Words and shots by Yoon-joo Jeong (Translated by Jee-hye Cho and Sonia Hensley)
1 Potato Jeon (W10,000) and Grilled Deodeok Root (W15,000)
Meokgeoli Changgo (Edibles Warehouse), Namhansanseong
This moist, crunchy potato jeon pancake served on a chaeban bamboo plate is best after a long hike. Meanwhile, the crunchy, herbal deodeok is both refreshing and healthy, offering benefits from digestive detox to cancer prevention. Enjoy them both with a glass of makgeolli as you let the kids play in the yard out front.
641 Sanseong-li, Jungbu-myun, Gwangju-si. 031-744-2594
2 Hanwoo Sirloin Steak, W50,000 for two servings
Jangwi-dong Yuseongjip, Guri and other locations
This famous Hanwoo barbeque chain serves sirloin and sirloin only. Grilled on hard charcoal, the steaks come out juicy and smoky. Pair them simply with shredded radish kimchi and anchovy soup for a meal that’s affordable but tastes luxurious.
733-1 Gyomun-dong, Guri-si. 031-573-6147
3 Spicy Galbi-jjim, W12,000
Mansonggol Galbitang, Guri
The big chunks of juicy rib meat in this spicy galbi-jjim come with crisply cooked veggies as well as shrimp, noodles, mushrooms, and rice cake. Order extras of whichever ingredient you like best, and cool your palate afterwards with a complimentary iced lemon tea. This restaurant’s parking lot and elevator make it an easy visit for those with strollers.
81 Beolmal-ro, Guri-si. 031-566-7333
4 Tojong Dalk-Baeksuk (Native Korean Chicken Soup), W38,000
Chickens bred in Korea are said to be stronger and chewier than their foreign counterparts. Try one out in this dalk-baeksuk chicken soup. Similar in composition to the more famous samgyetang, dalk-baeksuk replaces the medicinal ginger and jujubes stuffed in the chicken’s middle with healthy mung beans and green onions for a simpler, cleaner taste.
438-4 Jigeum-dong, Namyangju-si. 031-566-5233
5 Neungee Mushroom Hanwoo Bulgogi, W48,000 for two servings
Lee Daegam Mushroom Bulgogi, Namyangju
Healthy neungi mushrooms, known for being anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory, are cooked up with A+ certified marinated hanwoo beef cuts at this famous “well-being” restaurant. Try it with buttery Gondeurae herb rice and see what all the media hype is about.
460-3 Yongjeong-ri, Jingeon-eup, Namyangju-si. 031-527-7434
6 Sanchae Jeongsik (Wild Herb Table d’Hote), W12,000
Oldami Hanjeongsik, Namyangju
Oldami near Paldang Dam operates both a restaurant and an experiential farming program to educate visitors about local agriculture. Their signature order is the hanjeongsik table d’hote centered around Korea’s native wild herbs. Fresh and low in sodium, this endless course meal will leave you feeling satiated but not bloated and overfull.
455-1 Dogok-ri, Wabu-eup, Namyangju-si. 031-576-1076
7 Seonji Haejangguk (Hangover Blood Soup), W8,000
ssangdoongi Haejangguk, Namyangju
This tasty haejangguk is so famous that people all over Korea have heard of it through blogs and television. This spicy broth is filled with veggies, beef offal, and cleanly cut, tofu-like seonji, or congealed ox blood. If you’re afraid to try it, you can order seolleongtang instead, but you’ll probably be the only one in the restaurant eating it.
89 Maseoku-ri, Hwado-eup, Namyangju-si. 031-511-5011
8 Gamjatang, W20,000 for a family platter
The Original Bone Gamjatang , Namyangju
Order this famously cheap gamjatang and get ready for what will be an absolute mountain of bones and meat to arrive at your table. Served in a big platter for groups, this soup will have you full even before the server turns the leftovers into a satisfying porridge of rice and pork.
Hopyeong-dong, Namyangju-si. 031-591-9909
9 Budaejjigae (Army Stew), W6,000 per serving
Matitneun babsang, Gapyeong
A mish-mash of stewed ham, sausages, ramen and over military staples, Budaejjigae was a dish that resulted from the influx of foreign soldiers and supplies during the Korean War. Taste it with its original army twist at this restaurant, located near the American base at Uijeongbu. The stew is boiled live at the table, and tastes better the longer you simmer it.
399-29 Daeseoung-ri, Cheongpyeong-myun, Gapyeong-gun. 031-584-6835
10 Maegi Maeuntang (Spicy Catfish Stew), W30,000
Yeongot Eondeok, Yangpyeong
This spicy stew of greens, potatoes, and hand-torn sujebi noodles is boiled together with a whole catfish, which yields a soft, mild flesh with no fishy smell or aftertaste. Catfish is also popular for its health benefits. It’s good for the liver, fights diabetes, and has the lowest mercury content of almost any fish, making it a good choice for children and the elderly.
171-5 Yongdam-ri, Yangseo-myun, Yangpyeong-gun. 031-774-4577
Nana, known offline as Yoon-joo Jeong, loves eating and travel—mostly because travel means new types of food. Her favorite dining companions are her husband Min-wook and her four-year-old daughter Zi-u. Visit her award-winning blog, “Nana’s Tasty Review”, at chowon87.blog.me.