Seogyo Gourmet 서교고메 (Seogyo-dong, Seoul)

If you’ve been following me on Facebook and Instagram, you probably know that I worked at a modern Korean restaurant specializing in soondae (blood sausage). During that stint, not only did I pick up valuable cooking tips and techniques from the talented head chef, I learned firsthand that you can be successful specializing in Korean dishes that are often overlooked and underappreciated. And this is the case with soondae — also unflatteringly romanized as sundae  the ubiquitous street food usually found along with fiery tteokbokki and spongy odeng.

With dishes ranging from soondae gukbap (blood sausage soup with rice) to myungtae sikhae (fermented pollack) to more upscale dishes like sous vide steak and pork, Seogyo Gourmet is slowly changing people’s perception of basic Korean staples and elevating them to different heights. Using modern cooking techniques learned from Michelin-star restaurants in New York — including famed three-star restaurant Eleven Madison Park — the head chef does an impeccable job recreating abai-soondae based off of his 103-year-old grandma’s family recipe. Eaten steamed or in soup form, each bite is clean, light, and palate-pleasing, especially when paired with different types of local salts and saewujeot (fermented baby shrimp). Not to hate on the budget-friendly varieties found on the street or local markets (which often carry an unpleasant, porky off-smell), you won’t find anything comparable to these handmade varieties. It’s also worth mentioning the restaurant carries an extensive lineup of traditional and modern alcohol, ranging from artisanal makgeolli (fermented rice wine) to high-end, premium soju. If you ask nicely, they’ll happily oblige with samplers to help make decisions a little easier.

As much as I love the food here, I can’t express how much respect I have for Chef Choi (who I simply refer to as Chef). In a business that’s cutthroat and shortcuts are the norm to maximize profits, none of that happens here. Chef makes sure that most of the ingredients, if not all, are seasonal and locally sourced at nearby Mangwon Market. Clean workstations and kitchen sanitation are top priorities to ensure food quality and safety, something that many local restaurants lack. In other words, you won’t find a better nor cleaner kitchen operation where meticulous prep and passion for food are evident in each dish served at Seogyo Gourmet.

Michelin Guide Seoul 2018 even recognized their efforts with a new award named Michelin Plate, a designation given to restaurants that serve exceptional food high in quality and taste — putting them on the culinary map for possible star recognition in the future. Here’s what they had to say about the up-and-coming restaurant, which just happens to provide friendly service in English and Korean — something that is severely lacking in a metropolitan city such as Seoul.

Excerpt from Michelin Guide Seoul 2018:

“At Seogyo Gourmet, Chef Choi Ji-hyeong serves up dishes that are close to his heart, including sundae. As a young boy, he grew up eating and making abai-sundae – blood sausage stuffed with glutinous rice, vegetables and pig’s blood. It’s a specialty of Hamgyeongdo Province in North Korea where his maternal family hails from. By staying true to his grandmother’s recipe, he pays homage to his family’s history. Together with his team, the Eleven Madison Park-trained chef offers familiar local dishes with a whimsical twist.”

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars


Seogyo Gourmet 서교고메

Seogyo-dong 442-30 (서울 마포구 서교동 442-30)

Phone: 02-332-3626

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seogyogourmet/

Hours: Open every day 11:30 am ~ 10:00 pm 

Click here for an interactive map:  http://naver.me/xv7VO78U

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