[The Euljiro Eulogies: Eulji Myeonok]
Can’t believe it’s been three years since @noodlepie and I broke bread in Jeju and Seoul, dining at old-school establishments that were usually (more like always) tucked away in hidden corners of the city. I remember Graham asking me countless questions about Korean food, ranging from the seemingly easy “what is Korean food to you?” to the more complicated “what’s your fascination with these old restaurants?” I didn’t have a good answer at the time. But, after visiting Euljiro recently to see
Korean food is a restaurant such as famed Eulji Myeonok, a place of nostalgia and comfort for many people yearning for the good old days. It’s food that transcends time and can’t be replicated by modern advances. It’s honest food made through sacrifice and hardship. It’s food that our mothers make, unconditionally, without praise or attention. It’s food that will never be fully appreciated until it’s gone.
Eulji Myeonok is famous for their Pyongyang-style naengmyeon — and is considered one of the best in the country. Unfortunately, the area is currently being gutted to make way for new high rise buildings, meaning the many metal shops and eateries from Euljiro 3ga and 4ga up to Cheongyecheon Stream will be snuffed out after decades of historical presence. When asked about the redevelopment, they were coy and hesitant to answer me. Nearby small metal shop owners were also the same, telling me they haven’t received “notice” yet. Regardless, I know their expiration date is set and it’s inevitable that they won’t be around too long. Future posts will feature restaurants in that area before their time is up. Here is an article that describes their current plight.
It was here, sitting on one of the grandmother’s plastic stools, in that alleyway, surrounded by golden skyscrapers, that I felt more connected to Korea than anywhere else on this journey. I’d been plugged back into the main. Perhaps these alleyway places felt more alive because they were closer to death. ~ Graham Holliday, Eating Korea p. 294
Food: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Eulji Myeonok 을지면옥
Ipjeong-dong 161 (서울 중구 입정동 161)
Hours: Open every day 11:00 am ~ 9:00 pm, break time 3:30 ~ 5:00
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/Giyx5rcR