14.043 Odol Bbyeo

Cycle 14 – Item 43

17 (Fri) February 2023

Odol Bbyeo


at Jeolladojip

-Jongro-2-ga, Jongro, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with BP, EE, D

Impossible to believe that the pojang macha – a traditional Korean tent bar – has been a featured venue once in GMTD history, during Cycle 1 (see 1.272 Deep-Fried Quail).  In Cycle 4, a pojang macha was mentioned briefly at the tail end of an extended post covering a pub crawl (see 4.227 Köttbullar med Lingonsylt).  Neither post showed photos of the establishments.  GMTD has provided detailed coverage of similar operations, such as street carts (see for example 13.003 Ddeokbokki), night market stalls (see for example 4.234 Dewji Galbi), brick-and-mortar equivalents (see for example (4.215 Wonjo Bindae Ddeok), but never the real deal.  Which is odd, in light of my appreciation for food served in drinking holes – the pojang macha being the OG of them all.

Located right outside Jongro-3-ga Station (Exit 4).

In the 13 years since, the tent bars have become virtually extinct in Seoul.  Legally, they’re only allowed to operate in a handful of neighborhoods, mostly in the back alleys of Jongro district – the oldest part of the city.

Despite their street-side location and transient appearance – the term means “covered (pojang) wagon (macha)” – pojang macha these days are equipped with the basic amenities of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, such as running water and refrigerated storage.

BP, who’s headed back to Manila next week, requested that I take her to a pojang macha for our final meal together (see most recently 13.037 Chicken Inasal (+ Beef Bone Bulalo)).  Apparently, she’s been wanting to try one, having seen them in Korean dramas, where characters are often depicted drowning their sorrows in soju at a pojang macha.

These days, I would seem to visit such places only when hosting tourists – 3 of the 5 posts cited in opening paragraph include Number One Swedish Fan GK.

A typical offering of proteins.

Was a time, at the height of my roaring twenties, when I would often carouse into the wee hours, I was a frequent patron of the pojang macha, the final stop of a long night, the only place open at dawn.  Now, I can’t remember the last time I stayed out past 10pm – probably 10 years ago, with GK (see above).

English menu – for tourists.

The food at any given pojang macha is predictable: mostly protein-based dishes – including “exotic” items like chicken gizzards, hearts, feet – either in the form of a stir-fry or stew, often spicy.

Kimchi Jeon (2.5)

Odol Bbyeo (오돌뼈) is a Korean dish.  Pork cartilage (odol bbyeo) – which doesn’t really taste like much, just crumbly/crunchy in texture – cut into small pieces, stir-fried with vegetables in a spicy sauce.  A classic anju, paired nicely with beer and/or soju.

I don’t know if I’ve encountered  odol byeo outside of a pojang macha.

(See also HANSIK)


5 thoughts on “14.043 Odol Bbyeo

  1. WOW has it already been 10 years? Time really flies!
    And I really enjoyed those nights of drinking and eating in Seoul, hoping to do it again some day.

    By the way, back then I shared my photos of Pyongyang Naengmyeon, taken while I was visting Pyongyang (I think you can see one of the photos I took on your laptop in this post: https://givemethisday.com/2013/08/27/4-234-dweji-galbi/)

    I seem to remember that you would feature them in a future post, whatever happened to that?

      1. I’m looking forward to hosting you!

        And it’s funny, I had totally forgotten about that post!

        Btw, I would also love to restart the cooking exchanges we had going on, as long as you feel you have the interest/time/energy etc to do it.
        (I sent you an email with my contribution to our last agreed upon project in May last year but then never heard from you….)

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