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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bongchu Jjimdak (Seoul)

Jongno-gu, Dongsung-dong 1-96, SEOUL, ROK
Bongchu Jjimdak, Dongsung-dong Branch / 봉추 찜닭 (restaurant)
Tel : +82.02.3676.6981‎

We're dealing here with a chain restaurant running many branches nationwide, including several in Jongno-gu and one on each side of Daehangno. This one, on the Western slope, must not be confused with the Daehangno branch (in Myeongnyun-dong 4-ga, 80-1). Not the East side kind of guy, I prefer to enjoy the charms of Ihwa-dong heights before their ineluctable renovation.

I once tried another Bongchu Jjimdak near Hongik University, but that one didn't taste as good. And the place was not as nice to sit and enjoy (zenish rustic chic in Dongsung - totally artificial but relaxing). I'll probably give a shot at the restaurant they have right behind Bosingak because of its exceptional view on the pavilion... and because I need to have a good joint at a walking distance.

I mean, a good Bongchu Jjimdak does taste good. Hot and spicy, granted, but yummily hot and spicy. This variety of Andong JJimdak (안동찜닭, or Andong Steamed Chicken, after the Andong city located in Gyeongsanbuk-do) is the only dish they serve, but if you have a problem with hot pepper, that's OK : you'll find legions of nice eateries in the area.

The rich and contrasted flavors come from a mix of subtle spices in the seasoning, strong dried pepper, and a not too pregnantly sweet soy sauce. Varied veggies and Chinese noodles provide comfort and harmony in a big dish simmering before your eyes. Dosage must be key : my Hongdae experience was dull because I couldn't feel the spices, and the dish tasted almost like a dakdoritang. It looked like one as well - probably a question of soy. In Dongsung-dong, the Jjimdak was drier and darker, and the spices and pepper gave it a very subtle, unique, yet somehow sichuanesque twist.

I'm drooling just thinking about it.

SM 2008

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