Vivari Jjambbong 비바리 짬뽕 (Aewol-eup, Hagwi-ri, Jeju City)

I’m a huge fan of Korean-Chinese cuisine (known in Korean as joonghwa yori). I’m a huge fan that it’s relatively cheap (the delivery version at least), super fast (think minutes), and most importantly, always delicious and satisfying. In fact, my girlfriend and I just finished off a few dishes that were delivered fast and furiously for our dinner tonight. After a memorable, week-long trip to Seoul for the Lunar New Year’s holiday, neither of us were in the mood for any cooking or even eating out, so we did what most Koreans do when they’re too lazy for food: order in. We enjoyed our usual combination of jajangmyun (noodles w sweet black bean sauce), jjambbong (noodles in spicy broth), and tangsuyuk (sweet n sour pork) with extra leftovers to take care of our next meal. Ironically, this is the same set of dishes that we usually order at our regular sit-down restaurant in Hagwi, Aewol called Vivari Jjambbong.

Open since January 2013, Vivari (meaning haenyeo or women free divers in Jeju language) Jjambbong specialize in “upgraded” Korean-Chinese dishes with loads of seafood goodies in all their dishes. One of the impressive aspects is that all of their seafood is sourced directly from the island. The owner, once a professional fisherman and still fishes on his free time, prides himself on bringing natural ingredients and a healthier option to a cuisine that is largely known for being unhealthy. To be forthcoming and direct, the quality of the ingredients really shine in each of the dishes. We love the made-to-order concept, we love the open kitchen layout (which is unheard of for most K-C restaurants), and we love the endless varieties of our favorite dishes. Simply put, the atmosphere here had a very trustworthy, positive vibe to it making our dining experience much more enjoyable. The place exceeded my expectations both in taste and quality (individual review in pics below), and it has become a pleasant substitution for the greasier, unhealthier version that I’m accustomed to. 🙂

Vivari Jjambbong makes a number of pledges to its customers with scattered signs on the wall:
  • all dishes are made to order and with the freshest ingredients
  • the restaurant closes when ingredients are all used up
  • banchan (side dishes) or other leftovers are not recycled (the bad kind of recycling) in any way
  • delivery and take-out options for all menu items
  • all seafood items sourced from the island (no sign for this one)
  • rosemary-infused water for customers (no sign for this one, either)
 “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”  ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Vivari Jjambbong 비바리 짬뽕

138-1 Aewol-eup, Hagwi-1ri, Jeju City (제주시 애월읍 하귀1리 138-1)

Phone: 064-743-7090

Hours of Operation: Open from 11:30~3 / 5:30~8:50pm

Click here for directions:

Vivari Haemul Jjambbong: Tons and tons of seafood under the pile of shaved leeks. The spicy kick from the red chili peppers weren’t too spicy and overwhelming but definitely hot enough to waken the senses and get a little perspiring going on. At 8,000 won, this could be shared with another person depending one’s appetite.
Vivari Haemul Jajangmyun: Tons and tons of seafood in your standard noodle variety and creamy, curry-like bean sauce. Definitely not as salty as your usual jajangmyun variety, but good nonetheless with a lot of depth in the sauce.
Tangsuyuk @ 12,000 won: Definitely my favorite dish (because it’s fried?) out of all the dishes. The pieces were super tender from the use of pork sirloin and the coating had an interesting spongy-like texture. Most tangsuyuk pieces come out rather dry, crispy, and slightly leathery, but these pieces are delectable with each bite.
There are two sizes for the tangsuyuk (small @ 12,000 won/large 16,000 won) and made for the perfect complementary dish with our mains.
Another distinct part of the tangsuyuk was the absolutely terrific sauce made from citron (Korean yuja) which gave it an awesome citrus flavor. I wanted to eat the sauce with some rice but we were with guests at the time.

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