After a blistering night in Seoul attending a dear friend’s birthday and then revisiting my favorite places in Jongro in the wee hours of the night, I decided to make the early morning trek back to Gangwondo just to eat here for lunch: Taeyang Jip “Solar House.”
The restaurant has a “guard” dog (unsurprisingly named Taeyang) that is playful and full of energy. We were able to bond during my weekly rides, with special treats and play time facilitating our strange relationship. He was the impetus of my visit, but I knew the food would be special because happy dogs usually have happy owners — and happy owners never put out crappy food (serious!). Plus, seeing the place packed with customers on weekdays and weekends also helped.
The menu is expansive with regional and local dishes, but we decided to keep it simple by ordering kodari gui (grilled, half-dried pollack) and jeyuk bokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork), which were cooked to absolute perfection. Both dishes had similar sauce profiles — slightly sweet, salty, and spicy — but with savory notes that allowed the main ingredients to shine. The kodari gui was fleshy and flavorful without any fishy smell; a dish I could see myself eating quite often if more restaurants served it. Lastly, the banchan were top-notch and plentiful, ranging from salted perilla leaves (my favorite) to candied black beans, making the meal even more satisfying. It’s worth mentioning that the food was so delectable I ordered another bowl of rice to finish off any remaining sauce and soup. Yep, it’s that good you don’t want any of it going to waste.
Taeyang Jip can be reached a short distance off the highway past Wonju heading towards Pyeongchang, which recently hosted the Winter Olympics. If you like dogs, make sure to bring treats for Taeyang and spend some time playing with him — he’ll reward you with human-like hugs and kisses.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Taeyang Jip 태양집
Hyuncheon-ri 26, Dunnae-myeon, Hoengseong-gun, Gangwon Province (강원 횡성군 둔내면 현천리 26)
Hours: Open every day 6:30 am – 10:00 pm
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/Fu714uFT