New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

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Name: New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

Location: Hapjeong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on January 31st 1015.

 
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THOUGHTS: Just a short walk from the subway station towards a street sprawling with nice restaurants and fancy cafes, a turn into could be mistaken for an alley or car park entrance lands you at New York Makgeolli. It’s unassuming location and signage make it an easy spot to miss. It’s tented front section (in winter) shelters red tables that would not be out of place in a street food vendor’s stall (포장마차). Beyond the threshold thought there is a tightly packed, bustling restaurant with a couple of rooms and ample seating. A popular location with locals getting their makgeolli buzz either after dinner, or before hitting the town.

 LOCATION                                    FOOD

 Service:   * * * *                                   Stuffed Squid (오징어 순대) * * * * (Chewy, tender, filling, delicious)

 Style:       * * *                                     Grilled Pork (오겹살) * * *  (Tender, mild, a little sweet)

 Ambience:  * * * *                                Kimchi Jeon (김치전) * * * (Soft, tangy, average )

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OVERALL:  * * *  3 stars

MAKGEOLLI

Song Myeong Sub (송명섭) * * * * 4 stars (Nicely sour, dry, medium body, Chalky)

Shindong Makgeolli (신동 막걸리) * * * 3 stars (Aromatic, Vanilla, Sweet, Watery)

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Note: This bar actually sells two variants of Shindong: a 9% and a 12%. They also do a half and half, mixing the two together.

Gyeongju Bopju (경주법주) * * * 3 stars (Yeasty, light, carbonated, dry)

Beoldeok Ju (벌떡주) * * * 3 stars (Sweet, sharp, “Korean pumpkin candy”)

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Note: Beoldeok is a spirit and not a Makgeolli ~ You’ll recognize the bottle by the extremely phallic bottle top:)

What Mamas & Papas liked: The Service. The staff were generally very attentive, despite the place being very busy when we visited. Our night started in the tented outdoor front section, however as space cleared up inside we were promptly moved inside to more comfortable seating. The owner seems to know about makgeolli, which is always good. He explained a little about the types he had on offer, and also revealed that he is studying makgeolli brewing himself. This is the kind of passion we like to see from makgeolli bar owners, and a knowledge of brewing skills will perhaps lead to a more varied selection of brews available at the bar.  Mamas & Papas were also quite satisfied with the food, with one mama commenting ‘feels like a fusion dish’.

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What Mamas & Papas Disliked: The Selection. Despite having several makgeolli types to choose from, almost everything on the menu was sweetened with the exception of Song Myeong Sub (송명섭). This is quite a common finding in the nightlife/술집 type makgeolli bars, which don’t tend to curate a wide palate of brews.  One papa commented on the Sindong Makgeolli combo as “This is a 750ml aspartame hand grenade, and there’s no expiration date”. Also the lack of any premium brews was a little disappointing as well. This place is a popular location on the local Korean nightlife scene and as such it seems to be catering to the preference for sweet makgeolli, which has been the trend here for some time.

Serious makgeolli decisions....
Serious makgeolli decisions….
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…made in the cold…
...but totally worth it
…but totally worth it

Recommendation: This is a great place to come for some light food and some drinks before heading out into the Hapjeong/Hongdae area for your night of fun. It’s usually busy on the weekends and that can either be great or not depending on your style. This isn’t really a good place for quiet drinks and conversation, however if you are on a night out it is certainly a good place to soak up the rowdy atmosphere. The prices are reasonable and won’t break the bank, however there is nothing on the drinks menu that is above entry level table makgeolli, so the caveat is the selelection. All in all it’s an enjoyable place to start your evening.

Statue of Makberty

How to get there:  Come out of Hapjeong station exit 4 and walk straight briefly before taking the first left before the main road. After a couple of moments walkding down the hill you will see a carpark on your left, and just beyond that you will find New York Makgeolli tucked away down a little alley way.

Address: 010-3130-4532 서울 마포구 서교동 394-20

Map: Here

Have you ever visited New York Makgeolli? Share your experience with the community by posting a comment here, or leave a message on our facebook page!

MoMoKo (모모코)

Name:  MoMoKo (모모코)

Location: Seochodong, Nambu Bus Terminal.

