2 (Sun) May 2010
(see index WHAT)
at Da Rae Hyeon
(see index WHERE)
-Dongducheon, Gyeonggi, Seoul, Korea-
with the Family
In any Chinese restaurant here in Korea, the upgraded form of any noodle dish is the samseon (삼선) option, such as samseon jjajang-myeon. The term, which breaks down as “three” (sam) and “fresh” (seon), has come to signify the addition of seafood. It’s a bit more expensive, a few thousand won more, only worth the extra cost at a proper restaurant with really fresh seafood. My understanding is that the original meaning of “samseon,” as it’s used in China, refers to land, sea, and air: mushroom, fish, and squab.
The samseon jjajang-myeon at Da Rae Hyeon is the best I’ve ever had in my life, samseon or otherwise. Jumbo shrimp, huge chunks of squid and sea cucumbers, absolutely fresh. Balanced sauce, with just a hint of oil to smooth things out. And the kicker was the handmade noodles, pulled and twisted and cut on the spot. It was the ultimate embodiment of my all-time favorite dish.
And to think it happened by accident. We were on our way home from yesterday’s camping trip, when Sunday afternoon traffic came to a standstill. The restaurant, located along the road, didn’t look particularly promising aside from the sign prominently and proudly advertising the aforementioned handmade noodles, a rarity these days. Certainly, I’d never heard of the place at the time, though it turns out that it’s somewhat famous. When I pulled in to the parking lot, spur of the moment, on a whim, just wanting to take a break from the stop and go, I had no plans beyond a bowl of jjajang-myeon sans samseon. But the menu, which offered the basic variety for 4,000 won and the samseon for 8,000 won, changed my mind. The doubled price suggested they were serious. They were.