Tucked away from the subway stations, cafés and shopping of busier districts, walking to Kaesongjip almost feels like walking back in time, with grandmothers carrying bundles and children playing in the alleys. Gaeseong-jip itself is no exception, a modest storefront with an open industrial kitchen in the front and small rooms with floor seating and sliding doors in the back. Still, many Seoulites make pilgrimages here for the mandu soup and their famous cucumber kimchi. It’s a miracle these plump dumplings, nearly the size of a first, don’t split their wrappers—and there’s a right way to eat them (as we are notified by a scolding ajumma): First cut one in half with your spoon, she instructs, then pour just a little bit of the soy sauce with green pepper over the top. “Isn’t that more delicious?” she asks, not expecting an answer, and somehow, she’s right. Also popular with regulars is their version of joraengi ddeok, tiny rice cakes that look like miniature peanuts in the shell (they’re fun to chew), a regional specialty of the north. Don’t leave without trying the oi-kimchi (cucumber kimchi), which must be ordered separately. Each cucumber segment is carefully sliced to create a pocket for the fillings, then is fermented in radish kimchi brine, giving it subtle and fresh flavors. Despite its relatively fermented stated, it still retains a little snap.
50, Muhak-ro 43-gil
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 12pm–9:30pm (break time 3pm–6pm|
|Transport:||Sinseol-dong Station (Line 1, 2), exit 3|
|Price:||Mandu soup 10,000 won, joraengi ddeok soup 9,000 won, cucumber kimchi 3,000 won|