Perhaps it’s the very cooling autumn temperature, or that penetrating chill when the night falls, I have been craving a hot, and slightly sour, comforting bowl of Korean kimchi stew, the Kimchi Jjigae recently.
It is such a common food that every household would serve on their dining table every now and then. And I happened to find one just nearby the Seoul National University station. This one here nearby the station by a Kimchi Jjigae specialist is however slightly different from what we consume at our Korean friend’s house, or at any bunsik-jib (convenient food store). This particular place that I am writing today serves hot and filling spicy soup, with big chunks of pork, and, of course in a gigantic big pot. If you are a committed carnivore, this place is exactly where you should check out.
And so here am I at this little Kimchi Stew Specialist located at the corner of the street near my house. K and I were there at 1230 noon sharp and got a shock. We didn’t expect a full house. So we joined the queue and waited outside for about 20 minutes before getting in.
The menu was written onto silver trays that hung against the wall. Beside it was a note by the restaurant chain owner that says:
Our kimchi broth is freshly prepared every morning. We would rather start our business later than re-using the leftovers from yesterday.
This explains why I always see kimchi broth packed in garbage bags for disposal outside the restaurant every morning. They really throw the leftovers away and prepare fresh ones every day!
Cute paper towel roll holder that looks like an oversized film box. According to some Korean bloggers, the young owner of the restaurant loves photography. Hence, the restaurant is decorated as a mini-gallery showcasing the owner’s work.
The restaurant is in a cosy size that fits six to seven tables for 4. So if you’re unlucky, you may need to wait outside for your turn. Mind you, they are good at their jjigae so, be prepared to queue for at least 20 to 30 minutes!
The menu is simple. You can choose between a basic pot (fit for 2-3 pax.) or upsize pot (fit 4-6 pax.). After making your choice of the size, you can then select add-ons like egg rolls (KRW6,500), Instant noodles (KRW 1,000), dumplings (KRW1,500) or seaweed (KRW 1,000 for two packs). Do take note that with every order of one kimchi stew comes one pack of free seaweed. : D
Since the two of us are not big eaters, we decided not to have any other add ons in the soup. We ordered a basic pot, egg rolls, two white rice and additional seaweed packs. The piping hot pot was served a short while later. Okay, the stew doesn’t look photogenic but trust me, the look doesn’t do any justice to the taste. It is slightly pulpy and VERY rich in flavour.
Eggroll was huge. It is not like those finely made tamago egg rolls you probably will get at some fancy Japanese restaurant. Rather, it feels more like home here.
The selling point of this place, I would say it is their enormously huge pot, with 3 big, fat, juicy chunks of pork belly (for two-person). No kidding. Look at my pictures below.
Each piece of the belly was at least 1.5 to 2 cm thick. Customers got to help themselves with the cutting before eating. It was quite fun though K was the one who did most of the cutting.
I wasn’t prepared to be on the blog that day so here are some edited pictures of mine with the funny cat head app. Well, you can have a clearer picture of how big the pot is.
The sizzling porky kimchi stew is ready to eat. Look at the vibrant orange colour broth! Isn’t it lovely? I must say nothing beats a bubbling hot Kimchi stew on a chilly winter-like autumn night in Seoul. Fiery hot, hearty and full of flavour, this is certainly my type of comfort food — in a luxurious way. Look at the amount of meat we consume for this one single meal. It was good nonetheless, one of the best kimchi jjigae places in Seoul I’d say.
Tips for ordering:
Look at the leftovers we had should give you a brief idea of how to order your kimchi stew with them. Everything was nice, but the portion is a tad too big for regular eaters like us. However, I think it will make it just right for 3 people to order a regular pot. A gigantic pot of kimchi stew with huge chunks of pork belly at KRW13,000, I think is very reasonable.
Nang Pung Kimchi JJigae (Seoul Nat’l University Station)
883-11, level 1, cheongryung-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul.
서울시 관악구 청룡동 883-11, 1층.
Nang Pung Kimchi JJigae (Hongik Univ. Station/Sangsu Station)
409-10 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul.
서울시 마포구 와우산로 15길-28. / 서울시 마포구 서교동 409-10
UPDATE 2015 :
I noticed Nangpung has ceased its franchise business at the Seoul Nat’l University outlet. However, you can still get kimchi jiggle at the same location. The restaurant is no longer called “Nang Pung” but it sells the same dishes.
How To Get There:
1. Coming out from Line No. 2 (Green Line) Seoul Nat’l University Station (서울대입구역) Exit No.4, walk straight.
2. Walk down 3 blocks. You’ll pass by Woori Bank, Mr. Pizza, Tous Les Jous, Cafe Bene, IBK bank and Hi Mart (all at your left-hand side) before reaching the correct junction.
3. Turn left right after Hi Mart, you’ll see a cosy little shop house with navy blue colour banners. That’s Nang Pung, the Kimchi Stew Specialist.