Tae Woo Korean Restaurant – Singapore’s Best Jajangmyeon

Tae Woo Korean Restaurant  (태우반점)

Jajangmyeon, is a Korean dish well known by all. Before my trip to Seoul, little did I know that Jajangmyeon is not readily available in any Korean restaurant but only selling it in Chinese restaurant in Korea. It is kind of a fusion between Chinese and Korean dish. Jajangmyeon is one of the first Korean dishes that i’d known because it’s quite commonly found in Singapore. In this post, I’m writing about the best one that I had in Singapore. Tae Woo Korean Restaurant is situated at level 3 of The Central Clarke Quay, just above TCC. Tae Woo actually has quite a reputation among the Singapore Korean community due to it’s authentic Korean taste. This place is not crowded most of the time, but I’m bound to see Korean speaking patrons whenever I visit this place. There isn’t any hot stone rice, Korean BBQ and there’s also no Army Stew on their menu. What they are offering are more of a typical Chinese Korean menu like Jajangmyeon, Seafood Noodle (Jjamppong), Sweet and Sour Pork (Tangsuyuk) and Gyoja.

Menu: Click to enlarge

Jajangmyeon ($12.00++)

At $12.00, i consider this as reasonably priced. I really like the texture of their handmade noodle. It’s rather chewy, a little soft but not to the extend of soggy. The Jajang is not starchy and not overly watery but with just the right thickness that clings to every strand of noodle. The sweetness of their bean paste sauce mainly come from the cubes of meat and the onions, which is cooked till melty soft. The slight greasy Jajang is smooth and really enjoyable. For people that like it salty, you can stir in the separate plate of their Chunjang. Comparing to the Jajangmyeon that I had in Singapore, Taewoo’s is easily the best that i had and it is very very similar to the one in Seoul (read more about Andongjang, the oldest Korean Chinese restaurant in Seoul). Tangsuyuk ($26.00++)

Tangsuyuk is another very popular Chinese dish in Korea. It translate directly to Sweet & Vinegar Pork (糖醋肉). The idea is very similar to our Singapore’s sweet and sour pork, whereby pork is portioned into bite size, breaded and fried, and tossed in a sweet sour sauce. There’s no pineapple, but these stripes of pork is tossed into a mix of onion, carrot and black fungus and the sour taste mainly come from white vinegar. Unlike our Singapore style sweet sour pork, there is traces of ginger taste in the breading. It is quite good when it’s served and it’s a pity that the sweet vinegar sauce is a little too much and the crispy pork strips got soaked and became soggy after a while. I personally still think that cutting pork into cubes give a better texture than strips. For the price of $26 and for it’s portion, I would prefer our Singapore style sweet and sour pork. Japchae Bap ($17.00++)

Chapchae can be served as both main course and side dish. In this case, it’s served together with a portion of rice as Japchae Bap. It is freshly stir fried and served steaming hot. Apart from the usual ingredient carrot and onion, Taewoo’s version is a more luxurious version with added slices of pork, black fungus and green pepper. This Japchae is slightly peppery and is full of sesame oil fragrance. Unlike the side dish version of Japchae where it’s cold, drier with a bouncy texture, this is served hot, moist and soft. It also comes as a surprise as I didn’t realise that Japchae actually goes pretty well with white rice. I have no complain on this Japchae and in fact it’s pretty good! Conclusion

At a glance of the menu, i wouldn’t use the word affordable to describe the price tag of the dishes. Among them, their Jajangmyeon should be the most reasonably priced and sometimes I will visit Taewoo just for that when I’m having craving for some authentic Korean Jajangmyeon. Taewoo is a hidden gem at The Central and there’s not much crowd here and I like the fact that i can always get a table immediately. I wouldn’t recommend to start a feast at Taewoo as it might cost you a bomb. I do recommend their Jajangmyeon very much, and probably try out the other dishes, one new dish per visit.

