by Ashley Heil
Being pork lovers, samgeyopsal is one of our favorite Korean foods. However, sometimes the standard samgyeopsal that you get at a lot of Korean BBQ restaurants can become boring. A few months ago we started going to a new Crossfit gym in Hongdae, and we asked the owner what were some of his favorite restaurants in the area. He immediately told us to go to Dojeok (도적) for some awesome samgyeopsal, as it’s his favorite place for it in Seoul. So, that night we went. Over the past few months, we’ve continued to go back to this restaurant regularly and been amazed every time. We’ve brought Korean and foreign friends and they have loved it as well. This samgyeopsal is amazing. We have tried their traditional (plain) samgeyopsal, and it is great. It’s extremely tender, and one of our favorite for traditional samgyeopsals in Seoul. Sometimes while eating samgyeopsal you bite into those little hard pieces of cartilage that totally ruin a perfectly delicious bite, but you don’t get those here. Our favorite thing at this restaurant is the Gochujang samgyeopsal (13,000). I have to admit that the pictures don’t do this dish justice, it is hands down are favorite samgyeopsal in Seoul. The meat comes out marinated already and the servers help you cook it. The meal is also served with various raw veggies, such as carrots and sweet potato sticks that you can cook on the grill to enjoy alongside the meat. You also get the usual various lettuce wraps and garlic pieces, and a side of delicious doenjang jjigae (I just love this soup!). But it’s the meat that stands out here. The gochujang marinade is delicious and goes perfectly with the meat, but doesn’t have an overly powerful taste. The meat is good by itself or in the lettuce wraps. If you’re looking for a barbeque restaurant to go to in the Hongdae/Sangsu area, definitely give this place a try!
Come out of Sangu station exit 1.
Walk straight until you get to the first big street on your right.
Turn right on this street and walk along the left hand side.
When you see the Babeans coffee on your left, turn left on that street and the restaurant is across from it.
by Michael Jones
I love Burgers, I guess I’m not helping dispel American stereotypes, and yesterday I found a great burger. The shop is called 별버거 and it’s located in the Sangsu area. I've also seen it mentioned as Star Burger on reviews because of the star symbol on their sign. Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of burger places in Seoul and although there are some good ones, oftentimes they are either too expensive, small, or both. What I miss about the burgers back home is the focus on the essentials. I miss perfectly grilled burger patties, baked in house buns, American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, and juicy tomato. These simple ingredients done well combine to make one of the greatest foods on the planet. I don’t want a wildly expensive burger with a sprinkle of truffles and some rare cheese that leaves me ravenous. I want a greasy, simple mess that spills all over the place and makes you close your eyes it’s so good. This is the type of burger I found yesterday. It’s extremely delicious, cheap, and easy to get to. We are in the Sangsu area a lot because or gym is there and we’re always on the lookout for something new to eat. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of Bibimbap since we found a place that serves it buffet style for only 5,000 won. I will do a review of this place soon, but despite the phenomenal deal, I can only handle rice, veggies, and eggs for so long before I snap. So when we walked by this little unassuming burger place and I saw the prices I figured it would be worth a try. The place is small, there are about 12 seats, and it’s decorated in Americana. The smell of baking burger buns was intoxicating and this made us hopeful for the burger. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the double with bacon (8,800) and Ashley enjoyed the single cheeseburger with a fried egg for (6,800). The stock prices without extras like bacon and the fried eggs, were (7800) for the double and (5300) for the single with no cheese (5800 with cheese). I heard this place used to be slightly more expensive. These are the best prices for a good burger we’ve come across in Seoul. We also ordered fries, and they were very good, but the portion size was a little too small (2,500). The burger, however, was extraordinary. The bun was golden brown, warm, and slightly crunchy. The patties, Australian beef I believe, were juicy and perfectly seasoned, the cheese was gooey, the bacon was crispy and full of flavor, and the tomatoes and lettuce tasted fresh. I made a mess while I ate it, but it was a beautiful mess. The burger left me full and I will definitely be a frequent customer. For the price, I would say this is my favorite burger place. It’s a great version of the classic, no frills, American burger.
Sangsu Station Exit 1
Walk straight out of the exit for about 2-3 minutes
The shop will be on your right. On the sign there is a star symbol and then the word burger, but its real name is 별버거 ;)
by Michael Jones.
