The ubiquitous kimchi jigae can easily be found in most eateries in Seoul. It is such comfort food especially in cold weather. The stew’s savoury-tart flavour is very appetising – my favourite way to eat the dish is to mix the rice together with the pork-flavoured broth.
Before one of my trips to Seoul, I was Googling for ‘where to eat in Seoul’ and I came across very good reviews of Gwanghwamun Jip.
It was not easy locating Gwanghwamun Jip. The restaurant is hidden in a back alley and its entrance is not obvious – the door looks like a back-door and not the main entrance. The signage of the restaurant is hung quite prominently above the door. Unfortunately, I cannot read Korean, so it took me a while and several trips up and down the alleyway to figure out that this door is THE entrance to the restaurant.
The restaurant is literally a hole in the wall that is run by several ahjummas. It is a tiny place that holds about 4 to 5 small tables and serves mainly three items – kimchi jigae, gyeran mari (rolled omelette) and jeyuk bokkeum (spicy stir-fried pork). We were there after the lunch hour and got a table immediately but I imagine that queues could get rather long during meal times.
We decided on the kimchi jigae and rolled omelette, and gave the spicy stir-fried pork a rain-check. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to eat dinner! As expected, there was simply too much food on the table. The kimchi jigae came in a big bubbling pot for two persons, the rolled omelette was massive, and there was banchan and rice.
Looking at this bubbling pot of kimchi jigae with aged kimchi is making me drool. The flavours of this stew were really good – rustic, spicy and comforting. The rolled egg omelette was SO tasty and satisfying. As much as I would like to, it was impossible for me to eat kimchi stew without rice so I gobbled up the entire serving of rice.
Gwanghwamun Jip is totally worth the trouble that was involved in locating it. I cannot recall how much the food costs now, but it is definitely inexpensive!
Address: 110-071 12, Saemunan-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, closed on public holidays.
Directions: Take the subway to Gwanghwamun Station and leave the station by Exit 1. Walk towards the cross-intersection where you will see a GS25 convenience store. Enter the alley at GS25.