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The Legendary Tosokchon – The Best in Seoul

Tosokchon (토속촌)

Address (Naver Map): 서울 종로구 자하문로5길 5

Address (Google Map): 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Operating Hours: 10.00am to 10.00pm daily

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

Ginseng Chicken Soup, or otherwise known as Samgyetang (삼계탕),  is one of the most well known Korean dishes. It’s prepared by boiling a whole young chicken that is stuffed with glutinous rice in a broth of Korean Ginseng. Other herbs and spices such as jujube fruits, gingko nuts, garlic, ginger, wolfberry and Danggui (or otherwise known as Angelic Sinensis) or other medicinal herbs may also be added.

When people ask about the best Samgyetang in Seoul,  the name Tosokchon will always pop up. Tosokchon is a restaurant that was converted from a traditional Hanok that is situated near Gyeongbokgung station.

Apart from the food, you also get to enjoy the dining experience in a Hanok. Dining areas are divided into rooms with a few tables.  Guests are to remove their shoes before entering and the dining will be at the low lying tables. There is no chair, just cushions on the floor.

As seen in the photo, it is NOT wise to visit during meal hour. I returned at about 4 pm (on a weekday) and to my delight, the is no queue and I got a seat right away.

Samgyetang (W$15000)

This legendary ginseng Chicken Soup was said to be well loved by a South Korea late president Roh Moo Hyun. Despite of having a history of only twenty years (comparing to restaurant such as AndongJang, Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki, Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari), they had established a reputation as one of the best Samgyetang in Seoul.

Tosokchon uses free range young chicken (no more than 49 days old) and they are butchered and delivered fresh daily, making for only the tenderest meat.

Tosokchon’s Samgyetang is very distinct for it’s rich chicken broth and for it’s strong ginseng taste. Depending on personal preference, the ginseng taste can be a Yay or Nay. Unlike some Samgyetang that only contains a tinge of ginseng taste (or totally none while they still claim that it’s Ginseng Chicken Soup), this one is full of it.

Look at the size of the ginseng.

The ginseng taste is especially strong in it’s glutinous rice and some may even find it bitter to a certain extend. For those who don’t like ginseng taste and want to have some authentic Korean chicken soup,  you may want to try Dakhanmari.

Stuffed Glutinous Rice in Chicken

The chicken soup is really thick and rich that the broth turned milky instead of a clear broth. I can literally taste the freshness and sweetness of the chicken just by drinking the soup alone. However note that the soup is intentionally lightly-seasoned (I like my soup a little saltier), therefore do remember to add salt and pepper according to your taste preference.

The chicken meat is super tender and moist and the meat easily falls off from the bone by just using a pair of chopsticks. Dip the chicken into salt and pepper too if you demand more flavour. By the way, the portion of a bowl of Samgyetang is good enough to be shared by a couple.

Conclusion

I found a few Best Samgyetang candidate from online but Tosokchon is the most accessible so I decided to pop by. I can’t decide for sure that it’s the best Samgyetang in Seoul but it’s indeed the best I had.

Tosokchon is also frequently visited by Chinese and Japanese tourists so do avoid meal time as much as possible. Did I mention the staff at Tosokchon speaks English and Mandarin?

As it’s location is relatively near one of Seoul’s most popular attraction Gyeongbokgung Palace, do pop by to immerse yourself in their Korean dining culture if you happen to visit this attraction.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

 

Map and Directions

 

The route to Tosokchon is rather straight forward. Exit from Gyeongbokgung MRT station Exit 2.

Walk along the main road for about 200m.

When you reach a cross junction, turn left and you should see Tosokchon.

