April 13, 2024

City Hall Station and Deoksugung Culinary Adventure: Where the Locals and Office Workers Love to Eat


In the heart of Seoul, just a stone's throw from the bustling City Hall Station, I found myself at the doorstep of an unforgettable culinary journey. Surrounded by iconic sights like Deoksugung Palace and Seoul Plaza, this area was more than just a historical hub; it was a vibrant blend of Seoul's past and present, where every corner promised a new taste adventure. The streets buzzed with the energy of office workers on their lunch breaks and tourists in search of authentic Korean flavors, setting the stage for a dining experience like no other.

This wasn't going to be just any meal. I was about to dive into a food scene that mirrored the rich tapestry of Seoul's culinary heritage, offering a smorgasbord for the senses. In this three-part guide, we're exploring dining spots that are not just eateries, but landmarks of gastronomic delight, celebrated by locals and travelers alike.

It's often said that the true gems of the culinary world are those frequented by locals, hidden away in narrow alleys or modest in size but bustling with a loyal clientele. These are the places I sought out, where the aroma of simmering soups and grilling meats beckoned.

Our featured restaurants are particularly favored among the crowd. To beat the lunchtime rush, an early arrival before 11:20 AM is wise, or perhaps a leisurely visit after 1 PM when the pace slows down.

Featured Restaurants in Part 1: 뼈탄집 (Ppyeotanjip), 농민백암순대 (Nongmin Baekam Sundae), 풍년닭도리탕 (Pungnyeontalkdoritang)

Stay tuned for the following parts of this guide, where we will introduce more hidden gems around City Hall Station and Deoksugung Palace, each offering a unique and memorable dining experience.

뼈탄집 (Ppyeotanjip): Seoul's Pork Delight

Nestled in the bustling heart of Seoul, near City Hall Station, is 뼈탄집 시청점 - a culinary haven that both locals and tourists cherish. This establishment isn't just known for its menu; it's celebrated for the story it tells through its food.

Representative Menu: At 뼈탄집 시청점, the 숙성 뼈탄삼겹살 (Aged Bone-in Pork Belly) and 매운 직화 뼈구이 (Spicy Bone-in Grilled Pork) stand out as the highlights. These dishes showcase the art of pork preparation, a craft deeply rooted in Korean cuisine.

Certainly! Combining the new information about the meat being aged and cut into thin slits with the existing description of the food and taste will provide a more comprehensive and appealing overview of the culinary experience. Here's how it could be integrated:

Description of Food and Taste: At this restaurant, the culinary approach transforms simple pork into a gastronomic delight. The meat, aged for more than 20 days, is carefully cut into thin slits and then grilled to perfection. This process allows the meat to cook quickly, retaining its natural juices and flavors. The resulting pork belly strikes a perfect balance between meat and fat, exuding a smoky aroma that's hard to resist. Each bite offers a savory journey, highlighting the restaurant's commitment to traditional flavors and innovative culinary techniques. The aged pork belly, with its enhanced flavors, presents a harmonious blend that is both authentic and contemporary, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

How to Enjoy: The staff at 뼈탄집 시청점 recommend starting your meal with a simple touch of salt on the pork to appreciate its natural taste. Then, as you delve deeper into the meal, experiment with various accompaniments like aged kimchi or a mix of wasabi and soybean paste. This blend of flavors and textures elevates the dining experience, turning it into a culinary exploration.

Atmosphere and Service: The ambiance of 뼈탄집 시청점 blends modern comfort with a traditional Korean vibe, creating a welcoming space for diners. The staff's expertise in grilling the meat to perfection is not just a service; it's a performance that adds to the overall dining experience.

Opening Hours and Location: Conveniently located at Seoul, Jung-gu, Namdaemun-ro 1-gil, 26-7, the restaurant is a gem within walking distance from Exit 7 of City Hall Station. Open on weekdays from 11 AM to 4 PM and on weekends from 4 PM to 9 PM, it’s perfect for both a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner.

Why Visit 뼈탄집 시청점: Visiting 뼈탄집 시청점 is more than just enjoying a meal; it’s about experiencing a slice of Seoul’s culinary art. Whether you’re seeking a quick bite during a busy day or a relaxed evening meal, this restaurant promises an experience that’s as memorable as it is delicious.

Location: Naver Map

Location: Google Map

농민백암순대 (Nongmin Baekam Sundae): The Essence of Korean Soul Food Near City Hall Station

Nestled just a few steps from City Hall Station, 농민백암순대 serves as a culinary landmark for those seeking the authentic taste of Korean comfort food. This restaurant, situated in the bustling heart of Seoul, captures the essence of traditional Korean flavors, offering a dining experience that warms both the heart and the palate.

Representative Menu:
농민백암순대's menu is an ode to classic Korean cooking. Renowned for its 국밥 (Korean Soup with Rice) and 모듬수육 (Assorted Boiled Pork Slices), the restaurant highlights the simplicity yet profound depth of Korean cuisine. The 술국 (Sul-guk), a rich and hearty soup, and 오소리감투, a unique traditional delicacy, also grace the menu, providing a diverse culinary exploration.

Description of Food and Taste:
The 국밥 at 농민백암순대 is a symphony of flavors - a clear, rich broth simmered to perfection, filled with tender chunks of beef and radish, each element melding harmoniously. The 모듬수육, featuring an assortment of boiled pork slices, showcases the natural taste and tenderness of the meat, seasoned just enough to highlight its inherent flavors. The 술국, robust and soulful, offers a depth of flavor that resonates with every spoonful, while the 오소리감투, with its unique texture and taste, provides a delightful culinary surprise.

