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[Gourmet Restaurants Series 11] Bukchang-dong, Offering a Taste of the Past

 

Bukchang-dong is located behind the Seoul Plaza Hotel, nearby Namdaemun market and large corporate buildings. The famous restaurant area of Bukchang-dong first began with a few restaurants selling meat, rice, and liquor to workers from nearby offices, and to this day, restaurants in the area, whose names are takeoffs of businesses, like “Samsung” and “Hyundai,” are crowded during lunch and dinner time. Most of them are small and shabby, but they have served their loyal clientele for many decades.

Bukchang-dong is utterly transformed at night when entertainment establishments with their bright neon signs open for business. It is best to visit before the sun sets to enjoy the delicious dishes offered locally. Most of these restaurants are closed on Sundays and holidays since their main customers are business people working in the close vicinity.

▒“Jeonju Yu (柳) Grandmother’s Bibimbap” – A Dish Prepared with Great Care

An elderly woman from Jeonju has been making mouth-watering and highly nutritious bibimbap (rice with assorted vegetables) since 1961.
An order of bibimbap includes a hearty helping of steamed rice topped with an assortment of vegetables including spinach, shredded radish, parsley, bean sprouts, and pyogo mushroom. All you have to do is add gochujang (thick soypaste mixed with red pepper) and sesame oil to suit your taste, and mix. This restaurant’s popularity lies with the fact that it uses only the freshest ingredients, and prepares its own gochujang and sesame oil. Gochujang is a mixture of powered red pepper, salt, and fermented soybean powder, which is fermented for one year. The most sought-after lunchtime dishes are bibimbap and kongnamul gukbap (rice cooked with bean sprouts), and a popular dinner meal is samgyeopsal (Korean-style bacon).
TIP: Cleanse your palate with refreshing radish kimchi after eating your bibimbap!
Detailed information>
☞ Business hours: 07:00~22:00
☞ Closed: National holidays
☞ Phone: (02) 752-9282
☞ Specialty Menu: Bibimbap 7,000 won, Kongnamul Gukbap 5,000 won, Galbi Samgyeopsal 11,000 won,
Cheongyeopsal: 10,000 won
☞ Directions: Take Seoul subway line no. 1 or 2, and get off at City Hall. Go out of exit 8, and you’ll see a crosswalk. Cross at the crosswalk, walk straight for about 80 meters, and then turn right at the second alley (On the left corner is a photo studio with a sign that says “QS”). Go straight, and after you pass an intersection, you will see the restaurant on the left.

▒ “Masan Place” – Just the Place to Enjoy Delicious Soegogi Gukbap and Modeumjeon

Masan Place is a well-known restaurant located in Bukchang-dong, which is frequented by high-profile officials, including Former President, Roh Moo-hyun. Since it opened in 1971, the same cook has prepared delicious meals. The restaurant was named after the proprietor from Masan, who ran the place during the early years of the business. Her nephew is now carrying on the family tradition.
The most popular dishes include Soegogi Gukbap (boiled rice with beef) and modeumjeon (assorted pan-fried delicacies). Soegogi Gukbap is made by simmering beef shank bones and brisket in water for many hours for a rich hearty flavor. Plenty of radishes are added to enhance the taste. Modeumjeon includes pan-fried oysters, peppers, fish, pyogo mushrooms, and pumpkin. The oysters are especially delicious. Modeumjeon is also a good choice as an appetizer along with drinks.

TIP: Soegogi Gukbap is made with brisket rather than clotted cow’s blood, making it more palatable for female customers.
Detailed information>
☞ Business hours: 11:30~22:00
☞ Closed: Weekends and holidays
☞ Phone: (02) 752-2415
☞ Specialty Menu: Sogogi Gukbap 6,000 won, Modeumjeon 17,000 won, Agujjim (Spicy steamed angler fish) (Medium-sized fish) 30,000 won
☞ Directions: Take Seoul subway line 1 or 2, and get off at City Hall where you should go out exit 8. Once you are out of the subway station, you’ll see a crosswalk. Cross over, go straight for about 50 meters, and then turn right at the first alley (between a pharmacy and Dunkin Doughnuts). Go straight for about 90 meters until you reach a diagonal intersection. Take a left at the intersection, and walk until you see a small alley on the right. Continue through the alley where you will see a traditional Korean house.

