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3 Must-go Garosugil restaurants (Sinsa/ Apgujeong)

Garosugil is located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam. Many foreign travelers seem to visit here more and more. Along with Apgujeong close to Garosugil, it is well-known for hundreds of plastic surgery hospitals and you can easily see foreigners wearing masks which is most likely a sign that they got plastic surgery.

I love going here because it has lots of nice restaurants with delicious food. Here is my list of must-go Garosugil restaurants.

1. Patio 42 (파티오42)

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I just love being here. Lights, music, and great food make me happy 🙂 It is an Italian restaurant where you can taste legit Italian dishes and Koreanized ones. Both are delicious.

What I had was rucola prosciutto pizza and basil pesto pasta with grilled chicken breast. Rucola and prosciutto hams go super well and the dough was finely baked. The basil pesto from the pasta smelled good and the chicken breast was moist.

Price: Both were 19,000 KRW. Other dishes cost around this much also.

Address: 서울 강남구 논현로159길 10 (10, Nonhyeon-ro 159-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea)

02-518-2242

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220621764025

 

2. Yangchul Cooking (양출쿠킹)

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This is where you can try Korean home-made style dishes. It is a small restaurant and the menu changes every day. I have posted about it before. For more information, click on the link.

Price: The dish itself costs 10,000 KRW. The dish+starter or the dish+dessert costs 13,000 KRW. The dish+starter+dessert costs 15,000KRW

Address: 서울특별시 강남구 도산대로25길 17 (17, Dosan-daero 25-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea)

070-4201-4420

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220569776253

3. Bad farmers (배드파머스)

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This place is heaven for vegetarians and healthy eaters. It has six types of awesome salads and other healthy side dishes. What I had was Do Bowl, which was made with grilled tofu and other types of vegetables and grains, and Guaca Green, which was made with Avocado, grilled chicken breast, and greek yogurt.

I realized that salads could make me happy. It was much more tasty than I thought. Juices are 100% fresh juice without water, sugar, or additives. The spinach yogurt blew my mind. I thought it sounded weird at first and hesitated to try it, but I was wrong. You never know before you try!

Price: Salads- 11,500KRW / Pressed juice- 7,500 KRW/ Yogurt Bowl-5,800KRW

Address: 서울 강남구 압구정로4길 31 (31, Apgujeong-ro 4-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea)

02-515-8400

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220428800369

 

Everything about Korean New Year (Seollal Food)

Happy Korean New Year! 🙂 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (Saehae bok mani ba-deu-sae-yo).

Today is Seollal (설날; Korean new year). Koreans celebrate the new year of the lunar calendar, and it is the biggest holiday when people gather together with their relatives, eat a lot of food, play games, etc. It is like Christmas in the States. We celebrate it for three to four days.

 

seollal food

On Seollal, Koreans used to wear Hanbok, which is Korean traditional clothes, but most of them do not wear it these days because it is expensive (especially since even if you buy it, you don’t wear it on normal days but just keep it in the closet) and uncomfortable. Usually just the kids wear them. The girl in the picture above is my niece 🙂

 

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Seabae (세배; bowing) is a very important part on Seollal. Kids bow to the elder family members. I bowed to my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents with respect. Then the elders give the kids money, which is called Sae-baet-don (세뱃돈; New year’s money). However, once the kids are grown up and get jobs, they do not receive Saebaetdon anymore.

I will introduce you to several types of Seollal foods which are very basic and popular.

1. Mandu (만두)

seollal food 4

Mandu are Korean dumplings which have a combination of chopped Kimchi, meat, and different types of vegetables inside. The outside is just made from flour dough. Depending on the ingredients inside, it tastes different. My favorite is Kimchi mandu which is spicy. You can steam it, boil it as soup, and fry it.

 

2. Tteokguk (떡국)

seollal food 3

 

‘Tteok’ means rice cake and ‘guk’ means soup. It literally means rice soup made with rice cakes. The rice cakes are originally long, cylindrical rice cakes, kind of like a roll of quarters, which are then cut into slices, and don’t really have taste. The long white rice cake is called Garaetteok (가래떡) and it means good health and the longevity. It also has the meaning of prosperity because Garaetteok in Tteokguk is cut like coins.

When cooking Tteokguk, many people put Mandu (만두; Korean dumplings) in it then it is called Tteok Manduguk. If there is only Mandu, it is called Manduguk.

