1차, 2차 (1st, 2nd round) @ Sookmyung Women’s University District (Yongsan-gu, Seoul)

These days, I find myself hanging out in different pockets of Seoul to meet friends and to simultaneously exhaust all the great restaurants in that neighborhood. First, it was Bongcheon-dong and the surrounding hoods when I got back from Jeju, then it was back n forth from Hongdae to Itaewon, and now I find myself near the Sookmyung Women’s University area. And like most universities in Seoul – populated with impressionable and hungry college students – there are tons of worthy establishments that fit the bill for delicious food, spirited drinks, and a lively, late-night atmosphere. These two places that I recently went to are such examples: a franchised makgeolli pub called Cassette Sooljip and a popular yang gochi (aka lamb skewer) Chinese-style restaurant with a name that’s too long to write in English (no, really, it’s that long). Both are a short walk from each other, making it an ideal 1차, 2차 (1st n 2nd round) combination that most Koreans like to adhere to when enjoying a night out with friends or colleagues. Excluded is the most popular (and usually last) round featuring a visit to the local noraebang (karaoke room) because, sad to admit, I can’t sing worth a lick. 🙁

Getting to the point, both were solid places offering quality food and drinks in their own unique settings. Cassette Sooljip has a quaint, intimate vibe, perfect for a post-date (or the date itself) drinking session with plenty of regional makgeolli (fermented rice wine) and a wide range of anju at your disposal. In fact, there were so many makgeolli to choose from that my friend and I decided to do a taste test as a reference for future visits. Here are the notes in original form written on my e-notepad: Kyungbuk Chilgok Shindong Makgeolli 경북 칠곡 신동막걸리 – healthy, crisp, natural, clean, noticeable alcohol content; Choongnam Dangjin Hayan Kkot Baekryun Makgeolli 충남 당진 하얀 꽃 백련막걸리 – fruity, crisp, tart, zip; Jipyung Makgeolli 지평 – milky, creamy, light, soft, sweet. All drinks were recommended by the owner and they didn’t disappoint. The two dishes that we ordered – Bindaetteok (Mung Bean Pancake) and Ojingeo Soondae (Squid Stuffed Blood Sausage) – were both delicious and paired perfectly with our makgeolli. One caveat is the wait time for the food. It seemed to take forever to get our food (say 15, 20 minutes), but personally that didn’t bother me since that usually means it’s made to order, not pre-made and simply reheated. Overall, a solid choice for those who like quality makgeolli and anju in a clean and semi-modern atmosphere.

For the 2nd round, my friend and I walked over to a well-known yang gochi restaurant. Although it was my first time eating lamb, lamb skewers had never really appealed to me because (1) I wanted to avoid turning/cooking the skewers myself (2) the meat’s essentially unseasoned and the portions looked child-like (3) it’s just lamb, a type of lean meat that I’m not particularly fond it (4) the top yang gochi restaurants are standardized, meaning they’re practically all the same in terms of presentation and style. How is this place different than others, you ask? It’s not that much different. The lamb skewers (10,000 won per person) come out unseasoned and portions are relatively small, has the same dry seasoning as other places, and annoyingly takes a while to cook despite having an automatic turner that cooks the meat for you. Despite these hiccups, this is one my favorite 2차 spots because of their very impressive cold bottles of Tsingtao – which come out wonderfully and partially frozen – and their lamb that basically cooks down like jerky. I  love jerky. The no-frills atmosphere and mostly Korean descent Chinese staff also gives the restaurant a unique, authentic vibe. The menu is quite extensive here so don’t limit yourselves to the skewers. That is, of course, you like lamb jerky. 🙂

 

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

 

Cassette Sooljip (가제트술집)

249-1 Wonhyo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (원효로 용산구 서울시 249-1) 

Phone: 02-6084-6784

Hours: Every day 5pm ~ 2am

Official Webpagehttp://www.gadgetsuljip.com/

Click here for an interactive map: http://me2.do/GRbmINdH

 

 

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Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars (one star alone for super cold Tsingtao)

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars (celebrity signatures plastered all over)

Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

 

Sookmyung University Kyung Sung Yang Gochi Gui (숙대경성양꼬치구이)

48-4 Chungpa-dong 3 ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 청파동3가 48-4)

Phone: 02-706-6887

Hours: Every day roughly 4pm ~ 2am

Click here for an interactive map: http://me2.do/GfjbKICs

 

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