So You Don't Feel Like Spending Anju Money
Oh shit, it’s bul geum!! Fire Friday is the weekly holiday where everyone’s off work and tryna turn up for the weekend, and at Hamburo, we’re all about it. To facilitate your debauchery, we’re featuring a drinking spot each week to fit into one of the rounds of your night. Or, you could just grab some green bottles at a convenience store and get slammed in an alley. That’s on you fam.
There’s drinking, and then there’s money. Often times in life, these two entities clash. We want to drink. Maybe we even want to drink a lot. But we don’t want to spend money. And we definitely don’t want to spend a lot.
While Korean sul jib [술집] culture is fun as fuck and a little classier than drinking on the street (if that kind of thing matters to you), these days the experience can get pricy. Soju’s starting to rack up to 5 Gs a bottle, and no sul jib imo [이모] in their right mind is gonna let you leave without ordering some anju [안주] (they gotta pay rent too y’all). Do a couple of rounds of this at different spots, especially in neighborhoods known for partying, and you can end up with a real light wallet by the morning.
In comes Amatna Super [아맛나 슈퍼]. You may have seen one of these around, because while it started with one or two locations only a couple of years ago, they’ve been expanding like crazy. I applaud their success, and it’s not surprising, because they’re giving the people what they want: reasonably priced soju and dirt-cheap anju.
Green bottles and 500cc’s of beer are each 4,000, which is pretty average for a sul jib. But the anju though?? Back in the day (last year), their menu was organized by price; one section was ₩5,900, one was ₩4,900, and then all the way down to ₩2,900. The menu isn’t like that anymore, but the prices are similarly ridiculous. While there are a few things in the 8-10k range, the majority of anju are below the 5,900 mark, with a lot at 2,900. 2,900! C’mon son.
If you’re suspicious how they get away with this, I don’t blame you. First of all, these portions aren’t huge. But they’re perfect if you’re trying to drink more than eat, and just need something to snack on between shots. A lot of it is basic fried stuff, and then they have stuff like okonomiyaki [오꼬노미야끼], dried fish [취포], joen [전], and your standard jjigaes [찌개] and tangs [탕]. Is it really incredible quality? Absolutely not. But what do you expect? They’re charging you 3,900 for a joen. A lot of it is decent, even pretty good, and realistically if you order their yook hwe [육회] (yeah, they do actually have yook hwe) you’re just not being smart.
Their fries, onion rings, tang su yuk [탕수육], etc. are all a good move, as are their stews. They have a pretty cool dish that I’ve never seen anywhere else called mul mandu joen [물만두전], where they basically take a bunch of tiny steamed dumplings and pour a thin layer of egg-y batter over it so it forms a pancake. Fun! And cheap. Real fucking cheap.
The ability to pregame, postgame, or just game game like a monster at this spot isn’t the only draw. Their theme, as the name suggests, is that it’s decorated like an old school Korean super market. The interior is a mix of rustic and kitsch, and at the cash register they sell old-fashioned Korean candies. The ambience is really cool, and the whole thing is a throwback to a time when hitting the drinking spots in Korea was a no-nonsense deal.
Honestly, go here when you’re trying to start or continue a rowdy night. This is definitely not the spot for a date or a chill evening of soju sipping.
As mentioned, there are locations all over Seoul and their website suggests that their expansion isn’t stopping any time soon. I’ve only been to the Hongdae one, but I have friends who say the others are consistent.
Get a few bottles, get a couple anju, save a bunch of money, then spend it on the cab home in the morning. Have fun and be safe out there y’all.
Let us know what you think about this spot or what we said about it. For another article like this, check out next week’s Fire Friday feature about a dope craft beer spot.
Photo credits: amatna.co.kr, @limi415, @taehyeong_hh, @dorothy9267_j