ZenKimchi Seoul Restaurant Expat Guide 2015

Hello makgeolli lovers ~

For those of you who live in Seoul we have a special treat for you…

Joe McPherson is the founding editor of ZenKimchi, Korea’s longest running food blog, which has now been in operation for 10 years! He has written  for The Wall Street Journal, Roads & Kingdoms, Plate Magazine, 10 Magazine, The Korea Herald, SEOUL Magazine, Newsweek Korea, JoongAng Ilbo, and others. He has also consulted for CNN’s “Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain,” National Geographic, The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” and the PBS documentary “The Kimchi Chronicles.” He has been an expert source for The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Lonely Planet, The Los Angeles Times….

…and now he has just published his very own Seoul Restaurant Expat Guide for 2015.


Ever wondered where to eat on a budget? looking for a specific type of cuisine? want to impress your date and need just the right place to take them? Well this book is for you. The most up to date, well indexed and entertaining food guide for Seoul is now available for your Kindle from Amazon.

You may be wondering why we are promoting this seemingly non-makgeolli related item. Well of course because we are featured in it. Makgeolli Mamas & Papas have contributed their Top 10 makgeolli bars in Seoul for the guide!

Curious as to what they may be? well you know where to look!     Right…..  here


Get out and munch some great food alongside some quality makgeolli!


Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Name: Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan

Location: Yeonnamdong (연남동)


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.


Service: **** 4 stars

Style: ** 2 stars

Ambience: *** 3 stars



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

Fried Pork (재육복음) *** 3 Stars


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

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


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!


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.


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! 

MowMow (모우모우)

Name: Mowmow (모우모우)

Location: Itaewon

Reviewed by:Mamas ‘& Papas on: 1st September, 2012

Thoughts:  Mowmow is fairly new on the scene, and we had heard good things about the quality makgeolli and food.  Mamas & Papas didn’t rave about the food, but the makgeolli was undoubtedly of top quality.

LOCATION                                       FOOD

Service:        **1/2                              Kimchi/Dubu/Pepper Jeon (모든 전류) :  ***

Style:             ***                                   Moosam(무쌈):    ***1/2

Ambience:  ***1/2



MowMow makgeolli (모모막걸리):   ***   (light, banana hints, fresh, thin)

Maemil makgeolli (메밀막걸리):       ***  (yogurt-like, floral, astringent, sweet)

Deoksan makgeolli (덕산막걸리): ***1/2 (gritty, tart, smokey, lemony)


Photo Credit: Jay Lim

MowMow is in the back alleys of Itaewon, perched high on the hill.  If you’re wondering where the name ‘MowMow’ came from, it stands for ‘Makgeolli or Wine’, so if the makgeolli doesn’t float your boat you can opt for a bottle of vino instead.  It has an ultra modern interior with a busy atmosphere, and it fits right in to this part of the neighborhood.  The makgeolli menu available is of good quality, and has been well selected to suit first time makgeolli drinkers.

What Mamas & Papas liked : The Deoksan (덕산) makgeolli.  Most of the makgeolli on offer are crowd pleasers, easy to drink and on the sweet side.  The Deoksan was a nice balance of sweet and slightly sour makgeolli, and had a refreshing taste.  One Mama said ‘it reminds me of flowers on a spring day, really unique.’  Mamas & Papas also liked the menu descriptions in English.  It was nice to be able to get a description of the makgeolli ingredients and where it comes from for those who may not be familiar with different kinds of makgeolli.  We also tried one of the many makgeolli cocktails, the espresso makgeolli, and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  One Mama called it ‘a good dessert makgeolli.’

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The food variety.  There are a lot of different kinds of Jeon on the menu, and we were excited to try something a little different.  However after trying a few, we realized they weren’t really that different at all and were following the same kind of formula and recipe.  One mama described it as ‘Good, but nothing memorable’.  The Jeon also came out in small individual sizes, as opposed to a large portion for all to share.  Mamas & Papas were left a little hungry at this meeting.

Mamas & Papas were also not very comfortable in the group seating.  We were crammed up next to another table and had to climb over each other to get to the bathroom.  The service was a bit lacking and we were mostly left to our own devices.

Recommendation: Mowmow is a great place if you have never tried makgeolli before and you want to be in a bustling, busy atmosphere.  It certainly suits the neighborhood, and if you’re looking to take some makgeolli first-timers somewhere quality, Mowmow fits the bill.


                               Photo Credit: Jay Lim 

How to get there:

Take Line 2 to Itaewon station and come out of exit 1.  Walk down the street and take the second right, you should walk past Tartine and you will come up on an intersection.  Walk up this street until you see a Family Mart (though probably will be a  CU soon) and Mowmow is up the hill on the right.


서울 용산구 이태원동 118-71



Mowmow was reviewed by 10 Magazine here.

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