12.207 Dubu Jjim

Cycle 12 – Item 207

31 (Sat) July 2021

Dubu Jjim


from Iri Garden

at the cabin

-Seokhwa, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-


Another day on my own at the cabin, overseeing renovations – after 9 years, my room finally gets an air-conditioner!


The township of Seowon, which was a refuge for Catholics fleeing persecution in the 19th century, remains predominantly Catholic.

At the entrance, a shrine.

Fun fact: whereas many/most farmers throughout Korea marry women from overseas (Korean women these days don’t want to live on a farm), the farmers in Seowon choose Filipina wives, because they’re already Catholic.

To show how devout the owner of the restaurant is: framed certificates for each family member commemorating the completion of a pilgrimage to all 53 churches in the Wonju Diocese!

My uncle, who is a Catholic priest, spent his sabbatical many many years ago in Seowon and volunteered during that time to officiate mass on Sundays at the local church, which doesn’t have a resident priest (one drives in on Sundays).  And now that he has a cabin in Seowon (next door to ours), he is still a celebrity.

I love this wall, which features so many useful items: a coat rack, a clock, napkin dispensers, fans, place of origin chart, notices (e.g., “banchan = self service”), and the menu, as well as hand-written + on A4 paper + scotch-taped-to-the-wall special offers (e.g., “corn: 5,000 won for 10”).

At the restaurants that we frequent in the area, all owned by Catholics, I am known as Father Martino’s nephew.

TEIIG: Try Every Item at Iri Garden – I’m tempted.

I hadn’t packed any ingredients to cook, and I didn’t feel like eating ramyeon, so I dropped by Iri Garden for takeout.

She gave me a couple raw aehobak – because I am Father Martino’s nephew; I can’t recall ever seeing spherical ones (see for comparison 4.084 Taste Test: A v Z).

Ordinarily, the restaurant doesn’t provide banchan for takeout orders – or so the owner was careful to tell me – but she made an exception for me – because I am Father Martino’s nephew.

Clockwise from top: mugeunji + pickled chilies + spicy deodeok + seasoned burdock – all excellent.

Dubu Jjim is a Korean dish.  Sliced dubu, often with pork, braised in stock, seasoned with aromatics and seasoning – essentially the same thing as dubu jeongol.

At the restaurant, the dish is presented in a shallow pan and cooked at the table, as a hotpot.

I brought my own braise pot, both to minimize plastic waste and to preserve the presentation.

The basic order is 2 portions, but she filled the pot with 3 portions – because I am Father Martino’s nephew.

The dubu jjim at Iri Garden was awesome.  The homemade dubu, prepared by the owner on the premises every morning, was gorgeously dense and nutty.  According to the owner, the broth is not based on stock but plain water along with perilla oil, made from homegrown perilla – but the broth is so rich and deep that it must contain some secret ingredient.  Perhaps the greatest dubu dish that I’ve ever experienced.  Perhaps the greatest soup dish.  I can’t believe that I’ve never had it before.  From now on, we’re eating dubu jjim every time we come to the cabin.

I ate about half for dinner, then the remained as anju throughout the night.


This is GMTD’s 3rd Summer Olympics.

I watched fencing for the first time.  Women’s Sabre Team Bronze Medal match between Korea and Italy – Korea won.

I learned 3 things.

1.  Women fencers are kinda hot, especially the Korean ones.

2.  Fencers scream between points – not just a hearty whoop, but a full-throated shriek.

3.  Both sides always think that they won the point and turn to the judge to confirm.

(See also HANSIK)


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