[고고가게 Eng. ver] Gogo Eateries ① SEOUL Story

기사입력 2019-11-26 16:50:32기사수정 2019-11-26 16:50
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Let's go, Historic eateries by subway!

※ 본 기획 취재는 (사)한국잡지협회의 지원을 받아 작성되었습니다. 그동안 '브라보 마이 라이프' 매거진과 온라인 기사를 통해 만났던 '고고가게' 시리즈를 해외 독자 분들을 위해 영문 버전으로도 준비했습니다.


‘Gogo' has several meanings such as old, elegant and outstanding. Let's take a visit to a famous restaurant that perfectly fits this expression, 'Gogo Eateroes'. It's easy to select and find just near the subway, let's shout 'go-go'.


●SEOUL Story●


#1 Since 1967, Kim Yong-Ahn Bakery(김용안 과자점)

▲Kim Yong-ahn's son, Kim Hyung-jung, and son-in-law, Lim Wan-sik. Freshly baked rice crackers in shop.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)
▲Kim Yong-ahn's son, Kim Hyung-jung, and son-in-law, Lim Wan-sik. Freshly baked rice crackers in shop.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)

'Senbei' is a Japanese-style cracker that Koreans have enjoyed since the Japanese occupation of Korea. It came across the sea, but 'Kim Yong-Ahn Bakery' decided to change into a Korean name so that it could stay rooted in this land for a long time. He named it 'Korean Cracker' instead of Senbei and called differently for each shape and ingredient such as cubes, ginger, peanut, and green laver. After decades of baking crackers since Kim Yong-Ahn (real name Kim Yong-chul) opened the bakery, his son Kim Hyung-jung (49) and son-in-law Lim Wan-sik (40) have continued the business for around 10 years. It takes around eight hours only to make one type of crackers. This is because it takes human hands to make each piece instead of mass production in factories. Efforts are added for better taste, but it demands hard labor. Nevertheless, Lim says the perseverance of keeping the handmade recipes made today's business possible.

"In the days when there were not enough snacks like today, there were many shops selling rice crackers. But because it required hard labor to make crackers and people preferred crackers made in factories, it was difficult to maintain living. Shops closed down one after another, but father took a firm stand. After years, rice crackers that are common now gained value of scarcity. In my understanding, there are only few shops in Korea that bake cracker directly in stores."

In the past, they sold jellies and candies along with handmade rice crackers, but today, they make everything in store except one sort of Dolgangjeong. Most crackers used favorite ingredients for Koreans such as green laver, perilla seeds and ginger, but the bakery is also well visited by foreigners.

"We were once introduced in a regional tourist guide book of Japan, and since then, pretty many Japanese tourists have come to our shop. When there was a US army in Yongsan, military servicemen often came to buy. Some came back to our shop saying, 'I am pleased to find you still here' when they visit Korea even after going back to their country."

Kim Yong-Ahn Bakery has regulars in Korea and abroad. When we asked for any plans to run a postal-order system for more people to easily enjoy crackers, the owner waves dismissively.

"We tried once, but we'd better not. Crackers are fragile and break easily. In summer, they even get soggy. As far as we know, our customers anticipated for taste, but customers and we felt dismayed. It may be a difficult journey for some, but we feel safe to offer the crackers only when we check quality directly."

Address 155, Hangangdae-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (1 minute’s walk from Samgakji Station)

Opening Hours Mon - Fri 10am - 9pm, Sat 10am - 8:30pm

Representative Menu Korean crackers (Cubes, ginger, peanut, green laver, etc.)


#2 Since 1958, Gyeonggi Tteok House(경기떡집)

▲ET tteok, and  nutritious chaltteok. Eldest son of 'Gyeonggi Tteok House', Choi Dae-ro.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)
▲ET tteok, and nutritious chaltteok. Eldest son of 'Gyeonggi Tteok House', Choi Dae-ro.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)

Recently, the so-called 'Mangridan-gil' has brought frequent visits of youths and foreign tourists to Mangwon-dong area. In this alley of emerging cafes and restaurants of new sensibility, a store has kept its long history. It is called 'Gyeonggi Tteok House'. It was opened when master Choi Gil-sun (66), a student of Kim Jang-seop who established the Heungin Mill in 1958, inherited the tradition. And this tradition has been inherited to his four sons reaching today's Tteok House. Four sons has studied Tteok as a healthy dessert for all people to enjoy lightly with a goal of 'keeping' and 'continuing' the tradition. The eldest, Choi Dae-ro (37) chose 'trust' as the secret of long-run, saying that he plans to make a Tteok House that carries on through second, third and fourth generations.

