It’s not easy to impress me with foods that I grew up eating in childhood, but I found myself in total bliss (for an entire ten minutes) while inhaling this comforting, home-style kimchi jjigae in Jongro, just a stone’s throw away from the previous BBQ post.
Having tried all the “best” that Seoul has to offer, I wasn’t expecting it to equal or surpass some of my favorites like Gwanghwamun Jip, Eunjoo Jung, and Guldari Sikdang. But it did, because it’s served as a humble baekban (set meal) and it’s 100% bap doduk (“rice thief”), meaning you’ll find yourself eating more rice than necessary because the rich, savory soup (plus tender pork pieces) is just that addicting.
From observation, there was a large pot in the kitchen where she scooped the stew from, which basically means it was cooked overnight and ready to serve morning customers. That was a good sign, knowing that kimchi jjigae tastes exponentially better when cooked for longer periods of time. Click here for my recipe.
After asking the owner about any tips she could share, she confirmed my suspicions on cooking the perfect kimchi jjigae: “Lots of garlic, quality gochugaru, old kimchi, and a hard boil for at least an hour. Then let it simmer, the longer the better. That’s pretty much it.”
The owner has slowly expanded her menu over time, but her signature dishes are kimchi jjigae and dongtae jjigae (spicy pollack soup). Both are 4,000 won each, which is cheaper than a cup of coffee in that now trendy area called Ikseon-dong. Note: make sure to bring cash as the emo gets a little feisty over credit card transactions.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
Suryun Jip 수련집
Dongmyo 155, Jongro-gu (서울 종로구 돈화문로11가길 16-1)
Hours: Open every day 9:00 am ~ 8:00 pm except Sundays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/x6Mh1Hi0