How to Enjoy:
Savoring the dishes at 농민백암순대 is an experience that involves engaging all your senses and appreciating the subtleties of Korean culinary traditions. The key to fully enjoying their 국밥 lies in the addition of their specially prepared 들깨가루 (perilla seed powder). This finely ground powder, unique to 농민백암순대, dissolves seamlessly into the broth, enhancing its depth and imparting a rich, nutty flavor that's both comforting and luxurious. Stirring this 들깨가루 into the soup transforms it into a velvety delight, free from any gritty texture, and elevates the already deep and savory broth to new heights of culinary pleasure.

For an added layer of flavor, don't miss out on the 고춧가루와 버무린 부추 (chili powder-mixed chives). You can enjoy these as a side dish or mix them into your soup for an extra kick of spicy, fresh taste that complements the richness of the 국밥. To round off the experience, dip the 순대 (Korean blood sausage) in the provided 새우젓 (salty shrimp sauce). Unlike typical salty sauces, 농민백암순대's 새우젓 has a unique spicy edge, perfectly crafted to cut through the richness of the 순대 and add a delightful contrast to every bite.

Each dish at 농민백암순대 offers a different way to enjoy and explore the richness of Korean cuisine, and these small additions and techniques greatly enhance the dining experience, making it not just a meal, but a journey through taste and tradition.

Opening Hours and Location:
Situated conveniently at Seoul, 중구 남대문로1길 26-6, 2층, 농민백암순대 is easily accessible from Exit 7 of City Hall Station. Operating hours are from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekdays, with a break from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, and until 3:30 PM on Saturdays, making it a suitable choice for both lunch and dinner. It remains closed on Sundays and Christmas Day.

Why Visit 농민백암순대:
농민백암순대 is not just a restaurant; it's a journey into the heart of Korean culinary tradition. It stands as a testament to the timeless appeal of Korean comfort food, offering a haven for those who appreciate the rich history and depth of Korea's culinary culture. Whether it's for a nourishing lunch or a cozy dinner, 농민백암순대 promises an experience that is both genuinely Korean and deeply satisfying.

Location: Naver Map

Location: Google Map

풍년닭도리탕 (Pungnyeontalkdoritang): The Epitome of Chicken Stew Near City Hall Station

In the bustling streets near City Hall Station, 풍년닭도리탕 stands as a culinary landmark, celebrated for its exceptional 닭도리탕 (spicy chicken stew). Featured in the once-popular show "수요미식회," this restaurant has maintained its reputation as a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.

Representative Menu: 풍년닭도리탕's menu is beautifully simple, focusing solely on its star dish, 닭도리탕. Available in various sizes, the dish caters to all, from individuals to large groups. The flavors and freshness of the chicken, combined with the rich, spicy broth, make it a standout in Seoul's culinary scene.

Description of Food and Taste: The 닭도리탕, priced at 42,000 KRW for the large size, is a symphony of flavors and textures. The chicken, pre-cooked to tender perfection, melts in your mouth, exuding a freshness that enhances the overall taste. The stew's broth strikes a perfect balance between spicy and sweet, rich yet not overpowering. Adding 쫄면 (noodle) for 2,000 KRW enriches the dish, absorbing the flavorsome broth. As the meal progresses, the 볶음밥 (fried rice) emerges as a showstopper, perfectly fried and mixed with the remaining savory sauce.

How to Enjoy: Start by savoring the chicken on its own to appreciate its inherent flavors. As you delve deeper into the dish, add 쫄면 to soak up the stew's spicy-sweet broth. This addition transforms the stew into a heartier meal, offering a delightful contrast in textures. As you near the end, don't miss out on the 볶음밥. Let it simmer in the remaining sauce to achieve a crispy texture, turning a simple fried rice into a memorable part of the meal.

Atmosphere and Service: Nestled in a more secluded part of the bustling 북창동 food alley, 풍년닭도리탕 offers a spacious and inviting interior. The ambiance is unpretentious and cozy, perfect for casual dining. The staff's warmth and attentive service contribute significantly to the pleasant dining experience.

Opening Hours and Location: 풍년닭도리탕 is located at Seoul, Jung-gu, Sejong-daero 14-gil, 17-5. Operating hours are from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays, with a break from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It's closed on weekends, so plan your visit accordingly.

Why Visit 풍년닭도리탕: This restaurant is a testament to the timeless appeal of Korean comfort food. Its 닭도리탕, with its depth of flavor and perfectly cooked chicken, is a dish that lingers in your memory. Ideal for both a quick lunch and a leisurely dinner, 풍년닭도리탕 is a culinary haven for anyone seeking a taste of authentic Korean spice and warmth near City Hall Station.

Location: Naver Map

Location: Google Map

City Hall Station and its surroundings are a treasure trove of culinary delights, blending history with a vibrant food culture. In this first part of our three-part guide, we've introduced you to a few of the area's most beloved dining spots - 뼈탄집 (Ppyeotanjip), 농민백암순대 (Nongmin Baekam Sundae), and 풍년닭도리탕 (Pungnyeontalkdoritang). Each restaurant offers a unique glimpse into the soul of Seoul's cuisine, from succulent meats to comforting stews.
As we continue our exploration in the upcoming parts, remember that City Hall Station is not just a transit hub but a gateway to an array of flavors that capture the essence of Seoul. Whether you're a seasoned local, an office worker in need of a gastronomic escape, or a traveler eager to taste authentic Korean fare, these eateries promise an unforgettable culinary experience. Stay tuned for more hidden gems and culinary wonders in our next installment, where the journey through City Hall Station's and Deoksugung's culinary landscape continues. Get ready to indulge in more of Seoul's diverse and delicious food scene!

Link of Part 2

Link of Part 3

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