Rating: Very good
Meal: Dinner for 3
Price: 54000 won
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 1 bottle of baekseju (small), perilla samgyetang, black garlic samgyetang, fried pork belly with rice
English Menu: Yes
So...samgyetang is a Korean ginseng chicken soup. It's delicious and we had some for the first time tonight. In Seoul, because we are finally taking a trip over there for a few days. At last...after all the sub-par Korean food in Japan we are going to get to eat the real thing! And if tonight's first meal is anything to go by, it is going to be awesome!
I looked up a few articles on various Korean foods to try while in Korea and samgyetang was on several of them. None of the "best" places are near us, so I asked at the front desk for nearby samgyetang and was told that if we walked out the northern base gate (yes, we are cheating and staying at a hotel on the Yonsang Army base in downtown Seoul) and turned left, we would pass by some kind of official looking Korean army complex, and one of those buildings would have a restaurant in it that specialized in samgyetang. I wasn't so sure...sounded like cafeteria food or something, but we gave it a shot and were pleased to find...a cafeteria like place in the basement of this building that specialized in samgyetang (4 or 5 types)!
|The whole spread...now that's the ticket!|
My wife and I both ordered different types, mine was the black garlic and my wife's was the perilla type. Hers was whiter and more thick like rice porridge. I think we both liked hers better. Turns out black garlic is a bit sweet. In each pot was a small half-chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and a few pieces of ginseng. It was really hot and stayed hot the entire time. The meat was just falling off the bones and it was really easy to eat with the metal chopsticks, taking bits out and tossing the bones in the provided bucket. It was slow going though.
The best part though was all the extras! I'm always so annoyed at Japanese Korean restaurants because they hardly give you anything extra and that's like *basic* to the meal! There were two types of kimchi (cabbage and daikon), as well as a plate of 3 green chili peppers, raw onions, lettuce leaves and whole Korean shiso leaves (very distinct in flavor from Japanese shiso).
My son ordered some pork belly that they cooked up for him and he ate that with some rice. Of course we made him eat some lettuce much to his dismay.
Oh I almost forgot, I saw a poster with a bottle of baekseju which I had had years and years ago in the US. I ordered one and my wife and I drank it between the two of us. It's about 13% so between the two of us it was just enough.
Overall we were thrilled and can't wait to eat more new and delicious foods while we are here! More to come...