Chicken and Dessert - Seoul 사랑해 -
안녕! I love Korea and I've been there three times over the last 8 years and each time I've tried new things. My love for Korea began during my high school days when I was into K-Pop, I'm still a fan-girl but back then I was a MAD fan-girl! I have so much material about Korea that I will share with you all - but to start off I'm going to write about Sulbing (설빙) and Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (진옥화할매원조닭한마리).
Let's start with the main before moving to dessert! Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari literally means "Grandma Chan's One Whole Chicken". The store is located in an alleyway between Dongdaemun Station and Jongno 5-ga Station.
Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (진옥화할매원조닭한마리)
18, Jong-ro 40ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 서울특별시 종로구 종로40가길 18 (종로5가)
Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari is known for serving a whole chicken in soup and having it boil in front of you like a hot pot. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1978 and has continued to be popular among locals and has attracted many tourists over the years. The restaurant only serves fresh young chickens that are 35 days old with minimal seasoning to allow the customers to enjoy the tenderness and freshness of the chicken.
We arrived at the restaurant at around 11.30AM on a Saturday, you'll notice that there's also a few other restaurants along the same alley way so make sure you go to the correct one!
I usually see chicken and soup as winter comfort food however in Korea despite being summer the bottom level of the restaurant was almost full by 12PM! The restaurant was big and has two levels and at every few tables there were large fans to cool the diners down. The locals were happily enjoying their meal whilst chatting amongst themselves and some even turned their own stoves off to rest before turning it back on to reheat the chicken and soup. The whole atmosphere was quite relaxing and I would describe it as a "Korean Brunch" place for the locals.
When we sat down the waiters automatically brought out our chicken and soup and placed it on the stove in front of us. They also cut the chicken into bite size pieces for us.
The chicken had potato slices wedged in the belly with a few pieces of spring onions and chives sprinkled on top. The waiter also asked if we wanted rice cakes and noodles to serve in the soup later on. We didn't order the noodles as we wanted to save our stomach for other food stops later that day. The waiter helped start the stove and poured in the rice cakes and garlic (if you want). Around the corner there's a fridge for kimchi which customers will help themselves to and water is also self-serve.
The table had some sauces that you can mix together for you to dip your chicken in. There were chilli flakes, vinegar & mustard. We weren't really sure how much of each component we should mix so we asked the waiter to help us. We started eating the rice cakes while we were waiting for the chicken to be fully cooked. I dipped the rice cakes in the sauce the waiter made for us, the rice cakes were really chewy (in a good way) and the sauce wasn't spicy enough so I added more chili. I was really tempted to add the kimchi and chili flakes into the soup as I saw all the tables around us doing it.
Once the chicken was ready, I tasted the soup first. The soup was very light, not salty and surprisingly not too oily. I next tried the chicken without dipping it into the sauce, it was tender and definitely low on flavour! I tried my next piece with the sauce which tasted so much better. We had a few more pieces of the chicken like this before pouring the kimchi and chili flakes into the soup and allowing it to cook for a few minutes.
I would say the kimchi and chili made it taste a lot better (no wonder the other tables were cooking it with kimchi and chili!). I enjoyed the soup and rice cakes more than the chicken itself and I would say for me personally this is more of a comfort food for option for cold winter days or something to have after a big night out! It was a shame that we didn't try the noodles but I noticed almost every table ordered it so make sure you do too!
Next I want to introduce you to Sulbing! When I watched "Super Junior Full House" I was introduced to Patbingsoo (one of Korea's all time favourite ice dessert). Throughout the years it seemed like Korea has developed a range of desserts from the original Patbingsoo which Sulbing now serves.
Sulbing is a Korean dessert cafe that has many stores in Korea and around other places in Asia such as Thailand. We went to the one in Myeongdong as we were there for shopping.
Sulbing Korean Dessert
Seoul-si, Jung-gu, Myeongdong 10-gil, 20, Level 2
There was a queue outside when we arrived, we waited for about 5 minutes before we were seated. The place was bustling and this was around 5PM! The display of the desserts and menu were really mouth-watering, I wanted to try everything on the menu because it looked so good! I selected a few that I wanted to try and had Mr Wang make the final decision as I'm very indecisive.
We ordered Injeolmi Toast and the Berry Yogurt Snowflakes Sherbet. The toast came with a little container of condense milk for you to trickle over the top of the toast. The toast had rice cakes in between which makes the texture chewy. The toast is mixed with honey and when you add the condense milk and have it with the crunchy nuts on top, it's a sweet and delicious combination!
The Berry Yogurt Snowflakes Sherbet was really refreshing! The fruits are fresh and the whole dessert is a little sweet but also a bit sour (perfect for me)! There's other ice dessert options that all looked really good, if we were in Korea longer I'd definitely go back to try the other desserts.
Sulbing also serves all sorts of drinks and desserts, such as coffees,smoothies as well as some cheesy rice cake dishes!
The overall experience at Sulbing was great. It's a very common place for young couples and friends to hang! We will definitely come back!