Bageul Bageul Gamjatang 바글바글 감자탕 (Dunnae, Gangwon Province)

Back in the day, I was chilling and living the good life in the boondocks of Gangwon Province until I experienced an epiphany through food. After eating the most unbelievable gamjatang of my life, I had an impulsive idea to write a cookbook, of sorts, but only if I could obtain this dish’s original recipe. So, I made multiple visits begging the owner if I could see how it was made–from scratch and straight from the kitchen–capturing each step with photographs. Although I was flat out rejected twice by the owner, Mrs. Roh, she caved at my third attempt because I wouldn’t, literally, leave her restaurant. I honestly told her that her gamjatang was the best I ever had and there was something unique and addicting about it. Sensing my passion (and desperation) for Korean food, she graciously opened up her kitchen and gave me the full recipe.

Inspired by this dish and the story that accompanies it, the recipe with step-by-step pictures will be part of a book–part cookbook, part travelogue, part photo diary–featuring 25 iconic places in Seoul, their most guarded recipes, and personal anecdotes from the owners. It’s gonna be a daunting task that will subject me to plenty of rejection and possible embarrassment from publishers, but I hope to honor the dying breed of old-school restaurants who have humbly and generously fed generations of Koreans while remaining largely in the shadows. Not anymore.

Here is a short excerpt of one of our interviews: “I cooked traditional hansik for over ten years, but over time it got too physically demanding to prep all the banchan day in and day out. Most people don’t realize that there should be different varieties of banchan served for lunch and dinner, and it changes according to the main dish as well. After thinking hard what to specialize in next, I decided on gamjatang because it’s a humble and inexpensive dish that many people enjoy. Since this was the main item on the menu, I had to experiment with the recipe. Fortunately, I was able to use my previous experience cooking hansik to make this dish a much-improved version of your standard gamjatang.” ~ Mrs. Roh

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars


Bageul Bageul Gamjatang 바글바글감자탕

Dunbangnae-ri 585-4, Dunnae-myeon, Hoengseong-gun, Gangwon Province (강원 횡성군 둔내면 둔방내리 585-4)

Phone: 033-344-3345

Hours: Open every day 7:00 am ~ 10:00 pm

Click here for an interactive map:  http://naver.me/FPTNyNn9

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