Sometimes you have to give a restaurant a second chance. Chin Chin in Hongdae had a reputation for having great food, however, I never understood the hype. My first experience at Chin Chin was…meh. The rice wine, makgeolli, was great-but the food wasn’t anything spectacular. I ordered a grilled mackerel dish and I remember getting an tiny, almost spoiled fish- it didn’t go well with the Makgeolli. The chef, a recent graduate of CIA, was bolting out the door as soon as it was served. I mentioned my problem with the dish and they told me the kitchen had closed.
The second time I went, I stuck with just the Makgeolli.
My last trip back, I noticed that the excellent makgeolli was still there, but there was a new chef. The food had traditional Korean flavor fused with modern techniques and plating. I was utterly amazed. My favorite dish was the very crispy, tempura ginseng. The battered, pan-seared fish was also excellent.
Name: Chin Chin (친친)
Phone: 02-334-1476, 010-7252-2001
English Spoken, English Menu
Type: Makeolli (Korean Rice Wine) Bar and Fusion Restaurant
Directions: Go out Hongdae Station Exit 5 and make a left and the second right (at Coffee Brown). Go all the way up to Hongdae University Entrance. At the intersection in front of Hongdae, make a left. You’ll find Chin Chin next to Starbucks.
Address: 343-9, Sekyo-dong, Mapo-ku, Seoul, Korea (서울시 마포구 서교동 343-9)