Chef and owner Yu Jong-cheol worked at Pyongyang’s famed restaurant Okryugwan for 11 years before making his way to the South some ten years ago. It wasn’t easy—he even worked as a construction worker for some time. After holding cooking classes and pop-ups, he and his wife finally opened a place of their own at the end of 2015. It’s a small, unassuming storefront on a Hapjeong side street, with dark-paneled wood walls, natural light and simple furniture—not the kind of place to bring a rowdy group of 12, but definitely a hidden gem you’ll want to show off to your friends.
The menu at Dongmu Bapsang is a blend of high-end and everyday fare. On one end of the spectrum, you’ll find ori gukbap (duck and rice soup), a simple, belly-warming meal, and North Korean sundae (blood sausage), with glutinous rice in place of the glass noodles found down south. But for something really special, order the sinseollo, an elaborate Joseon royal court recipe considered a luxury throughout the peninsula. Orders must be placed at least one day in advance, and it’s easy to see why: Tiny meatballs, gingko nuts and pine nuts dot a layered landscape of shrimp, abalone and thinly sliced, delicately battered and cooked meats, all arranged over a bed of glass noodles. Though the brass pot may look deceptively small, it easily feeds two to three (you won’t need a side of rice). As for banchan, Chef Yu’s kimchi is especially interesting—he uses puréed radish in place of fermented fish, resulting in a light and sweet pickle.
|Venue name:||Dongmu Bapsang (Comrade’s Table)|
|Opening hours:||Tue–Sat 11:30am–9pm (break time 3–5pm, last order 8:20pm)|
|Transport:||Hapjeong Station (Line 2, 6), exit 8|
|Price:||Sinseollo 70,000 won, ori gukbap 7,500 won, naengmyeon 9,000 won|