 

The Famous Yoogane Chicken Galbi at Myeongdong

Yoogane Chicken Galbi (유가네 닭갈비)

Myeongdong Branch 1 English Address (Naver Map): 서울 중구 명동2가 3-1

Myeongdong Branch 1 Korean Address (Google Map): 3-1 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga

Operating Hours: 10:45am to 12:00am

Myeongdong Branch 2 English Address (Naver Map): 서울 중구 충무로2가 66-6

Myeongdong Branch 2 Korean Address (Google Map): 66-6 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga

Operating Hours: 10:00am to 1:00am

Click here for my review and menu of Yoogane Singapore @ Bugis Junction

Click here for my full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

Yoogane, since 1981, had grown to one of the most popular galbi brands in South Korea. Galbi, generally refers to a variety of grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that are made with marinated meat in a ganjang-based sauce.  Yoogane’s signture dish will be their Yoogane Marinated Dak Galbi (닭갈비). A

Yoogane has a couple of branches in Seoul and i visited one of their two Myeongdong branches. This restaurant can be located very easily, especially the Myeongdong Branch 2, which is only about a couple minutes walk from Myeongdong MRT station.

Yoogane Marinated Dak Galbi

The classic Dak Galbi cost W$8500 (about S$10) per pax which is rather reasonable comparing to Singapore’s price. Refer to this menu for prices of other variations of Dak Galbi:

Click to enlarge

Upon placing my orders, a huge pan (just the pan, as you can see from the photo) of marinated chicken was placed on the stove in the middle of the table.

Their supposed spicy chicken is not exactly spicy and it’s more like sweet chilli paste (I have a pretty high threshold for spicy food though). It is pan-grilled on the spot, with aluminum sheet circling the pan to prevent splattering.

Side orders

The unique selling point of Yoogane is for their add-on side dishes, that are to be added into Galbi Chicken to be pan-fried together. Side dishes generally range from W$1500 for a portion of rice or noodle, W$2000 for a plate of Mozzarella Cheese, and up to W3000 for a rice cake combination plate. I ordered their fried rice and noodle.

Noodle that comes with their home-made chilli sauce

I prefers the rice, mainly because of the seaweed that comes with it! W$1500 for 1 person’s portion

The fried rice/noodle is prepared by their experienced waiter using the remaining sauce in the pan. The slightly burnt sauce coats the rice/noodle while condiments like seaweed or cheese (at a cost) are sprinkled over to complete the dish.

Freshly prepared fried rice. Served within a couple of minutes.

Fried Rice – W$1500, perfectly coated with Ganjang sauce

Fried noodle, sprinkled with cheese.

Conclusion

Despite the great online reputation, i thought Yoogane is not the most fantastic chicken that i had in Seoul. Probably it’s a matter of expectation VS reality. However, if i have the choice again, i will probably still visit Yoogane.

Although Chicken Galbi can be found in Singapore, the taste and value of Yoogane’s far exceeded the one i had (clue: restaurant location is near Tiong Bahru). The best thing about this restaurant is for it’s ample space between tables.

This restaurant is so popular that it opened a second branch at Myeongdong, just a few minutes walk away. I believe there must be a reason for it’s popularity. My conclusion will be – not the most fantastic and unique meal i had in Seoul, but it’s good enough. No regrets.

And Yoogane is coming to Singapore! They are opening a branch at Bugis Junction! So exciting!

Click here for my review and menu of Yoogane Singapore @ Bugis Junction

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Map and Directions

I visited their 2nd branch in Myeongdong, that is within a few minutes walk from Myeongdong exit 8. Come out from Exit 8, to your left and walk straight. You won’t miss the shop.

One thing to take note is, you won’t see “Yoogane” on their signage, but the signage will be in Korean “유가네”. The most prominent feature of their signage is for it’s red, orange and yellow logo. Just keep a look out for this and you won’t be wrong:

유(Yoo) 가(Ga) 네(Ne)

PS: It had been a while that i last updated my Seoul post. I would like to thank miracler for sending me a message, to remind me that there are people who hope to read more on my Seoul posts. This is an encouragement for me to continue. It’s indeed not an easy task to blog on a regular basis, so my respect is out to all food bloggers, and i aspire to be able to blog regularly like some of them. Thanks all for taking the time to read this post!

