Saturday, September 17, 2011

D-Cube City and Korean Food Street (Byeokgyesu)

If the recently inaugurated D-Cube City has quickly gained a solid reputation among local food lovers, it is well deserved.

Though less spectacular than Seoul Times Square (in nearby Yeongdeungpo-gu) architecturally speaking, the complex devoted more space for the comfort of its visitors, and developed a really original and consistent concept in the food department, with a clear editorial line around three major "verticals" : a trip back to 1920s Shanghai at "China Feng", a "World Street Food" with mouthwatering menus for Japanese food fans, and an already cult "Korean Food Street".

All three are located in the department store section (respectively 6F, B1, and B2), which also includes more classic restaurants and chains, and even a cute Pororo Theme Park. Beyond the dept store / mall : the D-Cube Arts Center, a D-Cube Park, the Sheraton Seoul D-Cube City (I took this view over Shindorim station and Guro-gu from their lobby - spectacular panorama on 41F), an outdoor park, offices and apartments... a major and ambitious project, but not a completely disruptive business model.

Now the food is really something you can't find elsewhere... The originality lies in the fact that it's really the original stuff. Cooks and dishes have been carefully sourced across the country and beyond. For instance, Michelin-starred Mist, the noodle expert, came from Tokyo. And even for such trivial stuff as ddeokbokki, the Chosen One is no other than Mimime : Hongdae's institution even closed shop there to open here - nothing changed regarding the queue, except that you don't have to wait outdoors anymore, and that you can do many other things while waiting for your food.

But the jewel of the crown is the Korean Street Food / Korean Food Street : a whole village full of life and terrific food. If the National Folk Museum of Korea were to propose a live show of Korean specialities, that would be it. The full course at Byeokgyesu costs only KRW 11,000 for lunch, and KRW 17,000 for dinner. It may look classic from a distance, but every single banchan has a unique story to tell and an incredible taste to reveal.

It's huge and seats hundreds, but very pleasant - you don't feel in some big food factory, rather in a festive village gathering. Everybody is smiling, simply enjoying the moment, sharing the experience.

D3 City (D-Cube City)
662 Gyeongin-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul 152-887 (360-51 Sindorim-dong)
website (nb: badly needs an update): dcubecity.com
Tel +82.2.2211.1000
D-Cube Korean Street Food / Korean Food Street (디큐브 한식 저잣 거리) : B2
Tel +82.2.2211.0730
. Byeokgyesu / 벽계수 (Korean Dining)
. Bandal / 반달 (Korean Pub)
. Yetsan / 옛산 (Korean Barbecue)
. Jatnamubae / 잣나무배 (Korean Snack)
. Dongjitdal / 동짓달 (Cafe)

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ADDENDUM 20110924
I found the business card I thought I'd lost, so I could detail the names of the different parts of the Korean Food Street, in particular the full course restaurant (벽계수).


2 comments:

  1. As a person who lives near D-Cube City - and eat there often, I must disagree with the majority of your view regarding the "Korean Street Food" section. It is not much more than a more-expensive (albeit higher quality) food court found in most department stores. If you want street food - go to the streets and eat in a tent. That's where the real food is.

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  2. I also prefer street food on the street, that's an essential part of the experience, and I'm sad that they're disappearing from the most 'sanitized' parts of the city.

    Regarding D-Cube City: I really think the Byeokgyesu restaurant deserves some praise.

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