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Bongchu Jjimdak crosses our mind almost instantly as we recount some of our most memorable dishes in South Korea. It was indeed a dish to remember; as I had it twice during my South Korea trip in year 2007.
What exactly is Bongchu Jjimdak? Jjim means Korean steamed/boiled dish while dak refers to chicken. Bongchu-style simmered chicken is a dish that originated in the Gyeongsangdo Andong region long ago, and has now been turned into a fusion dish seasoned with spicy sauces to fit the tastes of the people. To make jjimdak, you first add pre-cooked chicken, extremely spicy peppers, mushrooms, carrots and other vegetables, and finally Chinese noodles (thin noodles made of starch). The dish is then simmered to perfection at a high heat.
We visited Bongchu Jjimdak’s branch at Myeongdong. Currently, the franchise holds stores in Seogyo, Seocho, Jongno, Sinchon, and Hongdae.The restaurant’s only menu is jjimdak, and one can choose from small, medium and large portion. We also ordered additional rice to go with the ultra addictive sauces.
The restaurant is perpetually busy. The booths and tables are always full and there’s a line for take-out whenever we come here. Seating arrangement is also tight but there is this small basket where you can place your hand bags and jackets before slidding it under your seat.
At the side of every table, there is a huge metal bowl for patrons to dispose of chicken bones and a pair of scissors if one needs help with the the long and chewy noodles.
Jinro Soju and Chilsung Cider. Chilsung Cider is similar to Seven Up but a little sweeter and we tend to have this wherever we go.
Jjimdak is best served with these bowls of light Kimchi soup (Dong chi mi – 동치미). Dong chi mi not only stimulates your appetite, but it also soothes the intense spiciness of a jjimdak dish. Just like kimchi; it is given free of charge.
Bongchu-jjimdak blends the flavors of chicken, spicy peppers, and a sweet soy-based sauce to create a uniquely tasteful dish. The enormous plate takes up almost half of the table holding abundant amounts of chicken, noodles, potatoes, and other ingredients. The chicken, noodles, and potatoes are thoroughly marinated in the spicy sauce, making it a very flavourful dish.
They were so delicious we could not get enough of them! However, we had to wash down the spiciness with dong chi mi (light kim chi soup).
It was a very satisfying meal. Our total bill came to 32,000 won (~ RM90), which is quite decent for a typical meal in Seoul.
Bongchu Jjimdak, Myeongdong
Address: 25-2, 2-ga Myeong-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating Hours: opens daily from 1100 to 2300
Website: http://www.bongchu.co.kr (only available in Korean)
Alight atMyeongdong Station (Line 4), Exit 8. Walk straight till you see the small alley on your left and turn in. Walk all the way straight for about 5 minutes and the store is on your left.