Update 5/1/2015: To my personal disbelief, Yogi Guksu is no longer in business. They fell victim to another foreign-friendly restaurant after 15 years of service. RIP.
I’ve been meaning to write a little something about this cute guksu noodle restaurant near my home and I guess that time is now. First off, this place isn’t a new hot spot or anything spectacular. They make simple, unpretentious food that’s perfect for those who need a quick fix (think of a fancy bunshik joint). They’ve been around 15 years specializing in guksu and other “fast food” type dishes, so they’re definitely doing something right to stay in business for that long.
Initially, I was not going to post a review of their restaurant because, as I said before, the food is quite simple (above average at best for some dishes). However, after passing by their near-empty restaurant the past few months, I couldn’t just do nothing since they have become victims of what has become a sad story these days in Hongdae: Tasty Road. For those unaware, Tasty Road is a food program featuring the latest hot spots in dining with two uppity, fake female hosts selling their souls by acting as though the food they’re tasting is the best thing in the world. It’s really ridiculous and absurd how they pretend to have a foodgasm each and every time, no matter it be a piece of bread, a spoonful of rice, a sip of mineral water, whatever. So to the point, right across the street from Yogi Guksu is an all-you-can-eat BBQ gopchang (intestine) restaurant called Kim Deuk Hoo Gopchanggo 김덕후의 곱창고. Ever since Tasty Road made a visit there, scores of people (mostly Hongdae kids) waiting in the longest lines imaginable have been sitting, standing, smoking there all day long. And every freaking day starting at 3pm until close. As a sad result, it’s been all down hill for Yogi Guksu and the lovely ajumma owner.
To add insult to injury, Tasty Road got it all wrong (or maybe duped?) when they said that the restaurant served all hanwoo Korean beef. An early morning run-in with their supplier said otherwise, as we found 호주산 (product of Australian) stamped on all the boxes. Obviously, my girlfriend (who previously worked for a major newspaper outlet) and I were furious and wanted to report them somewhere, anywhere. After some consideration, we let bygones be bygones and let fate runs its course.
As for Yogi, I am not sure how long they’ll be able to keep their operation going with their dwindling customers. All I know is that I’ll continue to stop by because their food is reasonably priced, well-prepared, and very comforting; I highly recommend the bibim naengmyun (spicy cold noodles), jumuk bab (“fist rice”), gueun mandu (thin pot stickers), and tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes). If you’re in the area, give the place a try, and while you’re at it, you can tell the kids who are waiting in line that the food they’re about to eat is not hanwoo.
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
93-86 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu
Hours: 12pm ~ 8:30pm
For directions via interactive map: http://map.naver.com/?mid=bl017983365