Click here for my full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Gwangjang Market – Embrace the Korean Market culture and Bindaetteok

Gwangjang Traditional Market (광장시장)

Operating hours: 7:00am to 10:00pm

(Hours may vary by store, 10:00am to 9:30 pm for food stalls)

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 종로구 예지동 6-1

English Address (Google Map): 6-1 Yeji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Click here for my list of Seoul food itinerary

Introduction

Gwangjang market was established in 1905, one of the oldest markets in not only Seoul, but the whole of South Korea. This multi-level market has about 5,000 shops and it’s a market that you can find everything, from snacks, traditional Korean food, bags, shoes, Kimchi, exotic seafood to the high-end silk, linen and the legendary Hanbok.

Sampling of Kimchi. No plate, no toothpick, just hand. Point to the Kimchi to try and the lady will just place the kimchi in your hand.

Right at the heart of this market lies the food section that is bursting with activity and loud noise. The steam-filled alley contains countless number of food stalls that offers a vast selections of Korean food like Japchae (당면 sesame oil noodle), Gimbap (김밥 rice roll), Sundae (순대 blood sausage roll), Jokbal (족발 braised pig trotter), Patjuk (팥죽 red bean porridge), and the very well known item in Gwangjang market – Bindaetteok (빈대떡 Mung bean pancake).

Bindaetteok 빈대떡 (W$3000)

Among the food stalls, the one that stood out was those that are selling Bindaetteok, with stacks of towering golden-brown crispy pancakes that are freshly fried and served piping hot.

Bindaetteok is made of grounded mung bean, with bean sprout, green onion, kimchi, and pepper. The mung beans are freshly grinned using a stone rotary grinder and the pancake paste is mixed and fried on the spot.

After some observation, i patronized the stall that is most popular among the locals. Note that there is no restaurant treatment at these stalls and be prepared to sit shoulder-to-shoulder beside a total stranger for the meal. Paper cup and plain water is available and i don’t think that’s bottled water. Probably the stall owner refills them with boiled water.

Among many stalls that are selling Bindaetteok, this is the one with the endless crowd. The stall number appears to be (61) 2263 – 7567. Keep a look out for this stall!

I ordered the veggie version and the meat version, and both are reasonably priced at W$3,000 each. The veggie version is huge, with the diameter of a small pizza and the meat version, going at the same price, is evidently smaller.

As a meat lover, there is no room for competition between the two as the meat pancake wins my favor. It don’t actually taste like a pancake but a giant piece of fried meat ball, only it’s a flattened version. The savory minced meat patty is well marinated and flavored that is not excessively salty. I read that these pancakes are actually flavored using honey and this explains the tinge of sweetness.

Hot & crispy exterior with a tender center. Best street food of the trip!

For the veggie version, it taste a little like our Singapore version of vegetable pancake (菜饼) that’s available in Singapore’s shopping centre, only the filling is fuller. I love the cripsy exterior and the texture is further enhanced by the crunchy bean sprout.

For those who find this veggie version a little plain in taste, grab a saucer and fill it up with their home-made dipping sauce that taste like a combination of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, a little bit of chilli and slices of onion. Rest assure that after dipping in this sauce, you will finish the pancake in no time!

The stall that sells everything

The best part of visiting such a market is they have stalls that sells basically every kind of traditional Korean food. The blood sausage roll is highly recommended by the friendly Ajumma (middle-age auntie in Korean)  as she kept pointing to the sausage although she can’t converse in English. I declined it politely after seeing the foreign lady beside me struggled to finish it. LOL. I know it’s not as scary as what i thought but i guess i am not very use to the idea of having a blood filled sausage rice roll after all.

Tteokbokki (떡볶이 Spicy Rice Cake) and Gimbap (김밥 Rice Roll)

Gimbap is slightly different from the Japanese version of Maki as the Korean added sesame oil instead of vinegar into the rice. This non-luxury version only comes with pickle, cucumber and carrot which totally works for me. It gives a crunchy texture filled with the fragrance of sesame oil.

The highlight of this Tteokbokki is for it’s sauce. I like it for the fact that it’s flavorful but not overly sweet and cloying unlike some Tteokbokki found in Singapore and this is much spicier than Singapore’s. Though I still prefer a thinner rice cake instead of a thick one like this.

