The deteriorated elevated-road near Seoul Station, which has been keeping its presence in the center of the city for 45 years, will be soon eliminated. What we’ll see instead is a 10.3-meter wide and 1.24-km long elevated-park, decorated with trees and shrubs.
There will be book cafés, libraries, as well as 5 walking-courses: Jungnimmalli-dong Course, Sogong-dong Course, Myeongdong Coursem Namsan Course and Human-dong Course. Among them, Jungnimmalli-gil is an old 2.5km path connecting Jungnim-dong and Malli-dong. From an over-100-year-old cathedral to Korea’s first residential complex and a 45-year-old seolleongtang (ox bone soup) joint, this old neighborhood which seems to finally awaking from a long sleep has unique and one-of-a-kind offerings.
[Part 1] Spots to visit in Jungnimmalli-gil
Jungnim-dong’s former name is Yakgogae, or Yakhyeon-dong. During Joseon Dynasty, the neighborhood was the designated area to grow herbs which were to be used as traditional medicine for the Emperor – thus the name Yakhyeon-dong, which has the Chinese character ‘yak’ which translates to ‘medicine.’
Coming out of exit 4 from Chungjeongno Station (line 2), you will notice a slight hill on the right side. Taking a short hike up, you will reach Jungnim-dong’s Citizen’s Center at the top of the hill. Continuing the path will take you down an alley known for housing Korea’s first ever residential and commercial complex, the St. Joseph Apartments. They were actually first built to house those religiously devoted to the Yakhyeon Cathedral and is the reason why many of them still live there.
[Part 2] Restaurants to go in Jungnimmalli-gil
They don’t even have a huge sign and the entrance is located in a back alleyway. But you’ll notice the long line waiting outside is what will give off its hidden location. Founded in 1972, the restaurant is well known for its ox bone soup (Seolleongtang) and ox knee soup (Doganitang). Normal bone broth is cloudy in color and has a deep taste. Jungnim-jang’s broth is a little bit on the clearer side, due to their special mixture of not just Hanwoo bone but also Hanwoo brisket.
So the restaurant is named Thunder Bald because the owner of this restaurant gets his ‘thunderous’ idea from his balding head – thus Thunder Bald. Whether it has anything to do with the concept or taste of the restaurant, well you will have to be the judge of that. One thing for certain is that everything from the interior details to the separate lunch and dinner menus, has been through his hands.