MMPK January 7th Meeting Registration Open!!

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It’s a brand new year Mamas & Papas and we couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of tasting and exploring the awesome world of Korean traditional alcohol.  We have been meeting regularly for 5 years now, and that means we have covered a lot of makgeolli ground.  We have visited over  60 different bars in our time, so finding awesome new places that wow us can be somewhat of a challenge.  So we take it as a good sign that 2017 will be a fantastic year, when our first meeting location is so incredible we wondered how we could have missed it!

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Located in the Sinchon area not too far from Hongdae is an amazing culinary find.  Not only has the food been highly praised by other chefs in the Korean dining community, but one look at the fridge tells us he also carefully curates his makgeolli selection to be some of the absolute finest.

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The interior is not the largest, so we will keep the numbers at this meeting at a smaller level.

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If you would like to join us to kick off our makgeolli exploration for the year, send an email to mmpkorea@gmail.com and get in quick 🙂

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Registration for December 3rd Meeting Open!!

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The silly season is officially upon us, and due to some afore mentioned turkey commitments November’s meeting has been pushed back to this Saturday December 3rd.  The weather is getting chilly and that means hot, comforting pajeon and smooth makgeolli is just the ticket!

jeon

The location is south of the river very near Goseok Terminal and promises to be some good old fashioned classic dishes with plenty of good makgeolli, cheongju and soju to be sampled.  If you would like to join us, send an email to mmpkorea@gmail.com for a spot 🙂

Registration for September 24th Meeting Open!!

The light at the end of that long dark summer tunnel is clear!  And we have just the place to enjoy some awesome Korean alcohol and equally delicious food.  Our meeting this Saturday will be to check out the rather new location of Wolhyang.

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For those of you who might have followed our tastings in previous years, Wolhyang was one of the first makgeolli bars to offer higher quality brews in a more modern dining atmosphere.  A name which has become synonymous with makgeolli bars, the previous locations in Hongdae and Seogyeo-dong were sadly closed, and now we have a new look and menu at the Yeoido location to peruse!

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One of the special things about Wolhyang is that they offer variations of their own house brew, including their wonju (which for all the brewers out there that know is the un-watered down version 😉 )

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So if you would like to check out the new Yeoido location of Wolhyang with us this Saturday, send an email to mmpkorea@gmail.com to sign up!

Korean Traditional Alcohol Tours

We here at MMPK have been operating Korean traditional alcohol tours for the past year or so through our network of makgeolli lovers and personal recommendations.  After thorough beta testing and development, we are now ready to launch our services to the world at large, and therefore have designed a brand new website to better showcase all the services we offer.  From tasting tours, brewery & museum tours, private brewing classes, brewing certificate courses and our international client consulting, we have developed services for all your makgeolli and Korean alcohol needs!

So if you are looking for something special and unique to do while in Korea, or simply want to broaden your alcohol knowledge horizons, check out our new service website and get in touch 🙂

Korean Traditional Alcohol Tours Website

The Masters Tour

Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Name: Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Location: Unni dong (Anguk Station) (운니동 )

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on May 28th 2016

Interior shot
The Traditional Hanok interior


Thoughts: After taking a stroll through the traditional streets of Unni dong, one can stumble upon this recently renovated hanok that has been transformed into a home for Korean traditional alcohol.  With a fridge that boasts some of the best makgeolli available on the market, and an inspired menu of delicate flavors, Unni Sarang Bang can be a quiet place to dine and enjoy.

Location

Service:         **** 4 Stars

Style:            ***** 4 Stars

Ambience:   **** 4 Stars

Overall:         **** 4 Stars

Yongha explaingin
Detailed explanations of the menu are available

Food

Bossam 보쌈                            4.5 **** (Juicy, tender, deep flavoured)

Deodeok Duck 더덕덕            5 ***** (delicate, complex, surprising)

Guacamole & Nachos            5 ***** (perfect)

Spring leaf Jeon 봄나물 전    4 **** (earthy, green, light)

deodeok duck
The Deodeok Duck was a favorite of the evening

                                          

Makgeolli

Jahuihyang Nabi 자희향 나바                       4**** (refreshing, light, floral)

Cheonbihyang 천비향 탁주                            4**** (citrus, tart, tangy)

Samyangchoon 삼양춘                                   4*** (milky, buttery, creamy)

Hansan Sogokju 한산 소곡주                        3*** (smokey, earthy, sherry)

Sool-ah  술아                                                    3.5*** (Strong, sweet, syrupy)

Solseongju  솔성주                                          3*** (Pine, crisp, bitter)

guacamole and chips
Few can resist Guacamole!



