I’m not the biggest fan of noodles, but during the bike season I load up on necessary carbs to get me through 4 to 5-hour trips around Seoul and surrounding provinces. So, when I heard about an institution spanning 50 years doing a mean bowl of kalguksu in Cheongnyangri, I biked over immediately to see firsthand why locals and out-of-towners were coming in droves specifically for this dish.
I don’t like to write in hyperbole nor use too many superlatives, but Hyesung Kalguksu is Seoul’s best kalguksu restaurant. Hands-down. This humble eatery easily beats out the more popular Myeongdong Gyoza and my previous favorite Chanyang Jip by a long shot. How is that possible? Well, they serve a chicken version that’s simply sublime. The chicken broth is rich, deep, and full of flavor; kind of like a suped-up broth a la Campbell’s chicken noodle soup (yes, the canned variety!). The noodles are the perfect consistency texture-wise (slightly al dente) and, in true kalguksu form, cut in varying sizes to make noodle pulling fun and challenging. Combined with their homemade kimchi and dadaegi (spicy paste), it’s an extra level of soul-satisfying comfort food that had me in pure bliss.
Besides this chicken version, Hyesung Kalguksu also serves a regular version using an anchovy-based broth. I can’t speak for the latter in terms of taste, but upon observation, the chicken version was clearly favored when I went in summer. Both are modestly priced at 8,000 won and paying by credit card is frowned upon, so make sure to bring cash. 🙂
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Hyesung Kalguksu 혜성칼국수
Cheongnyangri-dong 50-18, Dongdaemun-gu (서울 동대문구 청량리동 50-18)
Hours: Open every day 10:30 am ~ 9:00 pm except Mondays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/FMXP28Ai