If you enjoy Korean food, you must make your way to this cute little restaurant hidden just off from the main road, Beon Yeong-ro in Seongnam-dong (old downtown/Jung-gu), serving up a touch of nostalgia with your meal. With only six items on their menu, you are sure not to be disappointed with your traditional Korean feast with an array of Kim Chi (side dishes). There are so many though that this is definitely somewhere that I suggest you take at least one friend so that all the sides are not wasted.
Shoes must be left at the door, and once inside, you will feel a little like you may have stepped into your own little DeLorean. Charming and charismatic, the decor reflects the restaurant’s exterior. Unfortunately, I will only be able to bring my husband back at a time where he feels a little more limber than usual as there is only the traditional floor seating available.
Since I was dining solo, I chose the cheapest item on the menu (the fourth item, 대표정식돌솥밥 dae-pyo-jeong-sig-dol-sot-bap at 11,000 Won per person) hoping that firstly, it was edible, and secondly, that it would not be too much for me to finish. It was definitely edible, however far far too much for me to finish. I have been told that the first three listed items on the menu are basically the same thing, however at different budgets. I am guessing that at 32,000 Won per person for the top menu item, that you will receive a whole lot of meats and seafood. For 13,000 Won per person, you can have 갈비찜 gal-bi-jjim (beef stew – one of my favourites), and at 14,000 per person, 갈치찜 gal-chi-jjim which I believe is a spicy fish stew. There is no English menu, however, it is easy enough to pick up a business card from the counter which has their menu items listed on the back and give your good old pointer finger a work out.
돌솥밥 Dol-sot-bap – 11,000 Won
With my meal, I received fourteen different side dishes, three types of soups and a small fried fish. My rice was infused with red bean and pumpkin, which was not over powering. I am not a massive fan of red bean usually, however this was pleasantly mild and a nice accompaniment to all the different Kim Chi I had in front of me. The fish was lovely and fresh, and to be honest, I could have done with a bigger portion.
After serving my meal, and me sitting there not really knowing where to start, the waitress was kind enough to show me how it was supposed to be done. At this stage, I had already poured the milky soup in the brown pot into the empty bowl (how embarrassing!). The lady was lovely, and I thought it was cute that she was trying not to laugh at me for not knowing how to eat the meal. She poured the milky soup back into the brown clay pot, then scooped all of my rice out of the stone pot into the empty bowl, THEN she poured the milky soup into the stone pot that my rice came in and put the lid back on it. The milky soup is quite bland and tasteless, however did serve as a pleasant palate cleanser between selecting which side dish I was going to eat next.
I also learnt that the cold wet towels that they give you are to be used to take the hot lids off the stone bowls and not so much for wiping your face or mouth – I know, who would have thought, right?
Beef Rib Stew – Gal-bi-jim
Seafood Pancake – Hae-mul-pa-jeon
This is a definite must try if you truly want to embrace the korean culture and food. I can’t tell you all how much I enjoyed my dining experience here, and I will definitely be back to give the other items on the menu a go. Now, to derive a plan to get my husband to entertain the idea of sitting on the floor for a meal.
Enter either of the following addresses into Google Maps for directions by foot, road or bus.
Address: 5 Okgolsaem2-gil, Jung-gu, Ulsan, South Korea
Alternative address: 168-2 Haksan-dong, Jung-gu, Ulsan, South Korea
Phone: (052) 246-2352