"Our highest priority is to use food ingredients that our customers can trust to eat. Even today, my father still visits the places of origins to select good rice and grains. Although there may not be major change in taste, we are trying to keep upgrading ingredients. For example, if we have food ingredient that gives 99% taste at 100 won, and food ingredient that gives 100% taste at 200 won, we would definitely choose the latter. We never use aged and foul ingredients. Also, as many people place an order of Tteok to celebrate special days, punctuality is our basic principle. One day, I saw dad crying while making Tteok when my younger brother was sick. For someone, he may not be good father, but I think we need the sense of duty to keep the tradition."

The longest running Tteok made in the hands of the master is 'Black Sesame Injeolmi', but the most popular Tteok is 'ET Tteok'. It's been 20 years since released this Tteok. Because it's one of the oldest menus, some people ask 'what it means in Chinese characters', but in fact, it was named after 'ET' from a classical movie. To both sides of a thumb-sized gluttonous Tteok, we shape and put peeled red bean paste, and the finished Tteok resembles the face of ET. Another major menu would be 'Honey Tteok'. It is popular regardless of gender and age, and it is popular even among foreigners who call it 'Honey Balls'.

Because Tteok can easily make you thirsty, the Tteok House also offers Sikhye and Sujeonggwa. Choi Dae-ro and his brothers plan to launch a dessert cafe of Tteok and beverages made of mixed grain powders.

"Since retro is current trend, people's interest in Tteok has increased. In this environment, fusion desserts have emerged such as tiramishu Tteok and cream cheese Tteok, but we don't want the future of our Tteok to unravel in this direction. We are gathering strength to study menus that can appeal to trendy people while keeping our tradition."

Address 24, 9-gil, Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (2 minutes’ walk from Mangwon Station)

Opening Hours Mon - Sat 8am - 6pm

Representative Menu ET Tteok, Honey Tteok, Black Sesame Injeolmi, etc.


#3 Since 1970, Yetnaljip Nakwon Agujjim(옛날집 낙원아구찜)

▲Braised spicy monkfish table d-hote. Yoon Cheong-ja and youngest son, Jeon Seung-geun.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)
▲Braised spicy monkfish table d-hote. Yoon Cheong-ja and youngest son, Jeon Seung-geun.(오병돈 프리랜서 obdlife@gmail.com)

'Agwijjim Street' is located near the Nakwon Arcade in Seoul Jongno-gu. 'Yetnaljip Nakwon Braised Spicy Monkfish (hereafter Nakwon Braised Spicy Monkfish)' first opened braised spicy monkfish restaurant in this alley, and contributed to today's fame. Because so many businesses named themselves 'Origin' and 'Tradition', they indicated 'Very First' in the signboard.

Spicy but savory braised monkfish of this restaurant has refreshing taste without the unpleasant taste in the mouth. On top of the taste, for the owner first introduced braised spicy monkfish in this Jongno alley, it is natural to suspect that he is from Masan or Gunsan, but no. Jeon Nak-bong (92) who always keeps his position at a table in the corner of the restaurant at his age past 90 is from the North, and his wife Yoon Cheong-ja (80) is from Seoul. Yoon says that there was no special reason to begin serving braised spicy monkfish.

"An acquaintance taught me how to cook. In the beginning, I simply followed the recipe, but I gained tips day after day. I studied in the early years what ingredients enhanced the taste and the ideal proportion of seasonings. Since I organized my own recipe, I have kept the original way until now."

For nearly 50 years, they have trimmed monkfish brought daily from the Noryangjin Fish Market and made radish watery kimchi two to three times a week to maintain the taste. Couples who dated at Nakwon Braised Spicy Monkfish in the early days come back as old couples, and a son who came with his father brings grandson. The secret would definitely be the taste of braised spicy monkfish that has continued for a long time, but some people also pay a visit to the owners who give a warm welcome to all ages.

"I would be lying if I say it wasn't hard because I worked every day for decades without a break. But when regulars greet me and say 'I'm glad you're still here, aunty', or 'I came to see granny', I'm so thankful for their greeting and visit and energized. And when people say 'There's nowhere like here' after going to several restaurants in the alley, I feel proud and rewarded."

This old couple says that even after deciding to stop working because of their old age and declining health, they can never desert the restaurant at the sight of regulars. But after their youngest son, Jeon Seung-geun (57) inherited the family business, they are only greeting customers at ease.

"The most important thing is the taste of hands, which my son has inherited properly. Old regulars say that the taste is the same as mine. But I'll try to be here if my health allows. Please come and see me because granny is still around."

Address 436, Samildae-ro, Jonggo-ru, Seoul (3 minutes’ walk form Jongro 3-ga Station)

Opening Hours Everyday 11:30am - 10pm

Representative Menu Braised Spicy Monkfish, Monkfish Soup, Braised Spicy Seafood, Seafood Soup, Stir-fried Rice

저작권자 ⓒ 브라보마이라이프 무단전재 및 재배포 금지