Yeolbong Jjimdak – The famous Andong Chicken by a famous Korean Celebrity

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭)

Operating hours: 11.00am – 11.00pm

English Address (Google Map): 364-23 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 364-23

Click here for my Seoul Food Itinerary List

Introduction

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) is a restaurant opened by Korean Celebrity Se7en. I do not exactly know who is Seven, I can’t recognise him even if I see him on the street, and yes, I visited this place not for the celebrity but for their signature dish – Andong Chicken.

Andong Jjimdak (안동찜닭) literally means Braised Chicken of Andong. Obviously, chicken is the main ingredient, with various vegetables like carrot, potato, onion, ginger and green chilli, marinated in Ganjang (Korean fermented soy bean-based sauce) . The pot is then boiled over high heat till the potato and carrot slices softened and the dish is completed by adding shredded scallions and sesame seed.

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

Andong Chicken

Yeolbong Jjimdak has a few outlets in Seoul and I visited their Hongdae (홍대) branch that is situated at the second level. There some basic English description on the menu. There are two kinds of Jjimdak, one is the traditional and second is the apparent Se7en’ version. Any Korean friends to help out and clarify?

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

There are a few options to choose from, for example, the spicy level (from 0 to 3) and whether you want boneless (mainly breast meat) or normal chicken.

Just a note of warning. I am a self-proclaimed chilli eater who can take really spicy food but decided to only order the spicy level 1 but that is already spicy enough for me! It’s not the unbearable kind of spicy but I was perspiring and I think ordering spicy level 2 is only for the adventurous. LOL.

A small Andong Chicken cost me W$23000 which is not exactly cheap (food in Seoul’s restaurant is not exactly cheap though) and can serve up to 4 pax depending on what other side dishes were ordered. If not, it’s good for 2 pax just for the Andong Chicken itself. The gravy of Yeolbong Jjimdak’s Andong Chicken taste a little similar to our Chinese’s home-cooked Soy Sauce Pork but packs a lot of punch with the added chilli. Shiok! Personally, I like this dish a lot and I went back a second time.

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

The chicken is very tender even for the breast meat. I also love the starch noodle that is soaked in the thick and flavourful gravy. This starch Noodle is definitely a delight and it is good enough for me so I did not order any additional rice. Remember to cut the noodle using their scissors. It’s a must.
Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

Their potato and carrot slices are also rather well- cooked as it’s not overly soft that it still retains it’s natural sweetness. I can’t find fault with this Yeolbong Jjimdak’s Andong Chicken as it is really well done in all aspect, be it the chicken, Potato, noodle or the not overly-sweet sauce.

I am a little curious how the original flavor taste without the spiciness so I went back on the next day. I thought I will enjoy the non-spicy version more cus I can eat it with ease with no perspiration but I was wrong. If you are coming to Yeolbong Jjimdak, I recommend to order level 1 spiciness. The spiciness is one of the reasons that made this dish so enjoyable and unique.

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

This is the non-spicy version of Yeolbong Jjimdak’s Andong Chicken

Conclusion

I mentioned earlier that Andong Chicken taste a little like our Chinese’s soy sauce braised Pork but much more spicy and less oily. Among the almost 30 kinds of food I had in Seoul, I thought Andong Chicken really suit my taste and I list it among the my top 10. Who cares whether is it opened by a celebrity or not, I still think Yeolbong Jjimdak is quite a decent place to have a hearty meal!

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

It’s already near closing time when i reached here. The funny part is, i still thought that i am rather early without realising that i did not switch my time to Seoul’s time.

Directions

Yeolbong Jjimdak (열봉찜닭) Seven Restaurant Seoul

Note that Yeolbong Jjimdak is situated at Level 2. This place is rather easy to find if you follow the direction as shown in my map.

1. To go to the “happening” part of Hongdae, always remember Exit 9. When you come out from Exit 9, turn left and walk straight and you will come to a T-Junction.

2. At this T-Junction, turn left to the quieter area of Hongdae and turn right to the busy part of Hongdae. To go to Yeolbong Jjimdak, turn right at this T-Junction.

3. From this path, just walk straight and you will be able to find Yeolbong Jjimdak

4. Take note that you need to cross two cross junctions. The first one has a rather busy traffic and sometimes i need to cross with the traffic light.

Click to enlarge – Exit 9, turn left and walk straight to a T-junction. Turn right and walk straight as shown and you will be able to see Yeolbong Jjimdak on your left. Note that it’s on Level 2.

Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari – A unique dining experience at Dongdaemun

Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (진옥화할매원조닭한마리)

English Address (Google Map): Seoul-si Jongno-gu Jongno 5-ga 265-22

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 종로구 종로5가 265-22

Operating hours: 10.00am to 10.30pm

Click here for my Seoul Food Itinerary List

Introduction

Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari is situated at an alley at Dongdaemun (동대문). They had been around for 35 years which goes a long way back when they first opened for business in year 1978. Among the few Dakhanmari restaurants in the same alley, Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari or Wonjo WonHalmae Dakhanmari are said to be the first Dakhanmari shop to start their business in this alley.

Each Dakhanmari restaurant has their own loyal customer but Jinokkwa Halmae  is said to be the only Dakhanmari restaurant that was featured in the Korean Michelin Guide in May of 2011.

Dakhanmari, literally means ‘a whole chicken’ in English. It’s a Korean food that is not commonly found, or totally not available in Singapore. The 35 days old young chicken is cooked in Dakbaeksuk (Chicken Stew/Soup) whose recipe and ingredients are similar to Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup). While Samgyetang is made with ginseng, various herbs, chestnuts, Dakbaeksuk consists of simpler ingredients, such as chicken, water, and garlic.

Dakhanmari (닭한마리)

I was very skeptical about Dakhanmari initially as the appearance of the food don’t look appealing, and even to a certain extend of scary looking. But there are really some talks about this on the net so I thought “what the heck, let’s do it”. In the end, this became one of the most interesting dining experience for my Seoul trip.

I reached this place at about 9.00pm and i manage to get a table without a need to queue. Upon getting a table, there is no need for me to order anything as the waitress naturally placed a big pot of soup with half-boiled chicken on the stove and skilfully cut up the chicken with a pair of scissors. The flame was turned to high while I waited for the soup to boil in anticipation.

Oh, by the way, when the chicken is served, Jinokhwa Halmae had already sieved away the oil and grease and to remove any “chicken taste” during the initial boil so that is why the chicken is served half-boiled.

While waiting for the soup to boil, i helped myself to the free-flow spicy Kimchi and water at the side counter.

How to enjoy Dakhanmari

The waitress explained that the chicken is suppose to be dipped in a mixture of their condiments – soy sauce, spicy mustard and white vinegar (and chilli if you love spicy food).

I personally think that dipping of the condiments is a must, else the chicken would only taste ordinary, like a typical steamed chicken.

Rice cake and noodles can be added to the soup at W$1000 and W$1500 respectively. I didn’t opt to add any and the waitress seems very surprised. Maybe if anyone of you do, please share the experience with us.

The unique thing about the soup is for it’s garlic chicken soup taste. There are three ways to enjoy Dakhanmari.

First way is to eat it as it is. I thought it’s a little sad to just eat this as it is because it would be just Chicken and Soup and i might as well order a Ginseng Chicken Soup and Ginseng Chicken comes cheaper with more ingredients.

Second way is to add their hot pepper chilli into the soup to add more spicy flavour to it. I observed that the locals like to fill their plate with a whole plate of chilli and to mix it with the chicken meat like it’s some kind of gravy so i followed suit. LOL.

The chilli taste a little bitter and salty which i personally prefer not to eat it by itself but mixing it into the soup greatly enhanced the soup flavour with some added “kick”.

The third way, which is the recommended way, is to throw in the Kimchi (and chilli) to turn it into a spicy and sour chicken soup. For those who love Kimchi, you will love this way of eating cus the Kimchi did wonder to the soup.

I’m not sure it’s just me or the soup just magically gets better and better over time and the whole big pot of soup was finished at the end of the meal.

Conclusion

Some reviews on the net mentioned that Dakhanmari is only chicken and soup and it’s totally not worth it. From the way i see it, it seems like they chose to enjoy Dakhanmari plainly without the chilli/kimchi and the condiments.

So i think it’s rather important to observe and see how others are enjoying it so that we can also have the maximum take-away from each dining experience.

At a slightly expensive price of W$20,000 (about S$23.00), that is good enough to serve two, i think it’s worth at least one visit to experience eating something that you can’t find in Singapore, and experience eating like a local at Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari. I personally enjoyed it much.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Directions

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge. Take note that this is a very zoom-in map so the distance is not as far as it seems. You can reach this place with just a 5 minutes walk.

1. Exit from Dongdaemum Station Exit 9 and walk straight along the main road.

2. Turn left at this junction as per this photo to walk into a smaller road. You should be able to see a stretch of food stall on this road.

3. Walk until the end of the stretch of stall as per the photo below and turn right into a small alley. Especially during the night, this alley may looks a little dark but don’t worry, this is the correct one. Walk in a little more and you will be able to see Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari.