Someori Gukbap 소머리국밥 aka Cow Head Meat Rice Soup. Despite its unflattering and somewhat intimidating name, it’s now one of my favorite among the umbrella of beef bone soups, trailing only ggori gomtang (oxtail soup) while being far ahead of the more familiar seolleongtang (brisket). And even better, the place that serves it is a stone’s throw away from my house, just tucked away in a residential area where only locals with a discerning palate know about.
As I get older, I’m learning to appreciate and crave foods with more texture, which is evident in my full-time conversion of jokbal (pork trotters), soondae (blood sausage) and the offal varieties that usually accompany it. Now add head meat to the list. Here at Yetnal Someori Gukbap Jip 옛날소머리국밥집 people pack this modest restaurant during lunch and dinner service for two things: someori gukbap (head meat rice soup) + suyuk (boiled head meat), priced modestly at 8,000 and 20,000 won, respectively, Texture-wise, head meat is a nice balance of meat and gelatin (connective tissue broken down after a long boil) with a very pronounced beefy flavor. No gaminess or chewiness at all. Throw in the milky, rich broth to the mix and you got yourself a mouthwatering bowl of satisfying beef soup. Just as important as the soup, there’s some next-level kimchi that’s made in-house daily along with homemade soondubu (tofu), which clearly explains why they have been so successful drawing customers daily for the past 30 years. This is a true hidden gem located in the eastern part of Seoul, and it’s a must-stop destination for people who love this under-appreciated dish.
Note: One of the few restaurants to serve “ddaro gukbap” a classic style where the soup and rice are served “separately.” This tradition dates back to the olden times when peasants/commoners ate their soup and rice together while nobles/upper class ate them separately. From my knowledge, the original dish can be found in Daegu.
Food: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Yetnal Someori Gukbap Jip 옛날소머리국밥집
Godeok-dong 258, Gangdong-gu (고덕동 258, 강둥구)
Hours: Open every day 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/5TOBtR9A