What we liked: The Food.  We couldn’t stop raving about the food.  The flavors were so delicate and complex, and despite the traditional atmosphere, the dishes were updated and modern takes on classic Korean pairings.  It was a first time for any of our Mamas & Papas to have the opportunity to match makgeolli with guacamole, and it was a happy experience.  We were also very pleased with the extensive selection of top-shelf brews to choose from.  Two of our guests visiting from overseas exclaimed ‘Beats the pants off anything you can get in Thailand’. 

Note:  We have received word that the chef has since changed since our visit, so there may be some food menu changes.

Group shot
A satisfied group of MMPK Tasters

What we disliked: The limited range of regular makgeolli.  No denying the fridge was truly a sight to behold, however many of our Mamas & Papas expressed an interest in trying some lower alcohol content makgeolli.  One Papa commented ‘This would be a sit and sip kind of place, rather than a drink with friends place.’

Recommendation: If you find yourself in the Anguk / Insadong area and would like a peaceful respite with excellent food and Korean alcohol, this is your place.  The hanok location also makes it great for taking visitors to Korea to experience quality makgeolli in a beautiful setting.

Outside sign
The Outdoor Signage



Directions:
 Come out of Anguk Station (line 3) exit 4 and follow the main road as you pass a palace grounds on the left hand side.  When you reach Deoksung Women’s University on the corner, turn left.  Follow this street down until your third left, which will be a small narrow alley.  The restaurant is an old Hanok on the left about halfway down the alley with the doors wide open for you to come in.

Phone Number: 02-742-3633

Map: Here

Have you visited Unni Sarang Bang? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What were your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

Clear Booze (맑은 술)

Name: Clear Booze (맑은 술)

Location: Jongno 5 ga (

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on April 30th 2016

Group SHot

Thoughts: Tucked away in one of the small alleys of the super trendy area of Yeonnam-dong, this is a makgeolli bar with a certain kind of style.  The owner is passionate about carrying a variety of makgeolli that don’t contain any artificial sweetners, and his menu has a distinct seafood theme.  A cosy, no-frills interior with dark lighting makes for a great shelter from the ever-popular streets of Yeonnam.

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: **** 3 Stars

Ambience: **** 3 Stars

Overall: **** 3.5 Stars

The Deonjang Buchoo Jeon was a hit
The Deonjang Buchoo Jeon was a hit
The whole grilled squid
The whole grilled squid
Tuna Jeon
Tuna Jeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food

Kimchi Jeon 묵은 김치전 4 stars (clean, well seasoned, balanced)

Whole Grilled Squid 오징어 통구의 3.5 stars (textured, unique, for seafood lovers)

Deonjang Buchu Jeon 된장 부추전  5 stars (complex, tasty, satisfying)

Potato Jeon 감자 번 4.5 stars (spongy, flavorful, comfort food)

Haechang Makgeolli
Haechang Makgeolli
Seonho Makgeolli
Seonho Makgeolli

 

 

 

 

 

A sample given as a welcome drink
A sample given as a welcome drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makgeolli

Haechang 해창 막걸리                                3*** (dry, refreshing, bland, watery)

Gotaek Sticky Rice 고택찹쌀 생주          4**** (strong, sweet, fruity, wine-like)

Seon Ho 선호 막걸리                                   3*** (flavorful, light texture, slightly sour)

Domun Daejak 도문 대작 막걸리             4***** (silky, strong, earthy, boozy)

Cheong Yangju 청량주 막걸리                  3*** (Clean, dry, light, slightly acidic)

(Note:  Sweetener-free)

Dae Dae Po 대대포                                      3*** (meady, light, sweet, smooth)

 

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What we liked: The Service.  The owner of this bar is very much a makgeolli lover himself, and he takes pride in his stock of sweetener free makgeolli.  Upon arrival, we were served a special sample of brew he sourced directly from the brewery, and our Mamas & Papas were all impressed right off the bat.  After sharing our own thoughts on sweeteners, he gave us a tasting of a brew that he specifically asked the brewery to give him without sweeteners (see the above Cheong Yangju).  The favorite food of the evening was the Deonjang Buchoo Jeon, with one Mama exclaiming ‘It’s a completely new flavor for me!’

