The Real Honam Sikdang 호남식당 (Sogang University, Seoul)

One of the things I’ve realized recently is that you really don’t have to travel far for quality Korean food, and this is especially true if you live in Seoul. Since moving to the Hyochang Park area several months ago (close to Yongmun Market), my girlfriend and I have had the pleasure of eating at some terrific places that are not very well-known, even in Korean blog circles. For instance, there is a line of unique gisa sikdangs (taxi driver restaurants) adjacent to the park that specialize in a variety of dishes – yeonpotang (octopus soup), tteok kalbi (marinated beef patties), saengsun gui (grilled fish), and bulgogi (marinated barbecue) to name a few. For the most part, we’ve tried all the popular ones that we see packed during our frequent visits to the park. They’re all solid places that are now on our regular places to visit. As one might expect, they’re very easy on the wallet – a common theme for all gisa sikdangs. Instead of writing a separate post for each restaurant (which they deserve), I’ll post a single one in the near future as my current routine consists of work, more work, and quality time with my awesome gf (hear that MJ?) and our new rescue pooch, Sawol, who we brought home a few weeks ago at the shelter I volunteer at in Ilsan (EFL).

So, back to quality Korean food without having to travel too far. In addition to covering most of the matjibs (top restaurants) near my home, I’ve discovered quite a few hidden gems near my workplace close to Daeheung Station (Sogang Univ.). One place in particular stands out because it coincidentally shares the same name with a more famous place near Chungmuro Station: Honam Sikdang. Having recently visited the famous one over the weekend, I am flabbergasted that this place gets so much attention after trying the food. They specialize in dweji mulkalbi “pork water ribs” which is bathed in a saucy marinade that looks delicious and full of potential….that is until you taste it. Unlike other meat-marinated Korean bbq dishes, this had no flavor at all despite noticeable spices and ingredients that should make for good bbq. To add insult to injury, even their post-meal bokkeumbap (fried rice) was unimpressive, which was sad given the fact that the server spent a good 10 minutes working on it. The only positive thing that came out of this visit was – while waiting a few hours for their strange 2pm opening – revisiting the back alleyways filled with the Korea of old.

In contrast, the real Honam Sikdang near my workplace is a terrific, old-school restaurant (20+ years) that I frequent a few times a week for their homestyle baekban – a healthy, light, and inexpensive set meal that changes daily. The baekban is served with five or six fresh or pickled banchan (side dishes) varieties that are made with loving care by the tag team duo of halmoni “grandmother” and her daughter. When I need a little more protein for lunch, I get my fix with their jeyuk bokkeum (spicy pork stir fry), ttukbul (bulgogi served in stone pot), or tteok mandu guk (rice cake dumpling soup). All dishes are under 7,000 won with the baekban at a humble 5,000 won. Unlike its famous counterpart, there won’t be lines of people but it does get busy during lunch hours (12-1). 🙂

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ~ Orson Welles

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars


Honam Sikdang (Sogang University)

88-16 Sinsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Hours: Open every day except Sundays from 8am ~ 8pm

Click here for an interactive map: http://me2.do/GSwM5aMk

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Food: ★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★ out of 5 stars

 

Honam Sikdang

127-16 Chungmuro 4-ga, Joong-gu, Seoul

Phone: 02-2273-1348

Hours: Open every day except Sunday, 2-11pm

Click here for an interactive map: http://me2.do/GBbErJH1

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