Yetnal Jjajang 원조분식옛날짜 (Hongdae, Seoul)

[Updated on March 5th, 2016: With great sadness, I am sorry to announce the restaurant has closed.]

It’s not easy to find a quasi-Korean-Chinese restaurant that serves up a healthier version of jajangmyun (noodles w black bean sauce) and several other noodle dishes, but that’s what happened when I randomly stumbled upon a place near my neighborhood. To be honest, all I wanted was some greasy, MSG-ladened jajangmyun (it one was one of those days) that come out less than a minute after ordering, but instead got handmade noodles with a sauce that can only be described as mild, curry-esque, and pretty darn healthy. How do I know it was healthy? Let’s just say this was the first time in my life I’ve had a good bowel movement after eating a bowl of jajangmyun. Ahem.

The owners sensed my curiosity and kindly gave me the lowdown on his restaurant. The noodles are handmade in-house every day, not store or factory bought. The jajangmyun sauce is made early morning slow cooked similar to curry without any MSG or other additives. They have been operating for over 15 years, which is hard to do in that area of Hongdae. Fortunately, they have regular customers who know quality food at very reasonable prices. Lastly, they also allow food junkies like myself to take pictures of their operation. Sweet! 

And one more thing (important enough to get a new paragraph), this small restaurant is frequented by taxi drivers throughout the day but not crowded like other taxi hot spots. FYI: It’s a silent known fact that taxi drivers in Seoul know where are all the good places to eat. This place is no exception. 

Food★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars


Yetnal Jajang “Traditional, Old-School Jajang” 원조분식옛날짜

Hours of Operation: 11am to 9pm. Closed on Sundays.

Directions: Come out Sangsu Station (Line 6, Exit 1) and walk straight down about 300 meters. The restaurant will be to your right, near a side street. 

Click here for directions via interactive map:


I won’t lie or exaggerate. This jajangmyun was average at best, but after having some good bowel movements a few hours later, I knew this dish was a little more special than others.
Here’s the bibimbab. Nicely balanced with the regular ingredients, but good stuff. We ordered jajangmyun along with this, which matched perfectly if you’re into swapping.
Holding no more than 15 customers at one time, you’ll find this place busy during peak hours.
A simple, no-fuss menu that anyone can read and order. If you’re starving, go ahead and order two items.
Hand-pressing their noodles every day for their regular customers.
Being curious on their operation, the ajumma was nice enough to show me the jajang sauce (black bean sauce) that she prepares early morning, every day. It has a curry-like consistency without extra MSG and other additives. Good, simple, and filling.
Here are the gracious and humble owners who you will surely see if you ever make a visit.
Among all the fancy signs and exterior of other places, this place keeps it simple and has been around for over 15 years.

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