THE EULJIRO EULOGIES: Daewon Sikdang 대원식당

[The Euljiro Eulogies: Daewon Sikdang]

“I know you can buy gim (dried seaweed/laver) pre-roasted, but those don’t have “jeongseong” 정성 in them like the ones I individually roast by hand. When you put extra care and attention into the food, the food tastes much better—and it’s well worth the extra time. This here is a stack of 100 sheets, and I‘ll pan-fry each of them for about five seconds on each side, or until it turns a dark shade of green. I don’t have time to add any “deul gireum” 등기름(perilla oil) and salt like some others do, but it’s not necessary since most of the food is already salty. This is how it’s been done since the old days.”

You’ll see the word “jeonmun” 전문 as a designation on a few select restaurants, announcing their specialty in some type of food or dish. Here at Daewon Sikdang, their expertise is a simple yet hearty homestyle meal called “baekban.” Usually served on or brought out on a metal tray, the main emphasis is on the rice (“baekban” 백반 means white rice, not 100 side dishes) while the supporting cast of dishes accentuates the flavor of the soft, sometimes creamy rice. For this meal, banchan consisted of homemade kimchi, mu saengchae (seasoned radish strips), gim (seaweed), maneul jjong bokkeum (sauted garlic scrapes), a fried egg, and the main, odeng guk 오뎅국 (fish cake soup).

This was the first time having the soup as a main—as it’s often served complimentary with the main—so I was a little skeptical that it wouldn’t be any different than the lifeless ones you get elsewhere. Boy, I was wrong. The soup was refreshingly sweet, briny, and all umami. The odeng themselves were spongey yet firm to the bite while the thick chunks of radish were soft and delicious. Overall, just a satisfying meal for only 6,000 won—and some perfectly toasted gim to go along with it.

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars


Daewon Sikdang 대원식당

Changgyeonggung-ro 34-26 (창경궁로 34-26)

Phone: 02-2275-5512

Hours: Open lunch and dinner weekdays, lunch only on Saturdays

Click here for an interactive map:   http://naver.me/I5lzEYtW


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