From memory, this might be the first post featuring Godeungeo Jorim (Spicy Braised Mackerel with Radish), which is strange because it’s one of my favorite dishes when done right. Although I’ve had plenty of them during my time in Seoul, none have really stood out to me.
Back when I lived in Gangnam, one of my regular BBQ stops carried this dish as a special lunch menu and, ever since, that has been the litmus test for all others. That was almost ten years ago. What separated that particular version was the addition of mugeunji kimchi (well-ripened kimchi), giving the dish unbelievable depth and robust flavors. Those flavors were recently awakened after eating at Somunan Sikdang (“somunan” means famous through word of mouth), a humble eatery that was only well-known to locals until now.
Tucked away in the industrial area of Mullae-dong, a band of hardworking emos have been specializing in one single item for over 20 years: Godeungeo Jorim Baekban. As you probably already know, I’m a huge fan of places that specialize in one or just a handful of dishes. In fact, I’ve never been disappointed at any of these restaurants that focus on a single dish.
Here at Somunan Sikdang, their main dish includes plump pieces of mackerel, well-ripened kimchi, and soft radish. Soaked in an addicting sauce (referred to as “rice thief” 밥도둑), it’s a perfect combination of savory-sweet with a nice touch of heat. The sauce, which was the highlight, was so flavorful that I didn’t let any of it go to waste, easily finishing off two bowls of rice. In addition, the colorful spread of banchan complemented the main by being lightly seasoned and freshly made (minus the kimchi). Without a doubt, it ranks high on the list of memorable meals.
Baekban (set meals) are usually a tad more simple than this spread, but at the very least, it will include a bowl of rice, one small protein dish, soup, and a few side dishes. Instead of getting a small protein dish here, the main is a generous portion that would easily satisfy the hungriest of customers. Pictured is a single serving for only 8,000 won. Single diners are welcome too, which is a rarity with these old-school eateries.
Food: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Somunan Sikdang 소문난식당
Address: Mullae-dong 4-ga 8-30, Yeungdeungpo 영등포구 문래동4가 8-30
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/GQwahtPl