street culture

9 Ways I Felt At Home In South Korea

01/31/17 Araceli Cruz

During a recent trip to Seoul, South Korea, I was astonished by how much Koreans love Mexican culture. I must admit that I was a little bit nervous about going to Seoul. With more than 24 million people living there, Seoul is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Would I fit in, or would I have a big “tourist” stamp on my forehead? I didn’t speak the language and never learned to use chopsticks (don’t judge!). But when I heard that one of the most highly rated restaurants in the city was a taco place, I knew I would love it there.

For starters, if you Google “best place to eat in Seoul,” Vatos is high on the list.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

If the name didn’t give it away, it’s a Mexican restaurant. I had fish tacos and carne asada fries and they were so good – and I should know, I’m from Cali. Their classic margarita was also legit.

So how much do Koreans love Mexican food? Check it out — these eateries are everywhere!

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

This is something like the El Pollo Loco of Seoul. You can’t go wrong with Mexican chicken.

And these taco joints are also sprinkled all throughout Seoul.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

I spotted them everywhere. It was hard to eat local Korean food when so many awesome Mexican restaurants were around!

They also have incredible street food. This is a quesadilla/empanada with an egg.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

Lettuce, pork, cheese, and cream. It’s insanely good.

I didn’t see any eloteros, but I found these packaged elotes.

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Araceli Cruz

I found these treats at a convenient store. They’re perfectly packaged, too.

Churros are also a big thing in Seoul.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

They have a huge variety of sizes, different shapes and chocolate dips too!

Not only are Koreans into Mexican food, they also appreciate Mexican-American pop culture. If this Speedy Gonzalez doesn’t prove that, I don’t know what will.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

Koreans are famously known to be fashion trendsetters, and I saw this jacket a cute boutique in the Gangnam District. If you’re not familiar with this uber-cool area, perhaps this pop hit song will make you want to visit.

And I almost died when I caught “La Bamba” on TV.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz


This was a great way to learn a few words in Korean.

They have really great open markets, known to us as swap meets or mercados.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

There are three major open markets in Seoul, which are Namdaemun market, Gwangjang market, and Garak Market. With tons of food, clothing, and products, these swap meets are a great way to get a real taste of local culture. Each one is very different but they all have one thing in common: you can get anything you could ever want at a very good price.

Thanks, Seoul, for making me feel at home. It’s like I never left L.A.

Araceli Cruz
Araceli Cruz

Visiting Seoul made me realize that I shouldn’t be intimidated about experiencing new cultures because surprisingly enough, our commonalities are immense!


READ: 9 Stressful Moments Every Latino Experiences When Traveling With Their Family

Have you traveled lately? Share this story and let us know about your latest adventures abroad in the comment section below. 

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