 

3. Jeon (전)

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Jean is a fried pancake-like Korean dish. It has various types and has two big categories. One looks like the ingredients itself and the other looks like a pancake. What I had was fish Jeon and vegetable Jeon made with different types of chopped vegetables, eggs, and flour.

 

4. Makgeoli (막걸리) or different types of alcohol

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When eating Jeon, Makgeoli (막걸리; rice wine) cannot be missed. Since the relatives gather together, they like to drink and enjoy the Korean biggest holiday. Not only Makgeoli, but also other types of Korean alcohols like Soju are welcomed.

 

5. It’s a feast.

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FEAST! Every meal on Seollal holidays is like a feast. Many side dishes, Galbi, soup, and other things  make your stomach full. Eating and eating and more eating…

 

6. Shikhye (식혜)

seollal food 8

Shikhye is served as a dessert and made with cooked rice and malt. I love it! It is sweet and cold and helps your digestion. Cooked rice is at the bottom 🙂 Basically it is just sweet tea with rice and it’s really good!

Korean Shabu Shabu Buffet

Shaba Shabu is a Japanese food where you boil thin cut beef piece by piece and vegetables in a soup. It is one of the most popular dishes in Korea. It has been known to Koreans since around 2000 and popular since a decade ago. These days, you can easily see Shabu Shabu buffets. Let’s go explore!

 

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First of all, you have to choose a type of soup. They usually have two types: spicy and not spicy. Then, they give you thin cut beef and if you want more, you need to pay extra charges.

 

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The meat is not a lot. This is for three people but it depends on restaurants. I have tried a Shabu Shabu restaurant where you can eat beef as much as you want (all you can eat buffet) but the quality of the beef was not that great. You get what you pay for.

You are supposed to boil the meat piece by piece but this lazy food blogger just put a bunch in the soup and took it out one by one. If you boil one by one, the meat will be softer though. However, since the meat is cut thin, it tastes fine even if you boil the bunch and eat them.

 

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In the salad bar, many kinds of vegetables are waiting for you. It’s all you can eat. You don’t need to pay extra fees for food in the salad bar.

 

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They even have three kinds of rice and different types of lettuce for wraps. This is like heaven for vegans.

 

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Not only vegetables but also various dishes are prepared, like different types of salads and those of Korean foods. Yes, everything is included in the price except the meat.

 

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You can make and eat spring rolls as much as you want. See all the ingredients 🙂 Rice papers are neatly placed to the side. I love spring rolls!

Bring all the ingredients and make spring rolls with the Shabu Shabu meat and vegetables. Easy peasy.

 

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After eating Shabu Shabu, you can make porridge by yourself. DIY! They kindly explained about how to make it . DIY is so much fun!

 

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Buffet is supposed to have everything from A to Z, from appetizers to desserts. Korean Shabu Shabu buffets have cookies, yogurts, and fruits as desserts. Awesome, huh?

Information

가인채 (Ga-in-chae)

This buffet is a franchise and all of them are located in Homeplus (Korean Walmart). I would put the address of one in Seoul. 서울특별시 영등포구 당산로 42 홈플러스 2층 (2nd floor, Homeplus, 42, Dangsan-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul)

02-2165-8090

13,800KRW / 15,800KRW

Haemuljjim: spicy braised seafood (해물찜)

All spicy food lovers and seafood lovers, this is for you. Haemuljjim! It is spicy braised seafood with soybean sprouts. It is a different version of Agujjim, which is very similar to this but with monkfish. So Agujjim restaurants always have Haemuljjim. They always go together.

I went to an Agujjim/ Haemuljjim restaurant in my city.

 

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I got these side dishes and my favorite was seasoned cockles. It is soy sauce based, spicy, and chewy. It not only tastes good, but also gives you the fun of taking the flesh out of the shells. Koreans do it with chopsticks. Yes, chopsticks.

For those who want to learn how to use chopsticks, I recommend you to practice with learning chopsticks, like ones that kids use, first. You will get it quickly.

 

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Here is Haemuljjim! It is full of seafood like shrimp, squid, short arm octopus, mussels, clams, and roe. Since three sides of Korea are surrounded by water, we have lots of fresh seafood. If you are a seafood lover, Korea is where you need to be.

Koreans love to drink Soju, the most popular alcohol in Korea, when they eat spicy food, so they drink it when eating Haemuljjim too. The food you eat when drinking is called Anju (안주). Haemuljjim is a good Anju 🙂

 

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Oh man, this squid guy is laying down nicely and waiting for the cut.

