Never have I ever seen or eaten anything like this new dish until this past summer when I racked up 7,000 km biking cross-country throughout the Korean countryside. During one of my adventures out in Yangpyeong, I heard about a restaurant serving something entirely unique called Dak Nureungji Baeksuk (Scorched Rice and Chicken Soup)–a remarkable dish containing tender pieces of chicken boiled down with glutinous rice until a porridge-like consistency is achieved. Initially, I was taken back by the appearance from the inverted scorched rice facing up, but after cutting through the sheath-like covering my friends and I soon realized it was mighty big on taste and interesting textures. The diverse set of banchan made the meal even more enjoyable, all priced at a reasonable 45,000 won for a 3-4 person serving.
According to the owner of Yeh Sarang, who I had the pleasure of chatting with during his downtime, it’s a dish that originated in Daejeon and is made by “scorching” soaked glutinous rice in a cooking vessel. Chicken stock is added shortly afterward and cooked until the broth thickens like gravy. The final result is soft, chewy nureungji perfectly complimenting the tender pieces of chicken and glutinous rice. Aromatics and medicinal ingredients (hanyak) are also used in the soup to give it an extra boost in flavors and health benefits. Without a doubt, it ranks high up on my personal list of favorite dishes eaten in Korea and I will surely be making an annual pilgrimage to this awesome restaurant. Which, by the way, is a spacious and rustic restaurant adorned with stone relics and statues throughout the grounds. In summer, many customers take a leisurely walk at the nearby gyegok (stream) that runs adjacent to the restaurant–a perfect way to burn off all the food and take in the natural scenery at the same time.
Cycling cross-country is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of Korea’s rural area, which largely goes unnoticed for those who live in Seoul or in big cities. If you’re interested in cycling, check out my Strava profile for additional photos taken throughout Korea. You might find some food photos as well.
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Yeh Sarang 얘사랑
Yongchun-ro 333, Okchun-myun, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi Province (경기 양평군 옥천면 용천로 333)
Hours: Open every day 11:00 am ~ 8:00 pm except major holidays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/GAM4WbSB