Although I’ve recently started to update the blog with restaurants from this past summer, I didn’t expect to enjoy rummaging through all the photos–nearly 20,000 of them taken at over 200 restaurants in Seoul and the surrounding countryside. Among them, this particular set of photos is memorable because I nearly passed out in the summer heatwave while riding with Becker in Hanam city. Good luck, months of Strava training, and a friendly halmoni were our saving grace.
Our destination was a freshwater stream named Gogol Gyegok bordering a well-known tourist destination Namhansanseong Provincial Park and Fortress, so Becker could freely wander about in nature’s fine glory. While there, we anticipated eating at one of the restaurants that allow you to eat next to the running stream of water. However, we were turned down, again and again. Refusal to serve single customers to focus on larger groups (that usually reserve in advance) is common knowledge in these parts. But, thankfully, we found one place that made an exception and the generous halmoni cooked up the best deulkkae sujebi (hand-torn pasta in ground perilla seed broth) of my life.
Deulkkae sujebi is delicious, only when done right. Consisting of hand-torn dough in a rich nutty broth, it’s one of my comfort foods in wintertime–but realized during this bike trip that it tastes equally as good even in 100-degree weather. Unlike most versions that include clumps of chewy dough, the halmoni here meticulously tears the dough into long, thin, flaky pieces, which results in a perfect bite with the thoughtfully prepared banchan. There were a few potato pieces to provide much-needed carbs and went well with the flaky dough pieces.
I could easily see myself coming back for this dish alone when they reopen in spring, but the halmoni insisted I try her other signature dishes like baeksuk (boiled chicken or duck with glutinous rice) utilizing prized neungi mushrooms. The seasonal mushrooms not only provide a nice contrast in textures, but they’re widely known for promoting a variety of health benefits (ie. aiding in weight loss, lowering hypertension, reducing diabetes). I usually pack on extra weight in winter, so this place will be one of the first places I visit once spring rolls around.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Hangari Garden 항아리 가든
Gogol-ro 396 gil 9, Hanam City (경기도 하남시 고골로 396번길 9)
Hours: Call for reservations and hours of operation, which are seasonal
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/xDbT88ox