 

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The server comes and cuts it into bite sized pieces. Ah, Koreans use scissors for food quite a lot. Just in case if you are surprised. By the way, I love the pink scissors.

Seafood and soybean sprouts together taste awesome. You wouldn’t know unless you try 🙂

 

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Short arm octopus! Isn’t it so cute?

 

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You can eat rice as you eat Haemuljjim but I like to have Bokkeumbab (볶음밥; fried rice) afterwards more. You always need to save space for Bokkeumbab because it is the best part 🙂 With the seasonings left, the server makes Bokkeumbab in front of you. The upper part is soft and the bottom part is crispy.

Ah, Haemuljjim, you have been so good to me.

Information

보성아구찜 (Boseong Agujjim)

경기 안산시 상록구 송호1길 6 (6, Songho 1-gil, Sangrok-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do)

031-415-1118

30,000KRW/ 40,000KRW/ 50,000KRW

Bibim Guksu with Bulgogi

Everyone knows that Korea is one of the largest rice consumption countries. Following by rice, guksu (국수; noodles) is another type of food that Koreans love eating. We have tons of noodle dishes and I would like to introduce you to Bibim guksu.

 

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Bibim (비빔) means mixing and Guksu(국수) means noodles. So Bibim Guksu literally means mixing noodles. It comes with different types of vegetables like Korean lettuce, radish Kimchi, eggs, and dried seaweed. It is topped with Gochujang (고추장), Korean red chili pepper sauce.

The ingredients and the sauce differs from restaurant to restaurant, but most of them look similar.

 

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And the way of eating it is the same 🙂 Just like the meaning of the food, mix all of the ingredients together well with chopsticks. I have mentioned this several times, but just for those who don’t know… When you mix noodles with chopsticks, Korean usually have one chopstick on the left hand and the other on the right. You kinda lift the noodles up and down several times and mix them well like the one in the picture above.

You can eat it right away but here is the recommended way to eat it from the Korean food blogger 🙂

 

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Since few years ago, eating Guksu with meat has also been popular. Usually the meat looks like this and it is seasoned with soy sauce. It is like Bulgogi, and tastes sweet and salty.

 

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Here is the best way to eat Bibim Guksu: noodles and the meat together. The guksu is cold and the meat is warm. It sounds like they wouldn’t go together. Well, ironically, eating them together tastes amazing! This is because the meat is chewy, salty, and sweet while the noodles are spicy. They complement each other.

You can eat hot noodles with the meat too 🙂 Try it!

Information

Eokbuin Guksujip (억부인 국수집)

경기 파주시 적성면 산덕골길 10  (10, Sandeokgol-gil, Jeokseong-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do)

031-959-2662

Gwangjang market Yukhoe: Korean steak tartare

Gwangjang market in Jongno, Seoul is already well-known for various types of Korean food vendors. There is a designated place in the market where you can try Korean foods like Bindaeddeok (빈대떡; Korean pancake), Kimbap (김밥; Korean sushi roll), Bibimbap (비빔밥; rice topped with veggies), and Patjuk (팥죽; red bean soup).

The most popular among those is Yukhoe (육회; Korean steak tartare). When Koreans think of Gwangjang market, they automatically think of Yukhoe. It’s that popular. I would say that Yukhoe is the representative food of Gwangjang.

 

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Yukhoe restaurants are located side by side together as you see it in the picture above. The Yukhoe street is near the place where many food vendors are. If you can’t find the street, you can ask people around you by saying “Yukhoe Golmok (육회골묵).”

You got here but now you don’t know where to go? Well, I didn’t know either so I asked an old lady who was selling vegetables near the street where we should go. She told me that all were pretty similar, so just follow where your feet lead.

So I did. I ended up going to a Yukhoe restaurant called Changshin Yukhoe (창신육회).

 

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It was full of people even though I went there on a weekday at 3pm. (Since it is business hours, most restaurants don’t have customers at that time.) A server brought us side dishes and bowls of beef soup. Of course you can ask for more for free 🙂

 

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Here is the Yukhoe we ordered. It is the basic one which costs 12,000 KRW. I shared it with my friend. Some places give you frozen Yukhoe which is cold and hard, but Yukhoe here was fresh, tender, and chewy. The best Yukhoe in my life!

If they use poor quality beef, they must have put lots of seasoning to hide the smell and the bad quality. However, this place did not use much seasoning, which shows their confidence in the quality. The meat itself was so delicious that you don’t need much seasoning.