Reviewed By:  Mamas and Papas on 22nd of March

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Thoughts: Venturing off the beaten track in a city like Seoul always yields unexpected and memorable results. Getting off at Nambu terminal station and walking through what seems like any other outer district of Seoul will take you past  ubiquitous apartment buildings, little coffee shops and to MoMoKo. This is not the half house/half tent, cheap Makgeolli in steel kettles, marker pen romances on the walls joint that you may expect. MoMoKo is a polished, homely and accomplished restaurant, with the open kitchen routinely illuminated with the flare of flambéed meat dishes. The walls are confusingly adorned with the likenesses of cats, endearingly hand painted performing various acts of feline mischief which entertain as the large bowls of the vividly coloured, fruit makgeolli smoothies (for which this place is known) are brought forth to our table of wide eyed makgeolli lovers.

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Location

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Food: 20140322191507378

Pork and Raddish Wraps (간장삼겹살): **** 4 stars (Sweet, Sour, Tangy, Succulent)

Pork belly and Lotus Chips (된장삼겹살):  ***** 5 stars (utterly delicious, umami, fried lotus garnish  )

Jjimdak (찜닭): *** 3 stars (soft, tender, spicy, nectarous)

Seared tuna (참치타다끼): **** 4 stars (delicate, silky, very onion-y,)

Seasoned Makchang (Intestines 막창): ***½  3 ½ Stars  (Smokey, Chewy, Spicey, rich)

Chili Cheese Fries: *** 3 stars (nacho cheesey, comfortable, shamefully seductive )

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Makgeolli

Oguksaeng (오국생): **1/2    2 1/2  stars (Convinience store makgeolli, mild, standard)

Blueberry (브루베리): **** 4 stars (Luxuriously thick, striking colour, delicious,)

Apple (사과): *** 3 stars(Mango overtones, creamy, very sweet, pulpy )

Tropical (트러피칼): *** 3 Stars (Tart, Febrezey, Zingy, passion fruit and cherry )

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The gorgeously thick blueberry makgeolli


What Mamas and Papas liked:
 The Food. Unquestionably this place is a restaurant before it’s a Makgeolli house (It is allegedly an Izakaya, though we are not quite sure how it fits into this category!). The restaurant is centered around it’s kitchen and has a very extensive menu. We ate a lot more than at regular meetings and would have kept on going. The prices are quite high, though not unreasonable, and all of the food (even the chili fries) went down well with the group. Their pork dishes are truly excellent and the Makchang was very well prepared. I think most of the group would eat there again given the opportunity. Highly Recommendable.

 

20140322192712553What Mamas and Papas disliked: The Makgeolli. The blueberry cocktail was undeniably the favourite in terms of general consensus. Leaps and bounds beyond the makgeolli based cocktails available in most stores. All of the cocktails are made with a Oguksaeng makgeolli base. This is a cheap, supermarket bottle, which you could call the best of the worst. In terms of what is available in stores, it is one of the more acceptable. However, as the focus of this restaurant is undoubtedly the food, as the selection of edible delicacies far outstrips what is on offer in terms of makgeolli.

Recommendations:   A nice restaurant for a date if you are in the area. It is also accommodating for large groups, making it quite flexible. If you are in the Nambu bus station area, or a couple of subway stops away at Seoul National University of Education, then it definitely worth your while to visit. I think the most enjoyment could be had by those who are not too familiar with makgeolli, as the cocktails may be the perfect gateway drink for those yet to be charmed by this most wonderfully diverse of alcohols. Also, a must for cat lovers …

How do I get there?  Come out of Nambu Bus Terminal Station on line 3, Exit 4-2.  Walk straight until you hit the big intersection with a Hana Bank on the corner.  Turn right here and walk straight.  You should see Hyundai Superville Apartments on your right.  Keep walking until the street comes to an intersection.  Cross the intersection and keep walking straight and the bar should be on the corner of the second intersection.

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Address:  1451-74 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu,  Seoil Bldg  (서울특별시 서초구 서초동 1451-74 서일빌딩 1층)

Map:  Here

Number: 02-583-3060

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

Wolhyang – Hongdae

Wolyhang has now been personally reviewed, check out our review here.

Name: Wolhyang

Location: Hongdae

Recommended by: Twitter/Word of Mouth
Wolhyang Food - Seoultaste

What we have heard: Wolhyang has a strong reputation no matter who we talk to as having top grade,fresh makgeolli and good quality food. Being located in the Hongdae area, it seems it doesn’t have the same high-brow atmosphere as some of its more famous counterparts (Chez Maak, Moon Jar, Maakholic) but it also reportedly doesn’t skimp on quality. Wolhyang comes listed as one of CNN’s 5 best makgeolli bars, with the big surprise being that they offer take-out bottles and food. It is one of the most well-known and highly reputed makgeolli bars around, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table…or think ahead and make a reservation!