Reporter and bowl

What we disliked: The food variety.  Whilst all the food we had was well received and enjoyed, some commented on the lack of options for those not wanting seafood.  Most of the options on the menu are seafood based, so if you are not a fan or are looking for other meats you may be left a little peckish.

Happy Chatters

Recommendation: In a neighborhood fast becoming one of the trendiest hot-spots in Seoul, this bar offers something straight up and casual.  It’s a great place for people who enjoy unsweetened makgeolli and some hearty seafood fare at good prices.


ExteriorDirections: Come out of Hongik University Station exit 3 and walk straight.  As you hit a small intersecting street, turn right and follow the road.  Take the third alley on your right and you will see a Chinese restaurant up top, and the makgeolli bar is in the basement   서울 마포구 동교로34길 12.

Address: 서울 마포구 동교로34길 12.

Phone Number: 02-323-4633

Map: Here

 

 

Have you visited Hidden Alley? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What were your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

2015 Jarasum Makgeolli Festival – Wrap up

Jipyeong with Fifties Girls

As November oh so quickly rolls in, we say goodbye to yet another Makgeolli Festival, and this one was truly something special.  As many may know, the last Thursday of every October is designated as ‘Makgeolli Day’.  NurukEvery year from this day, and following through the whole weekend, you can always expect some kind of celebration in the name of our favorite rice brew.   In previous years we have seen various different festivals in Seoul, but this year marks the first event outside the capital, and sets a precedent for what may be a regular fixture on the ‘must-do’ calendar.

Favorite Fish Man

                                                        Jarasum (Jara Island) has been made famous by the annual Jazz festival, which brings exceptional artists from around the globe for a weekend of good music and outdoor fun.

This past weekend marked the inaugural Jarasum Makgeolli Festival, which set its sights on bringing together not just all the makgeolli from around the nation, but also bringing food pairings from makgeolli bars and local producers.

We were especially privileged to taste the fish from this master (pictured right), who grills some of the best Godingeo (고딩어) ever tasted.  He took festival friendliness to a new level, bringing our hungry Happy Hour guests some fresh grilled fish.  Look out for this guy next time, he knows what he’s doing 🙂

As for MMPK, we had a lot of work to do!

Dan Julz InstructingWe were so excited to have the opportunity to bring all the things that we have learned to a festival, bringing tastings galore.  For anyone who might have attended one of our meetings or tours, they know that we are passionate about supporting the smaller brewers on the market, and this was a chance to bring those hardworking brewers to the fore!  We offered Artisan Tasting Sessions, with a lineup curated to show the best of what is on offer in bars around Seoul.  All brews were aspartame free and had a variety of flavor profiles that appealed to a range of palates.  The best part about the sessions?  Being able to tell the stories behind every brew, and hearing the equally varied feedback on from our eager tasters.   Below is this year’s MMPK Artisan Tasting Lineup:

Artisan Tasting - CheonbihyangArtisan Tasting - Domun Daejak


 

 

 

 

 

 

Artisan Tasting - Gotaek Saengju

Artisan Tasting - Jahuihyang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artisan Tasting - Mangangae Bichindal

Artisan Tasting - Samyangchoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Llwy Julz Brewers TastingBut tasting wasn’t limited to just the Artisans, the expat brewing community also brought their entries for the fourth annual Susubori Academy Expat Makgeolli Brewing Contest.  For the past four years, expats in the makgeolli brewing community have been concocting their own special brews to compete for the title.  Last year Mark Salinas took the number one spot with a brew incorporating water and mugwart brought laboriously from a hike to Bukhansan (Bukhan Mountain).

