Jeondae Gamdaek

Name: Jeondae Gamdaek (전대감댁)

Location: Gyeongbukgung (경북궁)

Reviewed by: Makgeolli Mamas and Papas on 12th April, 2014

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Thoughts: Down the winding alleyway near Gyeongbukgung station, passing an intersting mix of traditional market stores and much newer craft beer houses and restruants, you will find the rather unassuming front entrance of Jeondae Gamdaek. What lies inside is a very beautiful,  open hanook type complex. Decorated with plants, water pools containing fish in the open central courtyard, and all around busy tables attesting to this place’s recent surge in popularity. The place has a distinctly traditional feel and a great atmosphere that would be suitable for a small gathering or a slightly larger group – if you reserve in advance.

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Location

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Food:

Fatsia Jeon 두릅전 ***1/2,  3.5 Stars  (fried greens, greasy, tasty soy dip)

Pumpkin jeon 호박전   ****,  4 Stars (Crispy outside, soft interior, light)

Haemul pajeon 해물전  ***1/2,  3.5 Stars  (Egg based, large uncut veg, dense)

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Makgeolli:

Daedaepo 대대보 **** 4 stars (light, sweet, honey, floral tones)

geumjeongsan 금정산 ***½  3,5 stars (Sour palate, bite, aspertame)

Gaedo 개도  ** 2 stars (Sulfuric, wheat based, complex)

Fig Makgeolli 무화과막걸리 ***1/2  3.5 Stars (Very sweet, basic (장수) makgeolli based cocktail)
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What M&P Liked: The venue. The location is situated in what seems to be a neigbourhood in flux between the old and the new. For now it is a marvelous blend of what seoul was, and what it is becoming. The classic almost bucolic feel of the interior is a beautiful compliment to this neighbourhood and is certainly something that can be enjoyed by all who visit. The food and makgeolli selection were good, but there was nothing particularly unique that stood out on our visit.

What M&P Disliked: The Service. While the service was by no means bad, or unattentive, there were a couple of things which bothered us. The pace of service was quite good considering how busy the restaurant was on the night of our visit. However some of the food items we ordered which were unavailable, were replaced with other dishes. None-the-less this faux-pas was compensated for in the typical Korean style with some additional complimentary dishes .

Recommendations: This is a great place to come to soak in the atmosphere and talk in the open courtyard over a reasonable selection of makgeolli and your standard makgeolli house fare. Visitors would be well advised to look at the menu closely, as there is a secret additional book inside at the back which reveals a more thorough makgeolli list than is present in the menu proper.

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How do I get there?

Come out of Gyeongbukgung Station (Line 3) exit 2, and walk to the corner where there should be a Paris Baguette.  Turn left here (on the same side of the road as PB) and walk straight.  You will pass two right turns, and before you get to the third right, the bar should be on your right.  The entrance is quite small and is easy to miss, so take your time to thoroughly check the signs.

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Address: Seoul, Jongro-gu, Jahamunro 1 nagil 7-17.(서울특별시 종로구 자하문로1나길 7-17)

Number: 070-4202-5170

Map: here

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Majung (마중)

Name: Majung (마중)

Location: Insadong

Reviewed by: Mama’s and Papa’s on: September 21st, 2013

Thoughts: A lot of houses in Insadong pour their bottled makgeolli into a kettle and call it their ‘house makgeolli’, and you never get to know what it is or where it came from.  Majung offers a very impressive range and selection of makgeolli from all over the Peninsula, and their menu has more pages for makgeolli than it does for food.  It carries almost all of the usual makgeolli you can find in bars, but also has some unusual offerings to be sampled.

Majung inside

LOCATION

Overall: ***1/2(3.5 stars)

FOOD
Seafood Pajeon (해물파전): (Not too fishy, spicy, fresh) *** (3 Stars)

Pork belly Bokumbap (삼겹살 볶음밥): (spicy, crunchy, a little oily) *** (3 Stars)

Bossam (보쌈):  (tender, spicy kimchi, fatty) *** (3 Stars)

MAKGEOLLI

Neurin Maeul (느린마을): (fragrent, fruity, smooth, thick) **** (4 Stars)

Dae Dae Po (대대포): (Tasty, sweet, dry finish, enjoyable) ****1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Apple (사과 막걸리): (watery, sweet, syrupy, cider like, rich) **** (4 Stars)

Sami Inju (사미인주): (thick, honey, sweet, yogurt like)  *** (3 Stars)

 

Majung Bar

Majung is deep into the back alleys off the main road of Insadong, and housed in a hanok.  It has a busy atmoshpere, and it has a high turnover of thirsty customers.  The highlight of Majung is the sheer range of makgeolli they have on offer.  There is a bar which showcases bottle after bottle of all the different kinds of makgeolli you might like to sample.  The food selection is not extensive, but it does the job for accompanying the many brews.