Japchae (잡채 Sesame Oil Noodle)

Japchae is definitely not anything new to anyone as it’s often served as a side dish in Korean restaurant. This japchae was served cold and it does taste like it’s stir-fried using instant chicken cubes, which is nice, but not exactly healthy to have it on a daily basis. I love the generous amount of sesame oil and sesame seed added to this simple and yet delightful dish.

Eomukguk (어묵국 Fish Cake Soup)

Eomukguk is the most popular street food during cold season! It literally means “fish cake soup” as the skewered fish cake comes with a cup/bowl of piping hot anchovy stock.

All these dishes cost me W$11,000 which cost about an average of S$3.00 for each item. It’s slightly more pricey than what i expected. I have a feeling, just a feeling that i had been overcharged. Since i can’t really exactly communicate with the lady, i decided to just pay and forget about it. Since it’s not too much of a money, I don’t think there is a need to confront and haggle with the lady and spoil my day.

Conclusion

Apart from the luxury malls, high-end shopping and five stars hotels, i thought it’s good to experience the unique culture of the nation and visit places that is unmistakeably Korean. And Gwangjang Market is one of such places in Seoul that provides an authentic Korean culture experience. Apart from the food culture, there is so much more to see and experience at Gwangjang Market.

The only thing is, i think there might be a need to exercise caution to prevent from being overcharged like what i might had encountered. Do some basic research especially if you intend to get big ticket item like Ginseng or something that’s is slightly more expensive

As for food wise, if possible, ask for the price before committing to any purchase and if you are still comfortable with the price, go ahead.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Directions and Maps

I took a photo of this map which gives a much clearer indication of the various alleys in Gwangjang Market and it even has labeling of the various zones in the market.

The nearest station to Gwangjang market is from Jongno 5(o)-ga Station and exit 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 will lead you to the North and East Gate of the market.

The market stretches all the way from Exit 7 to Exit 11 but the food zone is nearest to Exit 9.

Click to enlarge

Myeongdong Gyoja (Gyoza) – Most popular Restaurant in Myeong District

Myeongdong Gyoja 명동교자

Operating hours: 10:30am to 9.30pm

Main store

English Address (Google Map): 25-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea ‎

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 중구 명동2가 25-2 ‎

Myeongdong Branch

English Address (Google Map): 33-4, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea ‎

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 중구 명동2가 33-4

Click here for my listing of Seoul food itinerary

Introduction

Myeongdong gyoja is one of the most popular restaurants in Myeongdong shopping district that was featured in the South Korea Green Guide Michelin 2012-2013. They started operation in Year 1964 and had been popular since then. Both main store and the branch are situated in Myeongdong. I visited this place on my first trip and returned to this place as I thought this is worth a second visit.

There are only three items on their menu during autumn/winter (Nov to Mar) – Kalguksu (knife sliced noodle 칼국수), Bibimguksu (cold noodles with chilli paste 비빔국수) and Mandu (steamed dumplings 만두), or otherwise known as Gyoja in Japanese term.

Menu on wall: Click to enlarge

By the way, there is no ‘Z’ in Korean language so Gyoza is spelled as Gyoja instead.

Mandu (steamed dumplings 만두) 10 pcs – W$8000

The most obvious difference between this steamed dumpling and a typical Chinese and Japanese version is the difference in shape. This mandu is huge and meaty, and it’s filled with sweet and juicy sesame-oil-infused minced meat. The paper thin mandu skin tears off effortlessly when I sink my teeth into it. My memory did not fail me. This is still as kick-ass good!

In my opinion, the mandu is even more enjoyable and taste exceptional when it’s dipped into their home-made sauce which taste like a blend of soy bean paste, green chilli, vinegar, and spring onion. I think some may find this sauce a little too salty for their liking.

Among all steamed dumplings, be it from China, Hong Kong, Japan or Korea, this one easily made it way into my best steamed dumpling list and i will definitely come back again.

