Because so many young people in Korea eat out all the time, the newest trend in restaurants is serving Jipbap (집밥) which literally means ‘home food’. Food that taste like mom’s cooking. No MSG, less salty and less sweet, the food doesn’t jump at you like most restaurant food does but the more you eat it, you just feel good about eating it. The chef also uses the freshest ingredients possible and also offer organic My friend took me to a restaurant in Itaewon called Parc. This restaurant is located near the main area of Itaewon near Leeum Art Musuem. They just have three different lunch menu sets everyday and the other two besides pork bulgogi was grilled white and black soybean tofu and also grilled spanish mackerel. You could also order antibiotics free egg fry on the side.
If you wanted to make something similar at home I have recipes for most of the dishes:
- my pork bulgogi recipe – substitute pork belly slices and top with perilla leaves
- miyeok guk recipe
- sauteed burdock roots (woowong bokkeum)
- minari and tofu – i don’t have recipe but you can simply blanch minari, add crumbled tofu and season with salt, pepper, sesame oil
- dried squid (ohjingeo chae) – will have to put up a recipe soon. 🙂
I also LOVE the ambience of the dining hall. Very bright and airy. Although I realized we are looking right at the side of someone’s home. I would not like to be living in that house.. haha..
Before meeting my friend for lunch, I started the day early and walked around areas near my sister’s house (where I’m staying). My sister lives in Itaewon and more specifically near one of the hottest part of Seoul called Gyeongnidan or Kyungridan Gil. Gil means street and it starts from Noksapyeong station (this is the closest subway station) area up to Namsan, Hotel Hyatt area. It is also right across from Yongsan’s US Army base area where new trends are turning over old homes and stores into cafes and multi-cultural restaurants. A part of me is excited to see new restaurants in Itaewon but a part of me is sad that the old mom and pop stores like dry cleaners, little markets and mini Home Depots like this one are disappearing one by one…
I guess I must be getting old since I’m starting to say thing like “I miss the old..”.
Parellel and one block over from Gyeongnidan Gil is another street that used to be just an old neighborhood but is in the process of transforming to a very unique area. It all got started with a photographer (Chang Jinwoo) who loved to cook for his friends in his studio. And with the suggestion from his friends, he transformed the concept into a restaurant that only has 1 large table (seating less than 20 usually). The restaurant was such a success that they now have several restaurants open on the same street with different cuisines.
- Grand Blue – M-Th dinner only, Fri – Sun lunch and dinner, 1670-0872
- Mathilda – M-W, Fri dinner only, Thu, Sat-Sun lunch and dinner 1670-0872
- Jangjinwoo Shikdang – the first original, by reservation only 1670 – 0872 and you need to rent the whole restaurant
The other unique aspect about Chang’s restaurants are that most of them have no sign in front of the restaurant and because they are never open for lunch, I somehow missed the opportunity to eat at his places so I don’t have photos of the food but only the best restaurants in Itaewon survive longer than couple years so I know the food must be pretty good.
On the same street, there are also some good bakeries (which I have actually tasted) which I will write in my next post.
If you ever visit Itaewon or Gyeongnidan area, be sure to check out these places and more!
More good food coming soon~