 

 

Tasting Table

This year included a diverse and creative selection, with infusions and recipe experimentation the likes of which we had yet seen.  During the festival, whomever came to the booth could taste from the ten entrants and vote for their favorite.  The winners are yet to be announced, but we will be sure to update as soon as they come through!

Brewing Class MixingIf that wasn’t all, MMPK also teamed up with Makgeolli Makers & Susubori Academy to offer free Introduction to Brewing Makgeolli Classes.  Twice a day, both on Saturday and Sunday, visitors could get their basic grounding in the world of makgeolli brewing and take home their very own brew.

Saturday Morning Class Montage

 

And then there was the festival itself!

Rock Stage

The main tent in the middle of grounds was continually abuzz with musical performances and food stalls, getting particularly rowdy when it hit after 8pm 🙂  And as the days dawned with crisp air (albeit cold enough for eyebrow-sicles in the very wee hours), with blue skies and mountains as a backdrop, it was hard not to be in a good mood.  Tents lined up surrounding the main tent, giving out samples of their wares as well as exhibitions of Korea’s finest representations of alcohol.

3 makgeolli bottles I Makgeolli U

As each day came to a close, the MMPK tent went into Happy Hour mode.  With endless brews and endless meat on hand, crew and visitors ate and drank the night away under the clear, star filled sky until their toes were numb.

After all the preparation, anticipation and running of the event, there is just one thing that sticks in our minds as the most memorable.  The people of our community are what make these festivals not just possible, but also joyful and just a rollicking good time.   We are nothing if not the people who support us, and that was more than evident this past weekend.  So we would like to give a heartfelt ~ Thank You ~ to our Brewers, Volunteers, and Supporters (yes, you all get capitals 😉 ) because without you, we would would never have been able to have such an awesome event.

Hungover Chat

We can’t wait till next year for the next installment of the Jarasum Makgeolli Festival 🙂

Until then Mamas & Papas 🙂

 

Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Name: Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan

Location: Yeonnamdong (연남동)

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Thoughts: Like many of the Makgeolli bars dotted around Seoul this one finds itself in an inconspicuous, treasure trove of an alleyway between donggyodong junction and Yeonsei University. If you weren’t looking for anything specific you would be forgiven for walking past the alley and missing out on a microcosm of wonderful little cafes and restaurants, including Korea Bistro. It has a fair selection of lower and mid priced Makgeolli, and seems to fit itself snugly in the alcove between Makgeolli bar and cafeteria diner with groups of revelers drinking and laughing as common as individuals having dinner and a few cups of Makgeolli to themselves.

LOCATION

Service: **** 4 stars

Style: ** 2 stars

Ambience: *** 3 stars

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FOOD

Gopchang Jeongol (pig intestine soup) 곱창전골 *** 3 stars

Fried Pork (재육복음) *** 3 Stars

MAKGEOLLI

DaeDaePo 대대포 (Sweet, Smooth, Honey, Light) *** 3.5 Stars

SongMyungSeop 송명섭 (Dry, Pungent, Complex, crisp) **** 4 Stars

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It seems as though the have potential to stock a lot of Makgeolli however at the time we visited they didn’t have too many non-aspartame selections. The staff were passionate however and it seems as though they were tasting a lot of interesting varieties with a view to add to the menu…. watch this space!

What We Liked: The Style. This is a cozy little place with low lighting and plenty of space. The staff were very friendly and willing to help and offer suggestions from the Makgeolli and food menus. This is a place that isn’t prohibitive to individuals coming in on their own to enjoy a meal for one with a nice refreshing cup of Makgeolli as an accompaniment. Many restaurants in Korea only provide menu items to be shared among groups, however this little place caters for all possibilities: with large items for groups and smaller, very reasonably priced individual meals available too. The best part: the food is actually very good, with lots of side dishes to boot! yummy!

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What We Disliked: The Selection. Unfortunately as mentioned before there are not many options for additive free or premium Makgeolli. For non aspertame it was Dae Dae Po or SongmyeongSeop. If you don’t mind aspertame then there is quite a variety of bottles available. It does seem like a newer place and as such may be still finding it’s feet regarding its drinks menu – we hope it will branch out a little more and offer some bottles from the upper end of the market makgeolli selection.