 

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At the bottom, there is sliced pear. One of the reasons that Yukhoe comes with pear is that pear helps with digesting beef. Another reason would be to add a sweet flavor. How to eat it? Super easy. Just mix them all together with chopsticks and eat the meat and pear together. It is savory and a little sweet.

Yukhoe is considered an Anju (안주; food that you eat with alcohol) and Koreans drink Soju (소주; a type of Korean alcohol) when they eat it. It might be good to try Yukhoe with Soju to fully experience the Korean food culture.

Here is a short clip showing how to mix Yukhoe with chopsticks 🙂

Korean Winter Street Food

Bungeoppang: Korean pastry made in a machine like a waffle iron but it’s fish shaped 🙂 It has red bean paste inside and is sweet.

Gunbam: Just roasted chestnuts. Very simple but delicious.

Gyeranppang: It is iterally “egg bread.” It has eggs inside. The inside is soft and salty and the outside is sweet.

Eomuk: Fishcakes on a skewer.

Hotteok: Korean sweet pancake filled with the mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped peanuts. My favorite 🙂

 

Top 3 Steak Houses in Seoul

Who wouldn’t like steak? Nobody except vegetarians. Here is my steak praise: Steak is the joy of life and love. It brings peace. All who are weary, come to the steak house.

Here is my list of the top three steak houses in Seoul.

1. Geuan (그안 or 그안에 맛있는 이탈리안)- Dogokdong, Seoul

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This is an italian restaurant plus steak house. You can choose from various types of course meals or just steak. They do not have dry-aged steak, but only fresh ones. The one in the first picture is a steak made from Korean top-class beef and the one in the second picture is Spanish Iberico pork raised and fed with acorns.

The beef steak was so tender and heavenly-tasting. The quality of the meat itself was so amazing that any other seasoning was not needed. The pork was a little oily but the sour cabbage under the pork helped with the greasiness. I liked the beef better though.

One more thing, they have two wine connoisseurs who can recommend/find the best wine for you.

Price: Beef tenderloin steak 53,000KRW / Iberico pork steak 49,000KRW

Address: 서울 강남구 언주로30길 26 타워팰리스 1층 (1st floor, Tower Palace, 26, Eonju-ro 30-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul)

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220605545910

 

2. Steki (스테키)- Itaewon, Seoul

Top3 steak house in Seoul 1

This is the steak house which sells both fresh and dry-aged ones. You order by grams and the order could be made from 200g. They have different types of meat like tenderloin, sirloin, ribeye, and T-bone. I had the 300g of dry-aged sirloin and all the meats in this restaurant are made from Korean cows.

Because it is dry-aged, it has so much beef stock which makes the taste rich. I had medium-rare steak as the waiter recommended, and it was very tender. However, I felt that 300g was quite a lot for me. At the end, I couldn’t finish it because the beef stock made my stomach feel greasy.

Still, I would say this was one of the best steaks in my life 🙂

Price: Sirloin dry-aged steak 24,000KRW for 100g

Address: 서울 용산구 회나무로25길 1 (1, Hoenamu-ro 25-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea)

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220601856019

 

3. Ca’ del lupo (까델루뽀) – Jongno, Seoul

Top3 steak house in Seoul 4

This place is close to Gyeongbokgung station. This is also an Italian restaurant where you can have pastas too. You can only order from different courses. I got a dinner course meal and chose a fresh medium sirloin as the main menu. It was fine but I wished I had had the medium rare. The sauces were whole grain mustard and sour sauce. Both went well with the steak.

Price: Lunch B 43,000 KRW / Dinner B 82,500 KRW

Address: 서울 종로구 자하문로16길 5-5 (5-5, Jahamun-ro 16-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea)

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220427692023

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7 Best Korean Franchise Restaurants

The korean food market is getting bigger and the number of Korean franchise restaurants has increased every year. I usually prefer non-franchise restaurants to franchise ones because of several reasons. One of them is that the owners of the former tend to have a better philosophy and love for food. Since the owners of franchise restaurants only pay fees for recipes and the franchise system, they tend not to research and try hard to develop their own recipes. This is just my opinion.

Another reason would be not every franchise restaurant has delicious food. Even though they advertise a lot, decorate the restaurants really well, and the servers are very nice, which makes me have high expectations for them, they do not reach my expectations. As my expectations were higher, I got more disappointed.

However, I do have some franchise restaurants that I like. Here they are. Oh, I wrote the addresses of the restaurants in Seoul, near Seoul, or where it started first. If you need ones in other cities, email me (yumkorea.com@gmail.com) or Facebook message me (Yumkorea). I prefer Facebook.

