My buddy Chad wanted to have a guys night out so we went over to (another one of) Korea's Chinatown around Daerim station exit 12. There are quite a few of these Chinese areas such as in Ansan, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Busan, etc.
Daerim station's Chinatown has the little stalls and such but it also has many top notch Chinese restaurants for people that want real Chinese food. What I mean about that is: Koreans generally don't like a lot of typical herbs associated with the foods such as cilantro, Szechwan peppers, or star anise. So in order to get this, you really need to go where the Chinese eat.
To start we had some spicy lamb stew called maratang at Bongja Maratang. According to Chad, it is the most famous place in the area. Maratang is a spicy stew with glass noodles, veggies and lots of lamb. I have to say that here it tasted really Chinese because I could taste the Szechwan peppercorns, the star anise and cilantro. It was like an oriental curry. We also had some meat dumplings but these were nothing to write home about. I thought the skin was too thick and the filling had an anise taste. Sorry, but a tad weird.
The best dish we had there was a pork dish that had slivers of pork mixed with chilies, cilantro and onion. The chili oil and the savory pork was freshened by the cilantro.
For price, this place is great value for money. Every dish was under 10,000 won (10usd). I will definitely be back.
Address: South Korea Seoul Yeongdeungpogu Daerimdong 1056-78
For second round we went to
Dure Bar (두레바). This place's concept is a modern Korean drinking pub. The place has a colorful and cute feel. Luckily beer and soju goes well with Chinese food. I mean really well. We asked the waitress for a recommendation and she told us that we should get the clams. We also ordered some xiaolongbao (Chinese soup dumplings). The dumplings (again) were bready and not soupy at all. I am starting to realize that making dumplings takes major skill and I might be better off going to Din Tai Fung or Jade Palace for these. Anyway, the clams had a flavorful garlic and ginger sauce with chili and cilantro. It was really outstanding. We also had a fresh veggie dish (I needed a salad). This was quite good but the spicy green chilies made it difficult to enjoy the combination of cucumbers, green onions, cilantro and chili vinegar. We also had some lamb that was served with dry tofu skins and fresh veggies for wrapping. Also quite good. The lamb was cooked in like a hoisin sauce and it paired well in the veggie and tofu wrap.
Here the price is a bit more (about 13-15,000 (13-15usd) a dish. The atmosphere is good if you are looking for a place to grab a drink and a bite.
Dure Bar 두레바
South Korea Seoul Yeongdeungpogu Daerimdong Dorimno38gil 7
Oh on the way out we also saw some other cool stuff like soondae stuffed peppers and eggplant and steamed lobsters and crabs. For good eats, check out Daelim Station exit 12!
- Posted on my iPhone 5s via my dancing thumbs I call Thumbalyn and Thumbadumb.