Gamjatang (감자탕) is a delicious soup made with tender chunks of pork, pork spine to be specific, potatos, sprouts, rice cake, onions, and other vegetables. The broth is a rich dark red color from the boiled peppers and is extremely flavorful. The flavor from the spices mixing with the fat from the pork is otherworldly. The bean paste, chili powder, and garlic accentuate the rich flavors of the pork perfectly. This is hands down one of our favorite dishes and we are always on the lookout for new Gamjatang restaurants. This week we found a new place that serves some great Gamjatang near Sangsu station. This place is one of our favorites. The place has been open since the 1980s, longevity is always a good sign in a highly competitive market like Seoul, and that's because they serve some mouth watering soup. Another bonus is that Su Bong Gamjatang (수봉 감자탕) does not abuse the salt. Some places use far too much and the salt dominates the other ingredients. For the money (33,000 won), split between 3 people, I've never seen more chunks of pork. There was at least 7 or 8 huge pieces and the meat was perfectly cooked. The tender strips came right off the bone. It was a large serving and the perfect amount to share with friends. Next time you visit the Sangsu area you should give Su Bong Gamjatang (수봉 감자탕) a try.
Directions/Address: 서울 마포구 어울마당로 56
Here is the easiest way to get here: Come out of Sangsu station exit 1
Walk down the road a little ways and turn right on 어울마당로.
Walk down this road about 300 meters and Subong Gamjatang will be on your right.
Let's face it, Asian countries make the best soups on the planet. From the many different soups and stews of Korea, to Japanese Ramen, and last but not least, Vietnamese Pho, the soups in Asia are fantastic. I'm always on the lookout for new places to try these dishes, and a few days ago I found one. While exploring the area around Sangsu station with my girlfriend, our senses were ensnared by the intoxicating smell of rich broth wafting through the street. The smell was so wonderful we had to check it out. We ate the Pho there and loved it so much, we had to go back with friends. The first time, I ordered the well-done flank steak Pho (7500 won) and the second time I ordered the chicken Pho (8500 won), and the fried spring rolls (5500 won). First, I noticed the incredible taste, but I was also thrilled by the size. I'm a big guy (90+kilos), and after a hard work-out session the soup still made me feel full. That is no small feat. The broth was rich, but not over-powering. The noodles were the perfect consistency, and the meat was tender. For the money I think the steak Pho is a better deal than the chicken Pho because of the amount of meat in the soup. The fried spring rolls were mind-blowing, and I could eat them all day. The outside layer was perfectly fried and not burnt at all. The outside was flaky, and perfectly golden brown, while the inside was moist, and packed with flavor. Also available at Little Papa is Banh Mi sandwiches, fried rice topped with egg, noodle dishes, and Vietnamese beer. The interior was small but inviting, and from the open kitchen, you could smell incredible things cooking while you wait. The service was also great and fast. If you want some delicious Pho, then you should visit Little Papa.
Directions: From Sangsu station exit 1, make a u-turn.
Walk straight until you see Paik's coffee on your left.
Immediately, take a left and walk straight 3-5 minutes.
Little papa will be on your right.
by Michael Jones
My relationship with chicken has improved since moving to South Korea. I used to hate the stuff, sure I enjoyed Chick-fil-A and the occasional bucket of fried chicken, but most of the chicken I ate was of the healthy kind: grilled, flavorless, slabs of white meat with the consistency of rubber. A great part of this was due to my lack of culinary skills, but when I lived in America I never craved chicken. In Seoul, however, my appetite for chicken has skyrocketed. I crave the flaky fried batter, tender meat, and the perfect assortment of dipping sauces and cheap beer. Despite my love for Korean fried chicken, sometimes I need to try different styles. Yesterday, I stumbled upon a small Jamaican themed restaurant called Zion Boat. The restaurant is located on the second floor and the interior is decorated in Bob Marley posters and reggae memorabilia. The speakers blared Bob Marley, of course, and other lesser known reggae artists. The lighting was dark, and one man cooked in a tiny kitchen. I was excited to try some Jamaican Jerk chicken. I figured it would be good, at the very least a welcome change from fried chicken, but it was far better than that. One serving of the boneless jerk chicken cost about 19,500 and was made with one whole chicken and serves two people. While waiting, you get a small wooden bowl of Korean beer snacks, an assortment of small crunchy things that I can never remember the name of. I was hungry and counting down the seconds. I didn’t have to wait long. The chicken was served on a big plate and complemented by a large house salad. It was more food than I was expecting, and it was delicious. The chicken was incredibly flavorful. The jerk seasoning was strong, spicy, and slightly sweet with just the right amount of heat. The sauce that came on the side was thick and tasted similar to the seasoning on the chicken, but slightly stronger. In a place where most chicken is deep fried, it was nice enjoying a different variety. The chicken was cooked perfectly and it was tender and moist, the polar opposite of the dry and tasteless chicken of my childhood. The whole experience was great and I would not hesitate going back. If you are in the mood for something different, I strongly recommend trying Zion Boat in Sangsu.
Go to Sangsu Station and take exit #1
Walk straight out of the exit
Continue walking for 5-10 minutes
Walk through the intersection @ Dokmak Ro 7 Gil
Then turn right immediately before the Hyundai store
At the first intersection take a left
Then take the first right onto Yanghwa Ro 6 Gil (Across the street from Dessert 39)
In about a minute, Zion Boat will be on your left
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!