Have you ever tried Kimbap? It’s the Korean version of sushi, although it doesn’t have raw fish like its Japanese counterpart. In fact, the only things in common are the shape, rice (밥), and seaweed (김). All the other ingredients tend to be quite different! If you’re in Seoul, you must visit this quaint little Kimbap restaurant.
Since I work around Seodaemun/Yeonhidong (서대문/연희동) area in Seoul, I have had the chance to try a lot of restaurants around here. It is about a 20 minute stroll from Yonsei University (연세대학교). I can firmly say that Yeonhidong has some of my favourite restaurants to eat out at for lunch. Seriously. They have some great authentic and delicious Korean food. I think maybe because it’s less of a tourist-y area. There isn’t much shopping around here, nor any foreigners to be seen (except for me, of course). It’s basically homes, businesses and restaurants.
The photo below is that of “Yeonhidong Kimbap”, my favourite Kimbap place. I like to joke that it is an ajumma (아줌마) factory because there are usually 3-4 ladies sitting, making and rolling Kimbaps and these huge mountains piling up in front of them.
The Kimbaps in the pile in the far left called are “Yeonhidong Kimbap”, which is also the name of the restaurant. This flavour is actually cheaper (1,500 KRW) than the other flavours (up to 3,000 KRW) which was a pleasant surprise to me because I’m used to specialities being more expensive than the regular items.
Take note, this place is for take-out (포장) only! They give you wooden chopsticks with your order, which is convenient, but they do not include any banchan (반찬), which are Korean side dishes. This makes me so sad… Because I dearly love Danmuji (단무지), which are bright yellow pickled radishes.
The menu is on the wall and only in Korean. So, I will translate it for you.
- 연희동 김밥 = Yeonhidong kimbap (speciality)
- 꼬마 김밥 = Ggoma kimbap (mini)
- 오징어 꼬마 김밥 = Ojingeo ggoma kimbap (squid mini) * be careful, very spicy!
- 치즈 김밥 = Chijeu kimbap (cheese)
- 산더덕 김밥 = Sandeodeok kimbap (grilled deodeok)
- 참치 김밥 = Chamchi kimbap (tuna) my personal favourite :-)
- 장조림 김밥 = Jangjorim kimbap (beef boiled down in soy sauce)
- 오징어 김밥 = Ojingeo kimbap (squid) * be careful, very spicy!
- 고추 김밥 = Kochu kimbap (chili)
- 멸치 김밥 = Myeolchi kimbap (anchovy)
And voila! There it is. I think this place is worth a try because they have a few flavours that are rarer to find, such as the Jangjorim kimbap (장조림 김밥). Plus, the ladies there are very nice even if it’s difficult to understand each other due to the language barrier.
Happy eating :-)