Saturday, July 28, 2012

Myeongdong Gyoja makes unreal kalguksu

Kalguksu on the left, mandu on the right
I'm no foodie, but I do enjoy eating...

Kalguksu (which literally means "knife noodles" in Korean, in reference to the way the broad and flat noodles are cut) is a popular Korean dish that consists of noodles in a broth with meat and veggies. I was never that big of a fan of it because I found it quite bland: the broth was usually too watery and weak-flavoured, so it always felt as if I were just eating hot slippery noodles that had no distinct taste.

But Myeongdong Gyoja, located in the shopping hub of Myeongdong, is perhaps Seoul's most famous kalguksu restaurant, so I decided to see if they could turn me from a hater into a lover.

Typical night scene from Myeongdong
Well, congrats to them, because I now love kalguksu, or at least their rendition of it. Really though, it's kalguksu as I've never had it before, so much so that I have to wonder if the noodles are the only thing it has in common with all those other versions that I've tried. The kalguksu at Myeongdong Gyoja has an incredibly thick broth that has a strong taste that will hit you instantly, so no weak and watery soup here! It also comes with little triangular dumplings  in it, which I've never seen done before.

The restaurant is simple, with a short menu of their specialty items, and the place is very busy. Lines usually form, but patrons eat and leave pretty quickly. You pay right after you order so that there's no bottleneck at the cash register.

Their dumplings are very good too, and their taste sort of reminded me of xiao long bao rather than the typical mandu (dumplings) that you'd get in a usual Korean restaurant.

I'll definitely going back here a few times before I leave Korea next month.

Front of the restaurant

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