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Restaurants, Ramen Mapo-gu
3 out of 5 stars

Hakatabunko is one of the rare Seoul hot spots that has seen the media descend, faced the crowds and lines outside, and managed to retain quality. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they’ve stayed stubbornly small (barely two dozen seats) and that Japanese-born owner [name TKTK] holds court in the kitchen, making every single order himself. Still, at their busiest, he can serve up to 60 ramen in an hour, by his estimation. His ramen is of the Hakata variety, with thin noodles and a long-simmered pork broth (chung is strained and in is not), topped with a handful of finely chopped scallion, bean sprouts, julienned wood ear mushroom, and a slice of chashu pork. Garlic and sesame are provided for you to apply as you please. The small dish of kimchi that shows up as soon as you sit down may turn some ramen aficionados off—it may not be a thoroughly Japanese ramen, but is it delicious? Hell, yes.

By: Sonja Swanson


Venue name: Hakatabunko
Address: 43 Dongmak-ro 19-gil
Opening hours: Daily 12–2pm, 5–11pm.
Transport: Sangsu Station (Line 6), exit 2
Price: 8,000 won
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