Snapshots from South Korea: Seafood Noodle Soup from Samcheong-dong Sujebi
From May 8 to May 12 I visited Seoul for the first time, mostly to eat as much food as I could and learn about a cuisine I knew little about.
When Dan of food blog Seoul Eats told me he was going to take me to a restaurant that specialized in dumpling soup, I envisioned mandu. But this dish featured the dough-only sort of dumplings, like dumpling skins without the filling, which turned out to be even better than my initial idea.
For my introduction to sujebi, a noodle soup dish where the noodles are chunks of roughly torn dough, Dan brought me to Samcheong-dong Sujebi, a popular old-school sujebi joint sporting a light teal color scheme that, I would assume, has always been the same. While Dan explained that it was known for having a line out the door (granted, a fast-moving line), it was calm when we visited on a Thursday afternoon.
To avoid getting full before dinner we shared one bowl of sujebi (₩6,000, about $4.80), accompanied by "eat as much as you want" buckets of kimchi. The thick, semi-opaque soup with sliced zucchini, carrot, and potato burst with the briny goodness of anchovy sauce and clams. My not especially seafood-minded palette though the flavor tasted balanced—not too salty and far from bland. Paired with plenty of large ragged noodles featuring a pleasantly soft and hearty chewy texture, this is something I could see myself waiting in line for, especially for only ₩6,000.
You know a place is specialized when their menu only has six items. I didn't get to try any of the savory pancakes, but I heard they were good. A translation, courtesy of bionicgrrrl (from left to right):
Chapssal Sujebi (Sweet Rice/Sticky Rice Sujebi): 7000
Pajun (Korean Pancake): 10000
Kamjajun (Potato Pancake): 6000
Nokdoojun (Mung Bean Pancake): 10000
Jjookkoomi Bokum (Sauteed/Stir Fried Baby Octopus): 12000
Dongdongjoo (Korean Rice Liquor): 3000
102 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul (map)