13.126 Gochu Jjajang Myeon

Cycle 13 – Item 126

11 (Wed) May 2022

Gochu Jjajang Myeon

3.0

at Maehwa

-Yeonnam, Mapo, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with TB staff

Maehwa is a Korean-Chinese restaurant.  Specializes in the classic Korean-Chinese repertoire.  According to their own signage, it is the oldest restaurant in Yeonnam-dong (unclear whether the oldest Korean-Chinese restaurant, or the oldest restaurant of any kind).

Located a few minutes away from SFS.

Come to think of it, determining the oldest restaurant in any neighborhood (dong) or district (gu) should be pretty simple, as the administrative office (dong-samuso or gu-cheong) would have the business licenses on file of all the restaurants within the jurisdiction.  Assuming the licenses have been digitized, or at least the information on them, the dates could be filtered chronologically.  That would be super interesting for customers and provide a marketing boost for the oldest ones.

Both building exterior and restaurant interior suggest that these are newer premises, not the original location.

The team and I conducted an ocular inspection of SFS, where we’ll be organizing a book in a couple weeks.

So long as we were in the Yeonnam/Yeonhi neighborhood, I was curious to see if any of those Taiwanese restaurants that had been reviewed by GMTD in Cycle 1 were still around (see for example 1.063 Taiwan Shrimp), but no.

Huh.

We ended up at Maehwa simply because it offered free parking – we discovered the “oldest restaurant” claim upon opening the menu.

As expected, the menu offered nothing beyond the ordinary.

A big sign out front advertised Gochu Jjajang, the house specialty.  I ordered it, presumably a spicy version (gochu = chili) of the standard jjajang myeon, strongly suspecting that I would soon be in for a world of pain.

Upon first bite, even before chewing, I could feel the heat on my tongue.  It got worse going down.  Unfortunately, the sauce was otherwise quite good, and the noodles were nicely chewy, so I felt compelled to keep eating.  By the end, I was flushed red and sweating – probably looked like I had Covid.  I doubt that I’d ever order the dish again, but it was fun this once.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)

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