Where to Eat in Yeouido
Each Monday we write about some of the best matjibs in a neighborhood. This week we’re looking at Yeouido [여의도], a corporate hub packed on an island in the Han River. While office workers dominate this business center, they gotta eat too – even if you’re not a white collar worker, Yeouido is worth checking out for its dope parks and delicious food spots.
1. Ha Dong Gwan
This ultra-traditional gomtang [곰탕] spot has been churning out light, comforting, and amazingly flavorful beef soup for 80 years, and I hope they never stop. The menu is limited to two types of gomtang, and suyuk [수육], which I’ve never had. Their original gomtang is deceptively simple – a clear broth, packed with rice at the bottom and topped with a few slices of beef. The special gomtang is basically the same thing, but with tripe and some other beef innards tossed in. The soups are served with a bowl of fresh chopped scallion to add at your discretion. Their stuff is admittedly expensive, starting at 12k a bowl, but it’s easily worth the price considering that Ha Dong Gwan only uses hanoo [한우] beef and that their soup is just unreal. Their kimchi is also unbelievable, and perfectly complements the clear, rich beef flavor of the broth. This place is a must if you’re looking for a gomtang spot that will exceed your expectations of the traditional beef soup.
2. Guh Chang Wang Donkasu
There are few guilty pleasures as satisfying as a good donkasu [동까스]. Guh Chang makes massive fried pork cutlets (hence the “wang,” as in “king”) as well as a slightly rarer fish donkasu. As soon as you order, you’re given a bowl of a creamy potato-ish soup (not really clear what it is, but it’s free), a plate of marinated peppers, radish kimchi, and a cup of light broth with scallions. The donkasu is coated in fine panko, and fried until super crispy. I recommend the jungsik, or lunch platter, which gets you a pork donkasu, a fish donkasu, and a mini hambag steak, all served with rice, salad, and little dollops of marinated stuff for a cool 10,000 won. I’m partial to the fish donkasu, largely because you don’t see it often but also because it’s banging – it comes topped with a spoonful of a wasabi pseudo-tartar sauce. Guh Chang is a definite move for a dank comfort food lunch that won’t break the bank.
3. Kayang Kalguksu
Despite the name, Kayang isn’t famous for your standard kalguksu [칼국수]. Rather, their specialty is bussut maeoon tang [버섯매운탕], or spicy mushroom soup. Before the massive casserole dish of red broth and fresh oyster mushrooms comes over, you’re given the standard banchan, which include an impressively spicy chili seed-flecked kimchi and banging kkaktugi. On the side, fresh uncooked noodles, more like udon than kalguksu, and coriander. If you want, a bowl full of rice, chopped vegetables, kim, and raw egg for the bokkeumbap that you really, really fucking have to make once you’ve devoured this soup. The bussut maeoon tang is peppery and earthy, loaded with vegetables and offset by the chewy fresh noodles you add in. The soup is 9,000 per person, but that includes unlimited rice, noodles, mushrooms, and vegetables that you can add on – basically, unlimited soup. As mentioned, the bokkeumbap is the only way to do the remains of the soup justice. It’s rare to find a mainly vegetable-based soup in Korea, let alone one that’s as dank and satisfying as this one.
4. HeeJung Sikdang
I’m not the biggest budaejjigae spot guy, because the way I see it budaejjigae is basically a ramyun clusterfuck – I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but if I’m gonna eat basically a giant pot of ramyun with different stuff thrown in, I can just use that as an excuse to clean out my fridge at home. But I gotta hand it to HeeJung Sikdang, their budaejjigae is actually something special. The soup base is solid, spicy and lightly fishy, loaded with scallions, strips of at least three different kinds of ham, spam, or whatever, sausages, and of course ramen noodles. There’s fishcake slices, there’s some kind of loose pork meatballs, there’s sliced garaetteok. Yes, it’s a ramyun clusterfuck, but it’s a really good one.
If you’ve checked out any of these spots, let us know what you think. For more neighborhood matjibs, hit our matjib monthly section.
Photo Credits: @kongeunjin