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Recommendation. Come on your own and have a couple of cheeky bottles with dinner or bring your friends and have dinner and a chat in what is a popular but not rowdy establishment. Either way you approach it – as a diner or as a bar – I am sure you will find something for your taste on the cheap and extensive food menu and you enjoy your time in this comfortable and friendly venue.

How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station Exit 3 and double back to the main road and turn left towards dongyodong junction. Walk straight for about 6 mins and you will pass a Gimbap restaurant with a craft beer pub on the second floor. Turn left, go down the alley and it will be the first store on the left.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 연남동 227-1

map: Here

Have you been to Korea Bistro before? Tried more dishes or have any opinions or experience to share? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think! 

Mat Gori 맛거리

Name: Mat Gori (맛거리)

Location: Hwagok

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on 27th September

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Thoughts:  This is a spot for Makgeolli lovers and a great place to discover the variety of different beverages which belong to this fantastically diverse category of alcohol. The pun of their name sounds like Makgeolli but means Tasty Street in Korean. It is indeed a flavour filled location here as the fridges at Mat Gori are stocked full of most things from basic table makgeolli right up to some of the best premium non-aspertame bottles. They even on occasion have their home brewed magkeolli.

LOCATION

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3 Stars

Ambience: *** 3 Stars

OVERALL: *** 3,5 Stars

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Food

Salad (Fresh, Nice dressing. “Just perfect” said one Makgeolli Mama) **** 4 Stars

Potato Based Pizza (Soft, Hash Brown Based, Little Soggy) *** 3 Stars

Recommended Makgeolli:

GeumJeong San 금정산성: (Tangy, Thick, Med/Full Body) *** 3.5 Stars

I-Sang-Hyung 이상현: (Dry Strong “Sophisticated”, Rich) ***** 4.5 Stars

Cheon Bi Hyang 천비향: (Creamy, Sweet, Floral, Boozy) **** 4 Stars

Moon Hui  문희: (Sweet, Fruity Citrus notes) *** 3.5 Stars

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What We liked : The Makgeolli.

A bit of an obvious thing to say we liked, however this place keeps a full fridge of possibilities, and you can guarantee with the selection that available that there will be something to everyone’s taste. So if you prefer something light, fleeting and sweet and your companion is more of a full bodied, spirit loving, top shelf alcohol connoisseur then you can bet you will both leave satisfied with full bellies.  The prices at Mat Gori are also very reasonable so you can sample as much as you like without breaking the bank.

What we didn’t like: The Location.

The venue itself is a nice no thrills restaurant which is in equal measures comfortable and rowdy depending on your timing. However it’s location in Hwagok is a little bit awkward to find. While it is only a few minutes walking distance from the subway it is located on a little side street which may make it a little tough to find for first timers. Although really as far as makgeolli houses go this place is a solid contributor and it is hard to pick fault with anything that they do.

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Recommendation: We would insist that you visit this place with a few of your friends, and soak up the lively atmosphere. It is a bustling, exciting place with the laughs and shouts of people having a good time over drinks. The staff their are willing to offer advice, so if you are looking to try new things or to find something that suits your taste, then feel free to ask and they will use the best of their knowledge and experience to appease your curious palate.

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How to get there: Come out of Hwagok Station (화곡) line 5 exit 7.  Walk down the street and take your first right and follow this street a little way and you will see Mat Gori (맛거리) on the right hand side.

Address: 서울특별시 강서구 화곡3동 1065

Map: Here

Have you been to Mat Gori before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!

Chuseok Jeon Making Class Success!

Mamas & Papas came together to learn how to make a Chuseok staple: Jeon! We had expert instruction from the head chef at Muldwinda, who patiently coached us into making the perfect Jeon. We then successfully demolished all our jeon with plenty of delicious makgeolli. We are as ever grateful for the awesome hospitality we always receive when at Muldwinda. Keep your eyes open for more events like this in the future 🙂

 

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