What Mamas & Papas liked: The Dae Dae Po Makgeolli.  Of all the different makgeolli we tried, the Dae Dae Po came out on top, Majung Bokkumwith one Mama  commenting  ‘It became my favorite one as of the moment I took a sip’.  Mamas & Papas also loved having such a wide selection of makgeolli to choose from, and we could have stayed trying more well into the night.

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The service. Majung Seafood Pajeon It is a busy establishment, but the waiter consistently got our order wrong or forgot to bring new bottles.   One Papa commented ‘They just took way too long on the Mak.’  Mamas & Papas were also not overwhelmed by the quality of the food, and most described it to be of average anjou standard.

DaedaepoMama Julia’s Note:  Dae Dae Po does not contain aspartame, but contains stevioside, which is a natural sweetner derived from the stevia plant.  It also uses real bee’s honey, and comes in a rather unusually styled bottle.  The ‘Blue Label’ is in the style of a whiskey bottle, purportedly because the brewer is also a big whiskey fan.  He also has a ‘Red Label’ makgeolli, though I have yet to see it on the market.

Recommendation: Majung is a great location for those looking for a varied makgeolli experience in Insadong.  Although the food is not the star here, it is a great place to get your taste buds trying a variety of different kind of makgeolli.  The atmosphere is quite loud and bustling, and they can also accommodate large groups.

Majung Outside How to get there:  Come out of Anguk Station exit 6 and walk towards the main street of Insadong.  Walk down the main art street for about five minutes until you see a street on your left ‘Insadong 10gil’.  Turn left down this street, and you should see a little alley on your right, and Majung (마중) should be at the end of it.

Address: 서울특별시 종로구 관훈동 29

Phone Number: 02-730-2985

Map: Here

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

Jangun Jip (장군 집)

Name: Jangun Jip (장군 집)

Location: Bongcheon

Reviewed by: Mama’s and Papa’s on: October 15th, 2013

Thoughts: Tucked away in a back alley not far from Bongcheon station is  a collection of average looking Korean restaurants, and that’s where you will find the two locations of ‘The General’s House’ on opposite sides of the street to each other.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of the few places we have found that offer a taste of Jeonju style makgeolli  (an overwhelming showing of side dishes that come out as a matter of course when you order your makgeolli kettle) in Seoul.  Bring your appetites and your sense of adventure, as there are foods here not on the regular makgeolli anjou circuit.

table and pouring

LOCATION

Overall: ***1/2(3.5 stars)

FOOD
Jeonju Side Dish Selection: (Interesting, plentiful, tasty, varied) ***1/2 (3.5 Stars)

MAKGEOLLI

Sasan Makgeolli (사산 막걸리): (milky, basic, refreshing, bland) *** (3 Stars)

table shot

Jangun House is one of the few places we have discovered as yet that offers the Jeonju style of serving makgeolli (the other being Jeonju Makgeolli in Hongdae).  The atmosphere is made by the people there, which at this time was just us, but the owners soon warmed up to our large group and were quite friendly.   The quality of the variety of food ranged from average to good, and was more than plentiful.  There is also a separate menu which you can order from if you have room.

What Mamas & Papas liked: The dubu kimchi. Most Mamas & Papas made some kind of comment as to thickness of the tofu and the deliciousness of the kimchi.  Mamas & Papas also liked the sheer range of food on offer to try, with one Mama exclaiming ‘I should have fasted so I could eat more!”

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The Hongoh (skate fish).  Shock horror, this notoriously smelly fish did not wow our Mamas & Papas, with one Mama commenting ‘Tough, tough, tough!”. pouring However the owners did ask us if we wanted to try it or not, which was nice to have the option.  Mamas & Papas were also not overly impressed by the makgeolli.   One Mama remarked ‘It’s not amazing, but it will do in a pinch’.

