Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Seoul 2013: 인사동 (Insa-dong)

I reckon I better start uploading stuff faster cos...I have quite a fair no of upcoming short trips. ;)

So, the next part of my Seoul trip will be on 인사동 (Insa-dong). I've actually visited the place back in 2011 (look > here), when I popped by 쌈지길 (Ssamziegil). This time round, I brought my friends there as I wanted to try out one of the 한정식 (hanjeongsik) restaurants. In 2011, I had tried a hanjeongsik (look > here), but I wanted to visit another such restaurant to compare the experience.

정식 (traditional Korean set meal) 

Jirisan Restaurant (지리산)
Address: 서울특별시 종로구 인사동14길 30 (30, Insadong 14-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul)
Get there: Get off at Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Go straight 100m and turn left at the intersection. Walk along Insadong-gil Road and turn left onto Insadong 14-gil (refer to blue sign below). Walk further to the end of the alley and turn left, the restaurant is slightly ahead on the right.
Phone: +82-2-723-4696
Opening hours: 10am - 930pm
To try: Hanjeongsik (starting from 15,000₩ per pax)

In fact, along the way, there are plenty of other hanjeongsik restaurants. I just happened to pick this restaurant as it had quite a number of online reviews.

Before entering the restaurant, you gotta remove your shoes at the entrance. Then the wait staff will lead you into the restaurant. We were there quite early, almost breakfast time in fact, thus the place was relatively empty. It only started to fill up when we were about the leave the place.


Unlike my previous hanjeongsik experience, where the food was served in courses, this time round, all the food was served at once. Thus the filled to the brim table shot. The meal mainly comprised of mostly vegetarian banchans, except for the grilled fish. The meal was relatively tasty, albeit too healthy tasting (ha!) cos of all that vegetables. The only thing we all didn't like was the tofu curd stew. I guess it was the restaurant's specialty, but the taste just didn't agree with us and we left it mostly untouched.

BTS at the restaurant
Menu prices were listed on a board outside the restaurant

After our meal (I can't decide to call it breakfast or lunch), we walked around Insa-dong a bit. 


One of the girlfriend loves anything eggs, thus she bought one and we all shared. In her opinion, this ahjusshi had the best 계란빵 (gyerang bbang - egg bread) she had in her trip. She tried a few others for the rest of our trip, but she swore this was the best. When we happened to be by the area again a couple days later, she was disappointed that the ahjusshi's stall was not open. Lol.

삼보당 혿떡

I've never actually eaten hotteuk in Korea before. 혿떡 (hotteuk) is essentially a dessert snack. Hotteuk is like a stuffed fried pancake, filled with a sweet filling that might contain cinnamon, nuts, sugar or other stuff. 

My previous two trips were during Summer, and hotteuk is more of a cold weather snack. Thus, when we visited in Apr/May, as the weather was still relatively cool, we managed to spot a few hotteuk stalls on the streets a coupla times! One of the most popular hotteuk stalls must be the one at Insa-dong. When I googled the best hotteuk, the name 삼보당 (Sambodang) kept popping up. So, I was determined to locate it to give it a try.


I was a bit underwhelmed by the taste of the hotteuk to be honest. I had built up this snack to be all pedestal-like tasty, only to come crashing back at how normal it tasted. Yes, it was a tasty piping hot snack, but it's not the best Korean snack that I would recommend trying.

Other random street snack stalls I spotted, but didn't try

All three of us had to have our daily cuppa, so we popped into a random cafe for some caffeine. Oh look, pretty pastries and breads. I swear Korea is damn dangerous to my waistline. They have all that yummy street snacks, bread shops, Korean food. Pui. I did manage to resist the array of yummy looking stuff below though. *pats self on back*

Aww how sad. We missed the cherry blossom season by just a week or two. Here are some leftover petals on the floor though.

On another day, we were around Insa-dong area at night, and we were scouting for some food for a light dinner. Ta-dah. Chanced upon this dumpling shop so we got in line and bought a variety to share.

List of available dumplings 

The dumpling store was pretty packed, thus we requested for take away, and sat at a corner stone seat near the shop to chow down. Pretty average stuff. I kinda preferred the deep fried ones to the steamed ones as they had sorta a japchae-like filling. Surprisingly so, cos I normally prefer steamed to fried dumplings (for dim-sum at least ha!).

*yawns* It's bed-time. Ciao. Till the next post~

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