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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baek nyeon chueotang (Seoul)

"100 year chueotang" faces the Yeonhui Samgeori post office. If this restaurant looks minuscule from the outside, it's actually quite big and can seat many patrons on either low or high tables.

"Chueotang" (추어탕) is a popular mudfish soup with dried radish leaves or "siraegi" (시래기). If you're familiar with seashores in Korea, you've probably seen this "chueo", a grey bearded loach crawling on wet sand. The poor lad doesn't have a very exciting taste by itself, but it completely melts in a soup, so it's up to the rest of the ingredients to make this dish really special.

Here, I must seize the opportunity and praise siraegi, one my favorite Korean foods. You must try once siraegi bokkeumbap (시래기 볶음밥), provided it's properly seasoned and rich in garlic (I even had it once as a sandwich for a soccer game in Paris - to die for !). Drying leaves allows consumption even during the winter, when warm and earthy dishes are not often so green.

This restaurant's owners grow their own radishes and dry the leaves on the roof of their farm. Their soup tastes really good, but anyone can customize it by adding sea salt, garlic, hot pepper, wild sesame... Fresh gimchi and fried chueo complete a limited set of side dishes.

A very good address for chueotang lovers.

133-1 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, SEOUL, ROK
Tel +82.2.332.8059

Seoul Village 2011

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