Mama Julia’s Note:Saseon mak  There are two kinds of makgeolli on offer at this place, one being the usual green bottle Seoul Makgeolli, and Sasan Makgeolli from Jeolla-buk do.  Both contain Aspartame, though Sasan has a lower percentage.   Drinking makgeolli in Jeonju is a large consumption event, and often the makgeolli is lighter and less strongly flavored.

 

Recommendation: This is a good location for those who want to experience the Jeonju style of drinking makgeolli, enjoying dish after dish of anjou, but can’t get out of Seoul to try the real thing.  It’s a casual neighborhood affair, but great if you have someone in town you would like to give a taste of a variety of dishes.  For large groups you might want to make a reservation.

outsideHow to get there: Come out of Bongcheon station (Green Line 2) and take exit 1.  Walk straight and take the first right.  Follow this street to the next intersection and turn left.  Follow this street for a while until you cross the first intersection.  Halfway before you get to the next intersection, you should see 장군집 (Janggeunjip) on your left.  It is a yellow sign with red writing.

Address: 서울특별시 관악구 청룡동 913-8

Phone Number: 02-872-0562

Map: Here

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

Jeonju Makgeolli (전주 막걸리)

Name: Jeonju Makgeolli (전주 막걸리)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on: 13th October, 2012

Thoughts: Jeonju Makgeolli is a place tucked away down an alley at the quieter end of Hongdae.  We heard about it from some Korean friends and blogs, that the owner himself was from Jeonju and offered an authentic Jeonju makgeolli experience in Seoul.  We weren’t disappointed when we discovered we could just order the makgeolli and a table filled with side dishes would follow.

LOCATION                                       FOOD

Service:       *****                              Set Menu (반찬):  ***1/2

Style:             *** 1/2

Ambience:  ***

OVERALL:  ****

MAKGEOLLI

Jeonju Makgeolli (전주생막걸리):  ***1/2  (smooth, clean, refreshing, drinkable)

‘Jeonju Makgeolli’ may not be much to look at from the outside (or inside) but it makes up for it in service and authenticity.  Jeonju style makgeolli is famous for its sheer number and variety of side dishes, and whilst this place doesn’t quite match, it certainly gives it a good run for its money.  You simply choose makgeolli (or soju…but hey, it’s Jeonju makgeolli!) for a set price of 20,000won which will buy you 3 very full kettles, and a whole array of side dishes for your picking pleasure.

What Mamas & Papas liked :  The variety.  Before we had even ordered, the table was covered with all sorts of traditional delicacies, and we were never wanting for something to pick at.   One Papa exclaimed ‘so much bang for your buck!’.  Mamas & Papas also really enjoyed the service.  The owner is in fact from Jeonju, and he is proud of the makgeolli he imports straight from his hometown.  He took the time to come to our table and explain more about his particular makgeolli of choice telling us, ‘If any of you get a hangover I will give you 200 bottles for free’.  It’s a no-frills place, which, if you have been to Jeonju you will know to be the traditional interior of most makgeolli bars.

What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The atmosphere.  Mamas & Papas were all in agreement that Jeonju Makgeolli was missing just two things; music and dimmer lights!

It was not a very busy night when we were there, so Mamas & Papas basically took it over.  Mamas & Papas also weren’t ‘wowed’ by the quality of the food.  One Mama said ‘the quantity is ok, but the quality is just so-so, I could eat it…and I did, I ate a lot!’.  You can also order more food outside of the set menu if the set sides are not enough.

Recommendation: Jeonju Makgeolli is a place to take visitors to Korea who may not get the chance to actually visit Jeonju.  It is the most authentic Jeonju style makgeolli we have discovered so far, and it’s a great place for a low key hangout with a group of friends.  It’s a casual place to really settle in, and also ideal for large groups of people.

How to get there:

Come out of Sangsu Station exit 1 and walk down the street towards the bottom end of hongdae.  After about 5 minutes you should pass ‘Standing Coffee’ on your right, and you will soon come to the big main street of hongdae.  Turn up this street and take the first left, and you should see a CU on the corner.  Take the first little alley on the right of this street and ‘Jeonju Makgeolli’ should be the first place on the left.

Address:  마포구 서교동 402-4  (010 261 1542)

Map here

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