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2.248 Mandu Jeon-Gol

-Cycle 2, Item 248-
10 (Sat) September 2011

-Korean-
Mandu Jeon-Gol

3.5

at Seolmae-Ne (설매네)

-Sinsa, Seoul-

with Wife, Dominic, and the In-Laws

I've discussed jeon-gol (전골) and mandu jeon-gol before (see generally 1.067 Mandu Jeon-Gol).

This is one of my all-time favorite haunts, a humble establishment that focuses on a handful of classic dishes and does them very well.  It's not a norther restaurant in name, but the simplistic style suggests that the owner or chef has some inclinations in that direction.  On weekdays, it's always packed with old men who look like they don't tolerate a lot of bullshit.

I've come to observe that old Korean men are the most reliable bellwethers of good old-school Korean restaurants.  It's a cultural phenomenon that I attribute to 3 factors.  First, working Koreans regularly eat dinner right after work with their colleagues and/or clients, as opposed to going home for dinner. Second, a work-related dinner is often a drawn out affair that involves food and booze in copious amounts, both in terms of volume and variety, best served one plate and one bottle at a time so as to facilitate conversation and bonding.  And finally, up until recently, men constituted the majority of the workforce.  Thus, old Korean men, with decades of experience, know where to go for good eats and drinks at reasonable prices in a relaxed atmosphere.  Any Korean restaurant packed exclusively with old men on a weeknight is guaranteed to be good.  I'm calling this the "Ajeossi Bellwether Standard" ("ajeossi" = "old man").

The restaurant is located in the basement of nondescript building
one block from Exit 3 of Apgujeong Station.

I hadn't been here in years, but I was happy to discover tonight that the food was as excellent as I'd remembered.  The broth of the jeon-gol was perfectly clear and yet rich in beef flavor. Definitely worth 25,000 won.  And their nokdu bindae jeon (녹두빈대전) (see photo below) was gorgeous and crispy and tasty.  Definitely worth 18,000 won.  My only regret was that we weren't all that hungry at 6:00 PM, so we didn't order more.

Get a look at those crusts.

Address: Seoul Gangnam-Gu Sinsa-Dong 609-1 (서울시 강남구 신사동 609-1)

5 comments:

  1. 여기 나도 예전에 가봤음~....맛있었음...ㅋ

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  2. "old Korean men are the most reliable bellwethers of good old-school Korean restaurants."

    most definitely. Especially places that serve dishes that are supposedly good for your "stamina"

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  3. i'll be sure to discuss stamina the next time i have eel. thanks for the reminder.

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  4. 18,000 won seems like a lot for bin dae dduk even if it's really good - is that the going rate??

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  5. @Lisa: 18,000 for 2, and each are huge. i don't think there's really a "going rate," since bindae ddeok can be found at streetside carts as well as chichi restaurants. but i didn't feel that these were very expensive, especially since they're so good.

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