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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Bongchu Jjimdak

We tend to review a lot of foreign restaurants here, as Korean food is pretty easy to find, and the majority of restaurants sell pretty decent nosh. Every once in a while, however, we review a Korean place that stands out from the crowd, or serves something just a little different than every other bar-be-que place.

Just across the side street from the Lotte Hotel is one of these little jems. Bongchu Jjimdak is a small restaurant with clean, modern styling, and really tasty food. Jjimdak is a stew dish that is most famous in the city of Andong, and there are a few variations available on the menu. Andong jjimdak is moderately spicy (though watch out for the chunks of red chili pepper!), and the chicken, veggies, and glass noodles are simmered until tender in a soy-based sauce. As with many dishes here, the meat is served bone-in, as this gives it a stronger flavour. Unfortunately, it also makes eating it a little trickier. It’s a great way to force yourself to slow down if you’re one of those folks who tends to inhale their food without really tasting it. At Bongchu Jjimdak, though, they actually offer a boneless version of the dish (which I just found out about while translating the menu for this article, and I am now very excited to try out! See what happens when you actually read past the first thing on the menu?).

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This is a dish for sharing with friends. The smallest portion is meant for 2 (above), and you can also get it for 3 or 4 people. It’s served with a couple of side dishes, and most people order a portion of rice to go with it (soaks up the sauce perfectly).

When it’s served, they’ll bring scissors to the table, which you’ll need to help deal with the glass noodles. They’re delicious, but slipperly little devils, and when they’re jumbled and tangled together under chunks of chicken and veg, it’s hard to scoop them onto your own plate. You can either chop up the whole dish of noodles, or just cut them as you serve yourself.

The restaurant is small, and tends to be rather crowded at lunch time (I’ve never been by at dinner time, but I assume it’s busy then, too), which is always a good sign.

The menu is nice and simple:

Jjimdak 찜닭 (19,000 won for 2, 26,000 won for 3 or 37,000 won for 4)

or Boneless jjimdak 뼈없는 순살 찜닭 (20,000 won for 2, 28,000 won for 3 or 39,000 won for 4)

with rice (gong-gi bap – 공기밥) for 1,000 won each.

The drinks menu is a little more extensive. They offer bottled water (2,000 won), soju and beer (4,000 won), and then a variety of other “soo” (alcohol):

Chang ha 창하 (4,000 won) and  Sansachun 산사춘 (8,000) are both rice alcohol.

Maehwasoo 매화수 (4,000 won), Maeshil maeul 매실마을 (7,000 won), and Seoljungmae 설중매 (9,000 won) are all types of plum alcohol. (Google translate told me that Maeshil maeul means “plum prostitute”…)

Bokbunja 복분자 (13,000) is Korean raspberry alcohol, and they also offer the famous Andong Soju, but without a price listed on the menu, which always makes me nervous.

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Location: On the side street across from Lotte Hotel, Samsandong, just past B-Stove, on the second block back from the main Samsan road.