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Mr Go Young Gul’s Bangeojin Bread Emporium

The Portal to Joy and Nourishment

The search for good bread in Korea is one that is fraught with angst and (often) disappointment. If it’s not a near miss with an airy loaf of ‘wheat bread’ that tastes a little too sweet to be good for you, then it’s more than likely going to be a dangerous liaison with a wrap-like thing protecting a sausage.

While I can’t help but admire this covert safe-sex message that’s reaching out to the kids through their local flour-merchant, personally I find myself being reminded of a hit-and-run victim who’s just been dragged in off the pedestrian crossing outside the shop every time I set eyes on one of these abominations.

In short, Korean ‘bakeries’ have peddled a range of sub-standard bread-like substances for too long, going virtually unchecked by true bread connoisseurs who demand a higher standard from a staple that will hopefully get them through the morning. To be perfectly honest, if I wanted fruit in my bread, I’d have a slice of good bread and a mango. If I wanted sweet bread, I’d have a slice of good bread and a piece of chocolate (probably a Lindt ball from Emart – they’re fantastic). Mixing these together to make Frankenstein-like bread horror stories, however, is simply not on.  The obvious exceptions to this rule are the grain breads.

The German Rye: Not Hairy

In a scientific study done by Jodie Kidd and three sparrows* it was proven that the only way to get the daily requirement of seeds in your stomach (and not all over the floor) was by baking them inside some top quality bread. These results have since been largely ignored by the Korean baking fraternity, who continue to focus on dressing their staff up like convicts, adding monikers synonymous with breads and pastries to their names (like ‘Paris’ and ‘Baguette), and making exactly the same produce as every other baker in the city.

*Note: Kidd subsequently ignored her own research and almost wasted away to a shadow after dining on seeds alone.

An example of this proclivity for mediocrity is every baker’s shop in the land selling profiteroles. I’ve never seen a Korean person buy one and I suspect the reason is it’s impossible for any of the locals to say ‘profiterole’ without pulling a tongue muscle. A simple loaf of rye or multi-grain would be a much better option. Can you imagine a Korean person going into a supermarket in your home country and asking for Korean-style rice, only to be greeted with the response, “Sorry, we don’t have any…but here’s a profiterole”? They’d be livid! Yet local bakeries persist in offering this trite fare whilst ignoring an obviously overlooked section of the market.

Lamingtons...NOT profiteroles!

Fortunately the visionary Go Young Gul bakery (고영걸 과자점) in Bangeojin shares my thoughts on the matter and has been producing a fantastic range of wholegrain and seeded breads for the last couple of years. Tucked away in a lane running parallel to the Hyundai Department store (behind the bowling alley and arts centre), the baker – Mr Go, has founded a business that takes the needs of the resident foreign community into account as well as producing local favourites.

Grain aficionados can choose from 4 varieties of grain bread – Greek bread, German rye, kraftkorn, and the heavy wholegrain rye bread that is absolutely delicious. On top of all this, there are ciabattas, baguettes, pita breads, and lamingtons – all made fresh on the premises.

The Heavy Rye Posse

If you’re having a special event, order in advance and Mr Go is happy to make you a cake to celebrate, complete with icing illustrating the importance of the occasion. There is also a small selection of foreign preserves and peanut butters available to purchase. And, if you time your visit well, you might be lucky enough to pick up some muffins or lemon cupcakes hot off the baking rack.

It’s a good idea to call in advance to order if you want any of the speciality breads mentioned earlier, as they’re pretty popular with the people that live in the area.

For God’s sake don’t start ringing up and ordering profiteroles though!

Cakes...celebrating

Contact Details:

Phone: 233-0440 (The shop assistants normally speak reasonable English)

Directions:

The Go Young Gul bakery is a little tricky to find first time around – it’s in a laneway opposite the Hyundai Department Store in Bangeojin. If you take a bus to the Hyundai Department Store, and head towards the McDonalds on the corner opposite once you get off,  then you’ll be well on your way. Once you’ve crossed the road to McDonalds go left along the footpath, walk past the porridge shop and convenience store next door to Maccas, and continue on towards the Art’s Centre/bowling alley. Take the first laneway on your right, go up the hill past the Nonghyup Bank and take the first left at the top of the hill. Go Young Gul bakery is about 100m along on the right-hand side, sandwiched between a pizza shop and the fruit and veggie store.

Prices:

Grain breads: 4000 won a loaf (Greek, Kraftkorn, and German breads)

Heavy rye: 6000 won a loaf

Ciabattas: 1500 won each

Baguettes and bag of pita breads: around 2000 – 2500 won each

Lamingtons: 1200 won each

Assorted cakes and pastries: 1000 – 5000 won

Cakes for special occasions: 10000 – 25000 won

Peanut butters and preserves: 3000 – 6000 won

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