Address: Seoul-si Mapo-gu Seogyo-dong 335-4 F2
서울 마포구 서교동 335-4번지 2층

Map: Here

Contact:02 332 9202 / yiyoyong@naver.com

Links to other sites for Wolhyang: CNN’s 5 Best Makgeolli bar list is here

Have you been to Wolhyang?  Agree with what we have heard, or have a different opinion?  Comment below on your experiences for other Makgeolli lovers, or send us your own review using our Guest Template.

MoonJar – (달빛 술담)

Name: MoonJar (달빛 술담)

Location: Sinsa-dong

Reviewed by:Mamas ‘& Papas on: 11th August, 2012

Thoughts:  MoonJar is one of the most famous places to go for an upmarket makgeolli experience, though a little difficult to find for some of us.  It’s always busy (especially on weekends) and despite the spacious interior, reservations are a must if you want in.  The service was prompt, though a little abrupt, and the atmosphere was young and trendy.  We chose MoonJar in particular to check out their makgeolli cocktail range, so our Mamas & Papas focused their reviewing taste buds on a selection of three different cocktails.

LOCATION                                       FOOD

Service:        ***                                Haemul Pajeon (해물파전) :  ***1/2

Style:             ***                                Bossam (보쌈):    ****

Ambience:  ***

OVERALL:  ***

MAKGEOLLI

Citrus Cocktail  (유자):   **1/2   (sweet, silky, appley, earthy)

Honey Cocktail (꿀):       **  (sweet, thick, simple)

Plum wine Cocktail (복분자): ***1/2 (sweet, bit tart, yoghurt-like)

Baedari sal Makgeolli (배다리쌀): **** (dry, light, fresh)


MoonJar is a large, two story establishment in the upmarket lanes of trendy Sinsa-dong, with a unique country-like interior.  There are a number of different levels and sections for large groups or small, giving off the feeling of privacy without actually being in a private room.  The white walls and wooden furniture are offset by low mood lighting, but the whole place is buzzing with  customers and loud music.  The atmosphere is one of liveliness and movement, with one Mama commenting ‘I feel like I’m at a club, not in a makgeolli bar.’

What Mamas & Papas liked : The food.  There is no mistaking the Sinsa-dong quality of what comes out of the MoonJar kitchen.  The Bossam was a particular hit (one Papa describing it as ‘Top Drawer’) as it comes with not only pork but also duck, and excellent kimchi as an accompaniment.  Bear  in mind that this place is on the expensive side of town, so expect the expensive price tag of 29,000won for one serving.

The Pajeon was also well received, thick and crispy on the outside, soft in the middle.  Although the cocktails were not generally raved about by our Mamas & Papas, we did also try some regular makgeolli, which was crisp and refreshing.  One Mama said the regular makgeolli was ‘dry and enjoyable, tastes like what  I would expect the drink to be like.’

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The sweet cocktails.  All three selections from the cocktail menu were heavily sweetened, which didn’t suit most Mamas & Papa’s palates.  One Mama described the Honey cocktail as ‘not like makgeolli, more like a unique, new kind of latte’.  We enjoyed sampling them, though most people would not order them again.  The Bokbunja (plum wine) makgeolli cocktail was the least sweet of the three, and was liked better by our reviewers.

Mamas & Papas also felt the music was a little too loud for our table to have comfortable conversation.  We were, however, seated right under the Bose speakers, so be sure to mention it to your servers if that’s where you are seated!

MoonJar is certainly a beautiful place, and the quality of food and makgeolli is undeniable.  It is a good place if you’re looking for a special occasion…or maybe even a hot date…but it’s perhaps not ideal for a relaxed, more laid-back makgeolli experience.

 

How to get there:

Head to Apgujeong Station on Line 3 and come out of exit 2.  Take a U-Turn and follow the main street down for about 10 minutes until you see a large crosswalk with a Gas Station on the opposite side of the road.  Cross the road and turn right, follow the street until you see the Shinhan Personal Finance Centre on the opposite side of the main street.  That’s when you should turn left down a small street, and walk for a few blocks.  Moon Jar is the large white building on the left, opposite Aland.

Address:

강남구 644-19 신사동

Map

Links:

MoonJar  has received a number of other reviews, so if you’d like to check out what other people thought of it, here are some links.

Seoul Grid has a good review here with a lot of interior pictures.

CNNGo’s Elizabeth Eun wrote up MoonJar as one of the 5 best makgeolli bars here.

Their own website is here.

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