When you’ve been in business for over 70 years and have a loyal following who come daily for your beef soup varieties, you don’t mess with success and carry on the tradition of your predecessors. And that’s what they’ve done here at Jinju Jip located in the bustling marketplace of Namdaemun.
I was fortunate to visit during off-hours on the weekday to avoid the lunch rush but still found it plenty full of senior citizens (a good sign). But be forewarned, it’s slightly difficult to find because it’s located in a nondescript alleyway with signage in Korean 갈치골목 hairtail fish alleyway. The alleyway is lined with small shops serving a popular dish called galchi jorim (spicy braised hairtail). It’s an intoxicating dish, especially if you like spicy foods, but I was focused on finding my beef soup.
After visiting the top places (ie. Eunho Sikdang, Youngchun Ok) for this often overlooked soup, you really can’t find a better bowl of ggori gomtang (oxtail soup) anywhere in Seoul. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, the broth is rich and soothing, and it’s served with the right banchan and dipping sauce to make it even more satisfying. After finishing off the succulent pieces of meat, I thoroughly enjoyed the revitalizing beef broth with rice and thin noodles. While eating this, I was reminded of my childhood and how much I disliked having to gnaw at the bone to get to the meat (back then it was all bulgogi and galbi). Now though, similar to gamjatang and its pork spine bones, I can’t get enough of these off-cuts that are more flavorful and delicious (kind of like why a bone-in steak tastes better than one without it).
This standout dish hovers around 20,000 won, but Jinju Jip offers quite a range of dishes including haejangguk (hangover soup), seolleongtang (beef bone soup with brisket), joktang (ox hoof soup), naejang gomtang (beef soup with innards), and much more. How much I really enjoyed the oxtail soup means I’ll be making future visits to try out their other offerings.
Note: If you have enough stomach space, hit up the excellent japchae hotteok stand that’s also located in the market.
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Jinju Jip 진주집
Namdaemun Sijang 4gil 6-1 (서울 중구 남대문시장 4길 6-1)
Hours: Open 24 hours every day