Continuing with the line of old-school restaurants in Seoul, here’s another solid restaurant near Gongdeok Station (Line 5 and Line 6, Exit 4) doing Korean BBQ the right way since 1956. They specialize in pork varieties and that’s what my friends and I ordered: dweji kalbi 돼지갈비 (pork ribs) @ 12,000 won per 250g, sogeum gui 소금구이 (salt n peppered pork) @ 13,000 per 200g, and ggupdaegi 껍데기 @ 7,000 per sheet of pig’s skin.
Everything was decent, nothing eye-popping or fancy, but definitely solid dishes made even better with a variety of fresh veggies, a few dipping sauces, and banchan that were “self-service.” The dweji kalbi was less sweet and “saucy” compared to modern day recipes where it’s drenched in a sugary-garlicky soy marinade; nevertheless, it was good in its own unique way. The sogeum gui and ggupdaegi tasted just as the name suggests. Always the curious one, when I asked the ajumma server if the recipe had changed throughout the years, she said that it hadn’t and it was passed down directly from the halaboji (grandfather) owner to his children.
Personally, I really liked the unique interior that nicely showed off their nearly 60 years of experience in the business. The outdated furniture, the tattered walls covered in posters, framed pictures, and banners highlighting their success over the years – very charming in a city that values and promotes modernity. Most importantly, the super chill atmosphere where you can enjoy a good meal (and drinks) with friends is what will probably bring me back again.
If you want an honest BBQ joint without any pretension and a lot of history, check out this restaurant in one of the obscure back alleys of Mapo.
“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” ~ Doug Larson
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Mapo Jincha Wonjo Choi Daepyo (마포진짜원조최대표)
112-4 Mapo-daero, Mapo-gu, Seoul (마포구 마포대로 112-4)
Hours: 10:30am ~ 11:30pm
Directions via Naver map: http://me2.do/xgMfPYcd