Cycle 4 – Item 215
8 (Thu) August 2013
at Myeong-Dong Halmae Nakji
-Myeong, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Old Korean Restaurants that Koreans Love (Part 6 of 11) (see also OKRKL)
In this on-going project, GMTD is reviewing restaurants featured in the book Old Korean Restaurants that Koreans Love (한국인이 사랑하는 오래된 한식당), which includes 100 restaurants (28 in Seoul) that are least 50 years old and/or have been owned by at least 3 generations.
During the 45 minutes that we were there, we saw 6 other customers. If the restaurant was ever loved, it doesn’t seem to be anymore.
Myeong-Dong Halmae Nakji is a Korean restaurant. According to OKRKL, it was established in 1950, the 15th oldest restaurant listed in Seoul, though the year is based purely on speculation. Specializes in nakji bokkeum.
OKRKL describes the open cooking setup in positive terms, equating it nostalgically to an old world marketplace stall.
Personally, once I’m inside a brick-and-mortar establishment, I appreciate the hygienic benefits of a closed kitchen where the stove isn’t literally arms-length from the cash register and entrance/exit
I was underwhelmed by the food. Even though I don’t like spicy, I requested “botong (보통) (standard)” when the server asked for preferred level of heat, as I didn’t want to dilute the experience. However, even the standard was so absurdly hot that I was sweating after the first bite. The white cabbage and bean sprouts didn’t really help. We didn’t order any rice. But heat aside, the sauce didn’t really taste like anything, totally bland. Like at Imun Seolnong Tang, I wondered if perhaps this is what the dish used to taste like back in the day, back when they didn’t have the technique/technology to make things taste good.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)