It’s not very often a friend will request a certain food other than fried chicken, but that’s what happened last week when a dear friend surprised me with a slightly strange request: Dwenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Soup). Although easily made at home or found at most BBQ joints, you can never go wrong with this underrated soup that consists of funky fermented bean paste, small clams, zucchini, Korean radish or potatoes, and cubed tofu (better versions include blue crab n seafood). A quick search through the database provided some suitable places for the soup itself, but little did I imagine that I’d find one of the better places for Korean BBQ in the process.
The place is called Bugenae (Daeheung Station, Line 6) and they specialize in one marvelous thing: Chadolbaki 차돌박이 (Thin Beef Brisket Shavings). I’ve stated many times before that I’m fond of restaurants that specialize in one thing to preserve quality and taste, this place is no exception. They serve a delicious, addicting combination of chadolbaki with sukju namul (mung bean sprouts) gloriously piled high on a shiny copper grill. But, what sets this place apart from others are minor details like their in-house dipping sauce, balanced banchan, Hallasan soju, impeccable service (they even allowed the pooch without notice), and of course, the meat. Personally, there’s not much to decipher when it comes to quality meat except color, smell, and cut, so the first thing I noticed was the “fresh” coloration and the cut, which had a nice ratio of fat to meat. The result was pure bliss with each bite. Another positive about chadolbaki is that it literally cooks in seconds (similar to shabu-shabu) and you will experience little or no BBQ smoke on your clothes because the meat’s not marinated (plus no charcoals are used here). As for their Mayak Dwenjang Jjigae (“Crack” Soybean Paste Soup) – which is how they caught my original attention – it’s a very different breed from the standard version (less pungent plus gochujang added into the mix) and cost an extra 5,000 won. I didn’t care for it personally, but my friends seemed to enjoy it, which is all that mattered at that point.
Long story short: If you want a solid BBQ place with top-notch meat and service, make sure to check out this restaurant filled with fishy motifs and a non-existent restaurant sign! 🙂
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” ~ Julia Child
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
154-10 Yeomri-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hours: 11~2pm lunch, 5~11pm dinner (closed Sundays)
Click here for their original, old-school location near Daeheung Station (Line 6): http://naver.me/54lhBZns
Click here for their second, modern branch near Sangsu Station (Line 6): http://naver.me/xcPEXrXD