 

1. Hangahri Bossam (항아리보쌈)

Korean franchise restaurants 2

This place has Jokbal and Bossam. Jokbal is the meat from the pork legs and feet while Bossam is just pork meat which is well-balanced between the lean meat and the fat. Even though the quantity is not satisfying, it is delicious. I love their Kimchi, which you eat with their Bossam.

I have posted this on my blog. For more information about this place, click here.

Address: 수원시 영통구 영통로130번길 17 (17, Yeongtong-ro 130beon-gil, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do)

Price: Jokbal and Bossam in one plate – 30,000 KRW for two people

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220542528318

 

2. Hyundaiok (현대옥)

Korean franchise restaurants 6

Bean sprout soup! It was started in Jeonju, one of the touristic cities in Korea. There are so many bean sprout soup franchises in Korea, but Hyundaiok is the best in my opinion. You can choose the spiciness depending on the amount of chili peppers. The soup has chopped squids in it and the combination of the squid’s texture and the bean sprouts’ is amazing. Chewy and soft. Hyundaiok in Jeonju is so popular that it opens at 6am and closes at 1pm because of the lack of ingredients for the day.

For more information, click here.

Address: 전라북도 전주시 완산구 풍남문2길 63 남부시장 (63, Pungnammun 2-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do)

Price: Bean sprout soup 5,000 KRW for a person / chopped squids 3,000 KRW

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220280503821

 

3. Daege nara (대게나라)

Korean franchise restaurants 1

They are specialized in crabs like King crab, lobsters, and snow crabs. It is pricy, but tastes amazing. You can feel the freshness of the crabs. The side dishes are in good quality as well, and you can drink wine too. All the crabs have lots of meat and after eating them, you eat Bokkeumbab (볶음밥; fried-rice).

Address: 서울특별시 서초구 반포대로 70 (70, Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea)

Price: The price of crabs changes time to time depending on the market price. I checked the price recently (January, 2016) and it is 88,000 KRW for 1 kilo which would be for 1-2 people.

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220495087419

 

4. Hanam Doeji Jip (하남돼지집)

Korean franchise restaurants 7

I love going to this place for Korean BBQ. First of all, they grill the meat for you so you just need to eat and eat and eat. Second, any franchise of Hanam Doeji Jip you go, all the servers are super welcoming and nice. Of course their meat tastes fantastic 🙂

Address: 서울특별시 강남구 역삼로3길 17-4 (17-4, Yeoksam-ro 3-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea)

Price: Most of the meats cost 13,000 KRW for a one person portion.

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220373559445

 

5. Nomaseya Maewun Galbijjim (노마세야 매운갈비찜)

Korean franchise restaurants 5

Spicy food lovers must go here! It’s spicy pork rib stew. You can choose the spiciness. Their lowest level is still spicy and the highest level kills you. If you are confident, try over the 50% of spiciness. I tried the lowest and it was still spicy. Can’t imagine how spicy the 90% (the highest) would be. Their Galbi (the meat in the stew) is soft which I LOVE.

For more information, click here.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 잔다리로2길 19 2층 (2nd floor, 19, Jandari-ro 2-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea)

Price: Maewun Galbi Jjim 20,000 KRW for two people

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220558368784

 

6. Hong-ik Donkatsu (홍익돈까스)

Korean franchise restaurants

Korean style donkatsu! This place is well-known for a giant donkatsu. I usually order one and share it with my friend. I wonder if there could ever be a person who can eat it all by him/ herself. Their donkatsu is crispy outside and the meat inside is soft and thick. Furthermore, the price is reasonable at 8,900 KRW.

Address: 서울특별시 동대문구 망우로21길 52 (52, Mangu-ro 21-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea)

Price: Giant Donkatsu 8,900 KRW

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220331231280

 

7. Yukdaejang (육대장) or Hong-ik Yukgaejang (홍익육개장)

Korean franchise restaurants 4

The reason that I put two names on the title is that Yukgaejang of the both tastes almost the same. They make it from the beef leg bone broth. It is super savory and rich. These would be my favorite franchise restaurants out of all seven. Especially in the winter, hot soup makes your body nice and warm 🙂

For more information, click link.

Address: 서울특별시 중구 세종대로20길 23 (23, Sejong-daero 20-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea)

Price: Yukgaejang 8,000 KRW for a person

More pictures: http://lyuj1.blog.me/220549450137