Sarang Bang Kalguksu 사랑방칼국수 (Chungmuro, Seoul)

When you’ve been in business for over 50 years, it’s pretty apparent that you’re doing something right. Here at Sarang Bang Kalguksu, not only do they make a righteous bowl of kalguksu “knife-cut noodles,” they make you feel right at home with prompt yet courteous service. Sarang Bang Kalguksu, translated “Love Room Noodles,” is a humble restaurant with a lot of history and an army of regular customers who can’t get enough of their noodles. Although I’m personally not a huge noodle fan, I really enjoyed this version with its rich, anchovy-based broth that was umami-packed and peppery. Surprisingly, the noodles were machine-cut and uniform in length and thickness, which is different than the original version where they are intentionally hand-cut into varying sizes. Not a huge difference but, appearance-wise, it was unique with colorful garnish and toppings. 

I was fortunate enough to go during off-hours and found myself chatting up the aging owner who’s in his mid-80s. Due to old age, he quit the laborious task of cutting the noodles by hand but, even after all these years, he still keeps a hawk’s eye on operations to ensure the highest quality food and service. He also gave me a brief history lesson about his signature dish, which was born out of necessity during the Park, Chung-hee regime. In short, rice was so scarce that the government outlawed the sale of rice-based products on certain days, fueling a surge in wheat-related products like noodles, tteokbokki, and ramen. Thus, popular little eateries called bunsik was born. This was one of many interesting facts that I learned from the generous owner, who looked full of pride and satisfaction while talking to me. Can’t wait to return and pick his brains even more because it’s all too fascinating.

For those who don’t fancy noodles, I highly recommend their baeksuk baekban (boiled chicken set meal) which looks simple in appearance but big on taste and textures. Noodles are priced at a reasonable 6,000 won and baeksuk baekban at 8,000 won.

Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Sarang Bang Kalguksu 사랑방칼국수

Chungmuro 3ga  23-1 (서울 중구 중무로 3가 23-1)

Phone: 02-2272-2020

Hours: Open every day 9:00 am ~ 10:00 pm

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