit in Seoul, check out my 2017 South Korea Itinerary.