Bibimguksu (cold noodles with chilli paste 비빔국수) – W$8000

Apart from the gyoja, Myeongdong Gyoja offer two other noodle dishes – Bibimguksu (cold noodles with chilli paste) and Kalguksu (knife sliced noodle soup). This is my first time trying their cold chilli noodle and it was awesome. I tried their Kalguksu soup the last time back in year 2011 and I did not remember that it’s as memorable as this chilli noodle.

Bibimguksu is served cold, with the buck wheat noodles tossed well in a spicy, sweet and sour sauce. It was delicious and the sour spicy sauce made this dish really appetizing! The crunchy cucumber also enhanced the overall texture of the noodle.

And for the chilled noodle, i like the fragrance of the sesame oil and it’s really spicy! Note that the noodle must be cut using the provided scissors into smaller strands of noodle. Else, most time can be spent chewing the buck wheat noodle into smaller bits. Overall, I enjoyed every bit of this noodle.

Kalguksu (knife sliced noodle 칼국수) – W$8000

Kalguksu taste a little like Singapore’s handmade noodles. The thinly sliced noodles were served in a light and flavorful chicken broth, with a few dumplings and shredded vegetables.

The thing is made this dish so special is for the noodle’s softness. The broth infused into the thinly sliced noodle easily, which made the noodle really enjoyable. The portion of the noodle is big and i think it’s good enough to be shared among two people. You can almost see a serving of Kalguksu on every table in Myeongdong Gyoza.

Kimchi, a worthy mention

Myeongdong Gyoja’s Kimchi is very well marinated and very spicy compared to the typical kimchi that i tried in Seoul. Those who love garlic will love this Kimchi cus the garlic taste simply overwhelm the whole dish. I am not exactly a hardcore Kimchi fan, but this one is to my liking –  spicy, garlicky, very well flavoured that gives a punch.

Conclusion

Price of the Gyoja is well worth it, at about S$9.50 for 10 pieces but noodle is slightly pricey for the same S$9.50  for Singapore standard. But well, you are in a restaurant environment, with free flow of Kimchi and you’re in Seoul, S$9.50 for a bowl of noodle now seems reasonable. 

Myeongdong Gyoja is one of my favourite restaurants in Seoul. The restaurant is always busy and the staff are always overwhelmed so the service may be a little slower. But in exchange, the quality of the food here makes it well worth the wait. If you are really really full, i recommend to just try their Gyoja.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Map and directions (To main store)

This restaurant can be accessed easily from Myeongdong MRT station.

1. Come out from Exit 8 Myeongdong

2. Turn to your left and walk straight for three to five minutes.

3. Keep a look out to your right and you should be able to see Myeongdong Gyoja.

The signage is not in English so just keep a look out for the big brown sign board. For those who can read chinese, the best clue is the small “明洞饺子” indicated on the center left side.

Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki – My favourite Seoul eat!

Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki (마복림할머니떡볶이)

English Address (Google Map): Jung-gu, 33 Cheonggu-ro 10-gil Seoul, South Korea

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 중구 청구로10길 33

Opening hours: 8.00am – 9:00pm, Closed 2nd and 4th Monday of the month

Click here for my full Seoul food itinerary

Introduction

Introducing my favorite eat in Seoul – Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki! Tteokbokki is like the Pad Thai of Bangkok for Seoul. Everyone should try it at least once. Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is so popular in Seoul that they even have a Tteokbokki street that is lined up with restaurants selling Tteokbokki.

It was said that Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki is the first Tteokbokki shop that sprung up at this street. It brought in so much crowd that other Tteokbokki restaurants started popping up and eventually became the Tteokbokki street today.  This restaurant has been cooking up hot, delicious tteokbokki for over 60 years, ever since it started up in 1953.

The thing I like about Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki is they start their operation at 8am! As much as possible I always like to plan my food  itinerary in a way that I will avoid dining crowd. I reached here at about 9am and as expected – No crowd! I like their no-menu style of eating when all I need to tell tell them is for how many pax.

