4.229 Ggori Tomak

Cycle 4 – Item 229

22 (Thu) August 2013

Ggori Tomak

2.0

at Jinju Jib

-Namchang, Jung, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W

Old Korean Restaurants that Koreans Love (Part 9 of 11) (see also OKRKL)

This project is to review 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.

Jinju Jib is a Korean restaurant.  According to OKRKL, it was founded in 1950, the 15th/16th oldest restaurant listed in Seoul.  Thankfully this time, no bullshit origin stories, just a straightforward statement that the restaurant has been a culinary landmark for over 60 years.  The signature item is ggori gom tang, specifically the ggori tomak, the soup with larger chunks of the tail.  The prices aren’t cheap: the basic soups range from 6,000 to 8,000 won, which is reasonable; but the braised oxtail, to cite the most expensive example, goes for 60,000 won, steep considering that it’s Australian beef, not Korean.

The menu represents the way that beef was cooked and consumed by the masses back in the day.  Simmering a piece of meat into a broth, especially a cheap/tough cut, plus the bones and icky bits, was and remains the most cost-effective way to maximize usage.  The restaurant also offers naejang gom tang (intestine soup), jok tang (hoof soup), dogani tang (knee cartilage soup), and seolleong tang (beef bone soup); the same parts are available in the form of suyuk (수육), boiled but without broth.  Nowadays, as beef is relatively affordable, the preferred methodology is grilling (i.e., “Korean BBQ”), which was popularized during the mid-80s.

I was satisfied by the ggori tomak, but not overwhelmed.  While the broth had a clean/clear beef flavor, it wasn’t as rich or deep as I would’ve liked.  Same with the meat itself.  Frankly, I think that my home rendition may be better.  At 19,000 won, for two large pieces of tail, way way way overpriced.

For the first time in this OKRKL series, I felt that I was actually eating in an “old Korean restaurant loved by Koreans.”

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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