Where to end the night…
Gaysbook, a gay social networking site, calls the chef here a total kitchen goddess. The name of the bar (soolpan, Korean for drinking mess) foreshadows a night of heavy drinking, but fret not – their tasty Korean anjoo menu is also meal-ready. Note their galbijjim (braised short-ribs), and oyster pancake steak, all original creations of the owner and strongly recommended. Weekend nights call for a wait time of at least half an hour.
An auntie loved by residents of Jongro for her looks and whip-smart quips runs this restaurant and bar. Called Mullaebanga, the demographic here is a macro-view of Jongro today: gays, middle-aged couples, and the elderly. Auntie, having flexed her skills at her own pojangmacha during her heydays, now prides in her dishes served at Mullaebanga. Her marinated half-dried Pollack and succulent egg soup simmered with all types of seafood are perfect sides if you are drinking. Whatever is in the tank are all daily purchases from the Noryangjin Fish Market, so try their fresh sea squirt, sea cucumber, or octopus for the right pairing with soju.
Nuenejip (Korean for “your place”) is always the last stop during a night out in Itaewon. No matter how tired or drunk you are, once you step into the shabby nest of Nuenejip, you will mysteriously find a second wind. This new-found energy is most likely from the excitement of trying Nuenejip’s famed soy sauce ddeokbokki (everyone literally comes here just for this), known amongst the Itaewon regulars as notoriously tasty. The catch is that you can only order this popular dish if you are ordering at least two more dishes. This place lives up to its name, and supposedly even attracts the occasional secret celebrity couple.
While the rest of Itaewon is winding down its crazy weekend, this is the one place that fills up even quickly than cabs on a rainy Saturday night. Popular with people who play all night and then get hungry, Yago Dumplings is well-known for handmade delights. Spicy dumplings made from extra-hot green peppers as well as satisfying shrimp dumplings are part of their special menu. Sometimes, your carnal hungers are simple, and all you need to finish off your weekend is the taste of these mouthwatering dumplings.