Cheongnyangri, of all places, has some of the better old-school restaurants in the entire city, even surpassing my favorite neighborhood of Euljiro. Just off the top of my head, I recall having memorable meals at Hongneung Jokbal 홍능족발 (deep-fried pork trotters), Gwangju Sikdang 광주식당 (fermented chunky soybean soup), Hyesung Kalguksu 혜성칼국수 (thick wheat noodles with chicken), Halmoni Naengmyeon 할머니냉면 (spicy cold buckwheat noodles), and now this gem called Cheongnyangri Jogae Gui Jjim 청량리조개구이찜 serving fresh shellfish that’s either grilled over charcoal or steamed.
With live shellfish in a tank, this modest pocha-style eatery reminds me of the many trips taken to the west coast, an area abundant with mudflats and its many varieties of clams. While enjoying the scenic views at one of the beachside restaurants, you (or someone appointed grill master) painstakingly hand-grill the bivalves over extreme heat, undoubtedly burning yourself despite wearing one (or two) work gloves that are provided. I love eating grilled shellfish, but the grilling part isn’t something you want to sign up for. Which is why I love this back-alley place that offers a steamed version where you get to eat and drink without any physical harm or exertion. The TV-loving halmoni collects the shellfish, rinses them and deguts the larger ones, steams them for about 10 mins, and then places them on the grill for you to enjoy with accompanying sides and sauces. All in all, a terrific way to enjoy delicious, briny clams without traveling all the way to one of the coastal regions AND at a fraction of the cost.
Pictured is a small portion of steamed clams (30,000 won) with an assortment of beer/soju priced nominally depending on how much you drink. Oysters are seasonal and make its way onto the menu late fall/early winter. Thank you again @ome_korean_cooking for the personal recommendation!
Food: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Cheongnyangri Jogae Gui Jjim 청량리 조개구이 찜
Jegi-dong 486-20 (Cheongnyangri Station Station, Exit 2)
Hours: Open every day 3 pm ~ 3 am
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/GBDqHW3a