Tteokbokki Street lined up with multiple Tteokbokki restaurants

There are additional add-on though, that comes at a price ranging from W$500 to W$2500

떡볶이 (Tteok-bok-ki) – Sticky Rice Cake W$2500
오뎅사리 (O-deng-sa-ri)- Fishcake W$2500
쫄면 (Jjol-myeon) – Korean Sticky Noodle S$1000
라면 (Ra-myeon) – Maggie Noodle W$1500
만두 (Man-du) – Dumpling W$1000
계란 (Gye-ran) – Egg W$500
음 료 수 (Eum-ryo-su) – Beverage W$1500
아이스크림 – Ice Cream W$1000

The price is W$11000 (about S$13.00) for two pax and W$24000 (about S$28.00) for five pax. Isn’t that rather inexpensive considering the quantity of the food? In Singapore’s Korean Restaurant, typically a plate of snack-size Tteokbokki already cost S$12++ ($14 nett).

Tteokbokki

Don’t forget that I am actually having breakfast, the heartiest breakfast for the whole of my Seoul trip! It’s served initially as a clear broth and I am suppose to mix in the paste and stir as it’s brought to boil, then simmer to get a thick Gochujang (고추장) sauce.

Gochujang is a kind of red chili pepper paste. It’s main ingredient consist of starch, salt and red chili pepper powder. Gochujang is used to season and marinate many Korean foods, and is the main seasoning for Tteokbokki and can be bought in supermarket.

I read that Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki made their own Gochujang sauce as they know how important a good Gochujang is as it will directly affect the quality of Tteokbokki.

Rice Cake and Noodles

Mabongnim Halmeoni’s  Tteok (rice cake) is really my kind of rice cake. It taste very fresh, soft, chewy but yet easily separable without challenging too much of my jaw muscle. But in fact, my favorite is not even the rice cake. My favorite items are the two kinds of noodles – the Ramyeon (라면), or we known it as Maggie mee, and the Jjolmyeon (쫄면). Jjolmyeon is a kind of Korean Noodle that is thick, chewy, that is made of wheat flour and starch.

A closer look at Jjolmyeon and other ingredients

Once the pot of Tteokbokki starts to bubble, I have to stir it often to prevent the rice cakes and noodles from sticking to the bottom. The sauce starts to get thicker and goes from dull red to a bright red-orange color, that’s my cue to turn the heat down and to start eating! I was so overwhelmed by the taste that i actually forgot to take a photo of the thick sauce! =/

The noodles was boiled to softness in the broth which the noodle absorbed the sweet and spicy flavor that made it… I wanted to say “heavenly” but probably I should not raise the bar too high , so I think i shall stick to “an exceptionally enjoyable Maggie mee experience”.

Other Ingredients

Apart from the Tteok, Ramyeon and Jjeolmyeon, vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions and green onions are also added. The next best thing is their fried mandu (dumpling). Do not ever eat the mandu before mixing it into the Gochujang. It just taste soggy, a little tasteless but it’s totally different after soaking it in the Gochujang as the sauce seeps into the mandu skin. I mentioned earlier that i did not have any add-on for my Tteokbokki but i can choose again for just one add-on, it will be the fried mandu.

If you like, mash up the eggs and mix them into the sauce as well. The Tteokbokki also comes with a banchan (side dish) of danmuji (단무지), a sweet and sour yellow pickled radish that goes well with the hot, spiciness of Tteokbokki.

Conclusion

By visiting Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki, i can now really taste the difference between Singapore’s Tteokbokki and Seoul’s. Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki is much more spicy and flavorful but yet not over-cloying (or “Gelat” as we Singaporean knows it). The least i expect is that we are able to finish the whole pot of Tteokbokki as breakfast!

I have a strong personal liking for Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki. If not for my already planned itinerary to other restaurants, i would have returned to Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki a second time.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Map and Directions

1. Exit from Exit 1 of Cheonggu Station and walk straight to the right.

2. Turn right again when you arrive at the playground and go straight for 200m.

3. You should arrive at a street with many restaurants and there you are – you are at the Tteokbokki Street.