One of the first foods I ever fell in love with when I first moved to Korea was BBQ, I was like a moth to a flame with that first piece of meaty goodness, dipped into the orgasmic samjang sauce. Over the years I have had pork, lamb, and beef BBQ but I have never had this particular style of chicken BBQ, only the pan fried version that comes with rice. So when I was invited to Gwanghwamun to try this chicken BBQ place I was very curious indeed.
The restaurant is located on the basement floor of a huge building half way between Gwanghwamun and Jonggak. This is quite a little food haven, and it has really exploded over the past few years, likely due to all the surrounding office buildings. While I have been to a few on the places on the main street like Jil hal Bros, and Egg Drop, I had no idea there was a huge food court below. It’s really a maze down there, so be sure to look at the directions carefully to find it.
The restaurant itself and is of a decent size. They have two menus: a lunch menu, and a dinner menu. As it was dinner time we ordered two portions of the Chicken Galbi (닭갈비- 12,000) per portion. You get three pieces of chicken with each portion and there are three flavours – Yang Nyum (양념), Herb (허브), and Soy Sauce (간장). We were lucky enough to split ours so we ended up with two pieces of each. The chicken is brought out and cooked by the staff over the hot coals at your table.
All three flavours of the chicken were really good, though all very different. If you like spicy food then the Yang Nyum is pretty hard to beat, as it had just enough sweet and spicy kick. If you want to shy away from the spicy flavours then you are much better off getting the herb, which had a cleaner flavour, or the soy sauce which was sweet and salty. The chicken itself was crispy on the outside and juicy in the middle, and was expertly cut by our very friendly waitress who made sure it was cooked evenly.
Korean BBQ always comes with free side dishes, which in Korean are called banchan (반찬). You never know what side dishes you’ll get but with this meal we got some kimchi style radish, garlic, garlic shoots, radish slices, gochujang, and samjang. These were all a really nice accompaniment to the meat, though it would have been nice to have some lettuce leaves too.
To round out our meal we got a Bibim Makguksu (비빔막국수-7,000) and Mul Makguksu (물막국수-7,000). This dish is very similar to Naengmyeon the famous cold Korean noodle dish. Honestly other than the noodles being slightly different I couldn’t tell the difference between the two (so if anyone knows, please feel free to comment below to enlighten me). Of the two I loved the mul version the best which had a tastier and more vinegary broth. Just watch how much gochujang they put on the top if you don’t like your food spicy, because if not you’ll be necking a hell of a lot of Beers (4,000).
Overall we had a wonderful dinner, the food was really good and much better than I was expecting, we loved the BBQ chicken, it was really different, and the cold noodles were also really top notch. If you are on a budget then the lunch set is an absolute steal at 8,000 (it includes two pieces of chicken then your choice of noodles or rice and dwoenjang jiggae). It is the perfect spot to hit up after a spot of sight seeing.
Chuncheon Chicken Galbi is located B1, 19 Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Jongak Station (exit 1). Walk straight until you reach the Chinese style wooden arches, go through and you will see the building entrance on the right hand side, just before you reach Santorini Coffee. Go into the building and go down the escalator, to the basement floor. When you reach the floor go straight past the Indian restaurant, then turn right, you will see Chuncheon Chicken just ahead. For more information you can call them on 02-732-1188 or check out their facebook page. They are open from 10:30-10:30 Mon – Fri, 12:00-9:30 on Sat, and 3:00 – 9:30 on Sun.