When it’s crappy, cold, and wet like today, I yearn for what Koreans do best: soups and stews. There are plenty of amazing soups to choose from, but one of my favorites is an overlooked soup called doganitang (ox knee soup). Cartilage, tendon, knee caps, and off-cuts of beef doesn’t sound very appealing compared to its more popular counterparts (ie. seolleongtang, galbitang), but in terms of taste, texture, and health benefits (full of calcium and protein for joints/bones and collagen for skin) you would be hard pressed to find a comparable dish that’s considered a boyangshik 보양식 (health food) by many.
Where do you find the best one? Consensus will undoubtedly be one of the following places with a combined 200 years of business. Here’s a short rundown.
Daesung Jip 대성집 near Dongnimmun (Independence Gate) Station. Mighty big on taste with an unforgettable gochujang maneul (spicy garlic) banchan that complements the gelatinous pieces of meat very well. Visited a handful of times and always booming with seniors, a reliable indicator that the food is done right—an impressive feat considering they’ve been open for over 60 years.
Imun Seollongtang 이문설농탕 in Jongro. Renowned for their signature seolleongtang (milky beef bone soup), regulars with a discerning palate know that the doganitang here is just as impressive. By far the most generous in terms of meat among the three, it’s another reason why this institution has lasted over a century despite its somewhat obscure location.
My personal gold standard is Buyoung Doganitang 부영도가니탕 in Samcheong-dong. Very tender pieces of cartilage, tendon, and meat in a flavorful, robust broth. Made even better with their standout kkakdugi 깍두기 which is intentionally ramped up a notch in spice and flavor to balance out the soup. Friendly, family-like atmosphere make this the most pleasant place to savor every bite of their hanwoo-exclusive doganitang.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Buyoung Doganitang 부영도가나탕
Address: 27-14 Samcheong-dong (종로구 삼청동 27-14)
Hours: Open every day 7:00 am ~ 8:00 pm except Mondays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/5X95M5YB