South Korea has a thriving food delivery system, with several takeaway apps and the streets filled with workers delivering food on scooters constantly.
As a foreigner in South Korea, it can, however, be a bit difficult to order takeout food yourself online, on the phone, or through an app, as most of them are only in Korean, require a Korean bank account, etc. But here is how I made it work!
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To order takeaway food online for delivery as a foreigner, you can use the website Yogiyo on the Chrome browser, which allows you to translate everything to English live. Find your address in Korean letters, paste it into the website, find some food you’d like to order, type in the address again on the payment page, including your room number, and select On-site payment for payment. For more details, see the step-by-step guide below.
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How to order takeaway food online as a foreigner in South Korea
When I traveled to South Korea for the first time in August 2020, I had to quarantine for two weeks in an Airbnb. I, therefore, had no choice but to make food delivery online work.
To make it worse, my payment card did not work in South Korea, and foreign cards cannot be used online at all on Korean websites and apps.
I quickly realized that many of the recommended delivery apps that most Korean residents use were not foreign-friendly, and many were not possible to use without having a Korean bank account, etc.
If you’re a foreigner in South Korea, I recommend using the food delivery website Yogiyo. If you use the website version on the Chrome browser and not their app, you can have the website automatically translated to English.
Here are the specific steps for ordering food online on Yogiyo as a foreigner in South Korea:
- Go to the website version of Yogiyo here.
- Log in to your Kakao Talk account by clicking the “login” button and selecting “Log in with Kakao”. If you don’t already have KakaoTalk, create one, as you’ll need it if you’re staying for a longer period of time.
- Find the address of your accommodation in Korean letters. This can be from information from your host, building management, or simply through Naver Maps or Kakao Maps, and, in some cases, Google Maps.
- Copy and paste your address in Korean letters into the “Search by building name, street name, or lot” field.
- Find a restaurant you’d like to order from the list of restaurants nearby or use the categories.
- Select the food that you wish to order.
- Click the “place an order” button on the right side when you’ve selected the food.
- Type in the full address in Korean letters in the “Enter detailed address” field. If you can find the name of the building of your accommodation, make sure to include that. Many buildings have a name, so it’s easier to identify them. Make sure also to include your room number if it’s a building that anyone can enter.
- If you’re in quarantine or have other information the delivery driver should know, type it into the “Request when ordering” field. But make sure to translate it to Korean letters first. I recommend using Papago for translation.
- Select either the Credit Card or cash payment option under On-site payment. You cannot pay online without a Korean bank account. To choose either of the two On-site payment options, you have to be logged in.
- Click the “make a payment” button on the right side.
- You will now receive a confirmation message on KakaoTalk, and your food will be delivered to you in 30-70 minutes, depending on the restaurant and distance.
From my experience with using Yogiyo, some restaurants will call you after you place an order for some reason. I guess to confirm the order, ask for preference, etc. But I’m not sure. Either way, when they call you, they usually speak Korean only and do not understand when you try to explain in English that you do not speak Korean.
Whenever a restaurant called me after placing an order on Yogiyo, it resulted in them canceling the order, as they did not understand me and I didn’t understand them, probably resulting in them thinking the order was a mistake.
If a restaurant cancels your order, just place a new order from another restaurant. Larger chains usually never called me, and the food just showed up after a while without any contact.
Occasionally, the delivery driver would text me when they were at the building to let me know to come and collect the food (I was able to translate their message into Korean with Papago).
As I was in quarantine at the time, I sent them a message letting them know I couldn’t leave my room, also translated in Papago. Then they brought it to my room. If you’re not in quarantine, you can just go down and collect the food. But often, they simply brought it to my room without me asking.
While it is frustrating if ordering food online doesn’t work for you the first time, just keep trying, and you will eventually successfully get food delivered to you.
It might also be possible to use other delivery apps in South Korea as a foreigner without a Korean bank account, etc., but using Yogiyo was the first service that I found that worked, so I just kept using that.
If you’re looking to use a specific app on your phone to order takeout food, but it is only in Korean, you can use the Papago app to translate screenshots of the delivery apps. While this may take a while, as you’ll probably need to translate many screenshots, it could also work.
If you don’t care what delivery service you’re using, I recommend just using Yogiyo by following the steps above.
That’s how to order delivery food online in South Korea as a foreigner without a Korean bank account!
Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.