From Classic Hangover Soup to Ramen Trucks
The history of hangover stews in the Republic of Korea began in 1937 with the opening of Cheongjinok. The clean-tasting, Seoul-style blood stew for hangovers served at this establishment has been consistently beloved by drinkers for many years. Blood stew is, as the name implies, a soup made by stewing the blood of a cow with the broth. A soup bone is stewed for a long time, and then added to that are generous chunks of radish, bean sprouts, blood, then finally doenjang (soybean paste) for flavor before the entire stew is boiled again. The hangover stew of Cheongjinok is faithful to the fundamentals. The broth, with the reddish brown color unique to blood stew, is characterized by the refreshing flavor of the bean sprout and dried radish stems, and the subtle sweetness that comes from letting quality meat stew for a long time. Because the soup isn’t boiled outright for flavor, but rather allowed to simmer at the appropriate temperature, there’s a complexity to the broth that you can taste. Cheongjinok also makes a great one-stop shop for drinking: after drinking some soju with cooked beef intestines, you can preemptively alleviate the hangover on the spot with hangover stew.
Ah, the good ‘ol days when all the last men standing from clubs like FF and NB2 gathered around this ramen truck and ended their nights as the sun peeked over the horizon. The famous tonkotsu ramen truck has an actual store now.Unlike other ramen places, Cheongyang red pepper replaces green onion and garlic to spice up the soup here. The tender chashu pork and Japanese style soft-boiled eggs are also reasonably priced at 7,000 won. The flavorful yet clean-tasting broth brings all the clubbers to the yard.
Even though their sign has a disclaimer that they have no connection to the restaurant of the same name in popular Japanese comic series “Shinya Shokudo,” Shimya Sikdang still sees a steady stream of people coming here with expectations of consolation. And not completely unlike the book, Shimya Sikdang also allows customers to order whatever they would like to eat (as long as they have the ingredients at hand), and closes late at night (around 5am). Chef Kwon Ju-seong's Shimya Sikdang is filled with love for food and travel. He puts his own twist on dishes that he tried while traveling through 100 different cities around the world. Some of his favorites include tom yum goong, Japanese donkatsu, "Itaewon soup" blended with Nagasaki broth, and Swiss potato pancakes made from thin potato slivers in an egg batter with grated cheese. There's also the “daebahk” (which means jackpot in Korean) shrimp paste, 14-week old ham, a bomb cocktail concocted with Mt. Hall and Thai Chang beer, and the notorious yeomyeong (hangover drink) as a chaser, all humorous yet delicious creations.
Late night eats at Hongdae&Itaewon
Along with Sangsu-dong Ramen Truck, Khaosan Road also used to be another go-to snack truck for locals and clubbers in Hongdae. Tom Yum soup and Tom Yum ramen are some of their biggest moneymakers that contributed to its transition to an actual store. Munching on a plate of their pad Thai, your taste buds are already experiencing Bangkok’s Khaosan Road in the middle of Hongdae.
Everyone knows about this notorious post-clubbing calorie bomb, Monster Pizza. It’s the OG pizza-andbeer place, before it became a fad and overtook basically all of Seoul. Located right across from Samgeori Pocha and NB2, they only have three things on the menu—the Spice Girl, the pepperoni and the cheese. Don’t be fooled by the huge size (46cm/18in)—they care just as much about quality as quantity. Shipped straight from the States, their signature tomato sauce will make it impossible for you to stop once you take that first bite. The limited space and cheap prices push clubbers out onto the streets for their very own pizza party.
The McDonald’s of Korean street food, Jopok Toppoki started as a food truck in 1987 and made its way up to the Hongdae tteokbokki classic that it has become now. It has two stores in the Hongdae area alone. To be perfectly honest, the food isn’t anything too special. Their success mainly comes from the great location and keeping their classic taste consistent over the years. By the way, the place has nothing to do with jopok (gangsters), so no need to get intimidated (though the owner is actually kind of scary looking)!
You’ve probably walked by the mouth-watering smell of Turkish kebab near exit 3 at Itaewon Station. Now one of the landmarks of the area, Ankara Picnic has established its place in the history of Itaewon kebab (literally half of all Korea’s kebab places seem to be located around here). Although truck competitors have come and go, loyal customers always come back to Ankara Picnic for their consistency. You’re lucky if they’re not out of lamb already and even if they’re are, there’s always a long line for the other late night munchies.
Chicken skewers (dakkochi) seem to have become the new churros of Gyeongridan. Just like its name, Galo Halo’s skewers have something special about them. Recently opened in mid-June, the store’s best sellers are ssam (perilla leaves) and injeolmi (Korean sticky rice cake). The perilla leaves’ refreshing aroma balances out the chicken in ssam, and the chewy injeolmi has an interesting texture in your mouth. The owner tried out countless chicken skewer recipes until he found the right balance of originality and taste before coming up with his own menu. The chicken isprepared daily without any artificial additives, which maintains the quality that sets Galo Halo apart from other street chicken skewers.