Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Honam Restaurant - Seoul, Korea (Namdaemun Market)

So remember how I said Jung wanted to try go-deung-uh jorim (seasoned mackerel), but they ran out at Hee-Rak. Being the craving pleaser that my madre is, she said we would go to another restaurant nearby to get mackerel jorim. After we finished our meal at Hee-Rak, we literally went down the alley, made a right and ran into an ajuma outside who tried to usher us inside her restaurant, Honam Restaurant. My mom asked if their mackerel jorim was good, to which she replied, yes. Of course she's going to say yes to us, but I guess it's somewhat reassuring to hear her say it anyway.

There was only one other party inside, so I didn't have high hopes, but the food turned out to be pretty good. They brought out some side dishes and gave us fried pieces of galchi as service. We thought the side dishes here tasted better than Hee-Rak's side dishes.

We had to order the gyeran jjim (steamed egg casserole) at Hee-Rak, but here they gave us a small one for free as well. Talk about great service for first time guests!

Here's the mackerel jorim. I think this was 12,000 won, about $10 for the whole meal. We felt bad for ordering only one dish, but we told them we ate right before coming and that this was our second meal. As you can tell, gluttony runs in the family.

It comes out boiling hot. You can hear it sizzling in the pot (and snippets of my mom asking for rice).

video

So what did we think of the dish? Jung really liked the seasoning but he didn't like the taste of the fish. I think it's because Korean mackerel is not as fatty as Norway mackerel, which is what we are used to eating in the states. Norway mackerel is known for its fattiness, probably because they live in colder waters. The fish tends to be more meaty in Korea and therefore, doesn't meld itself as well with the seasoning. So while the seasoning was tasty, the fish doesn't really absorb the flavors of the seasoning it's in. They also have galchi jorim here as well, but there was no room in our bellies to try that this time around. We were too full. I am partial to Hee-Rak, solely on the basis of having gone there for so many years, but the side dishes here and the service was very impressive.

To get here, from Hee-Rak's entrance, you turn right and walk down the alleyway, make a right and you'll see Honam on your right hand side. Look for the sign with pictures of celebrities on it. Korean restaurants get featured on TV shows a lot and you will see lots of references to the TV program that it was on or pictures of celebrities who have frequented the restaurant.

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