▒ “Hyundai Kalguksu” – You’ll Love the Thick Broth

Hyundai Kalguksu is a kalguksu (handmade noodle soup) restaurant that has been in the family for two generations (1982). The restaurant is extremely popular among people working at nearby business, thanks to the rich flavor of the broth. Anchovies, dried pollack heads, and kelp are simmered for many hours, and then, other ingredients are added: soft noodles and various vegetables including pumpkin, onion, and green onions. The restaurant is famous for its exquisite-taste of kalguksu, as well as for its large servings. Just one bowl is enough to satisfy a starving man, but if you are still hungry, don’t hesitate to ask for more rice or noodles for free. Another unforgettable specialty here is kimchi. You will also be able to enjoy geotjeori (freshly made kimchi) and kkakdugi (sliced white-radish kimchi), which is fermented for about three days.

TIP: If you like spicy food, don’t forget to add some cheongyanggochu (spicy red pepper)!
Detailed information>
☞ Business hours: 09:00~21:00 (Saturday 09:00~19:00)
☞ Closed: Sundays and holidays
☞ Phone: (02) 752-9504
☞ Specialty Menu: Kalguksu 5,000 won, Stuffed dumplings boiled in water 5,500 won
☞ Directions: Take subway line 1 or 2 and get off at City Hall. Go out exit 8. Once you are out of the subway station, you’ll see a crosswalk. Cross at the crosswalk and walk straight for about 50 meters. Then turn right at the first alley between a pharmacy and Dunkin Doughnuts. Go straight for about 90 meters until you reach a diagonal intersection. As soon as you take a right at the intersection, there will be a small alley on the left. Go through the alley and you will soon see the restaurant. 。

▒ “Samsung Charcoal-Grilled Food” – Come Enjoy the Spicy Meat

This restaurant has been famous for its charcoal-grilled food since 1972, and is especially well known for its spicy seasoning made from powdered red pepper, garlic, and ginger. Pork is mixed with the seasoning, giving it the characteristic red color and unique flavor, and then grilled over hot coals. While it is popular among Koreans who like spicy food, it might be a bit too hot for foreigner customers.
Other dishes include jumulleok (grilled seasoned meat) and donggeurangttaeng (meat patties). Jumulleok is made by seasoning fresh meat whereas donggeurangttaeng is made by cutting the frozen meat into small pieces, and then marinating it.
Older adults usually prefer jumulleok, while the young prefer donggeurangttaeng.

TIP: Make sure to wear one of the aprons, which is next to each table to protect your clothing while you are grilling the meat.
Detailed information>
☞ Business hours: 11:00~23:30
☞ Closed: Every other Sundays
☞ Phone: (02) 752-6449
☞ Specialty Menu: Jumulleok: 10,000 won; Donggeurangttaeng: 9,000 won
☞ Directions: Take subway line 1 or 2, and get off at City Hall. Then go out exit 8. Once you are out of the subway station, you’ll see a crosswalk. Take the crosswalk, go straight for about 50 meters, and then turn right at the first alley (between a pharmacy and Dunkin Doughnuts). Go straight for about 90 meters until you reach a diagonal intersection. Once you pass the intersection, you will see the restaurant on the right. Across from the restaurant is a bar named “Monalisa.”

▒ “Abaisundae” – Experience the Taste of Hamgyeongdo-style Sundae

Among the various types of abai sundae (sundae is sausage made from bean curd and bean sprouts stuffed into pig intestine), this restaurant is where you can try out sundae made from large intestine. The large intestine is at the end of the pig’s digestive tract, and is thicker and much shorter than the small intestine. Abai sundae is made by stuffing plenty of glutinous rice, Chinese noodles, clotted cow’s blood, onions, and garlic into the large intestine. (The intestines are washed repeatedly with rock salt beforehand to reduce its characteristic odor). Older adults prefer abai sundae, which brings back old memories, while young people prefer deluxe sundae made from the small intestines. It is also possible to order half orders of each. Koreans usually season sundae with salt and salted shrimp before they eat it. If you order sundae, you can also get a chance to enjoy soup made of simmered pork shank bones.

TIP: The term abai, which means father, is from the Hamgyeongdo dialect in North Korea. Abai sundae is Hamgyeongdo-style sundae.
Detailed information>
☞ Business hours: 09:00~22:30
☞ Closed: 24 hours open
☞ Phone: (02) 752-7982
☞ Specialty Menu: Abai sundae 15,000 won,
Sundae soup 5,000 won, Kongbiji (bean curd soup) 5,000 won
☞ Directions: Take subway line 1 or 2, and get off at City Hall. Then go out exit 8. Once you are out of the subway station, you’ll see a crosswalk. Take the crosswalk, and then take a right, and go straight for about 30 meters (past Outback). Take the first alley on the left, where you will see the restaurant.
▒ Map of Bukchang-dong
* The above information is subject to change after October 2009.
Date 10/08/2009



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