Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boo Kukgook Jip - Seoul, Korea (City Hall)

The day we arrived in Seoul from Hanoi was Jung's last day before heading back to LA. He left a few days earlier than me. While we were in Hanoi, we both said we needed to go on a fast or something because we just ate way too much and were perfectly fine not eating anything once we got back to Seoul.

My mom, on the other hand, had other plans. Because it was Jung's last day and she's convinced he's not going to be back for another decade, she was on a mission to stuff him silly. So our first meal since being back from Hanoi was one of our usual haunts. Usually the first meal that I have in Seoul after getting off the plane is boo kukgook (dried pollack fish soup) at Boo Kukgook Jip.

I honestly don't like boo kukgook all that much. My grandmother would cook it for us from time to time growing up, but dried pollack fish soup ... it's not really my thing. But there is something about the boo kukgook at this place that is so good and so addicting.

You tend to see an older crowd here with a scattering of some police officers from a police station nearby who are starting off their day with this hot bowl of soup. I've also seen some Japanese tourists with a small book in hand that have managed to find this jewel as well. Who tipped them off? I feel like not that many people know about this place, but I guess the secrets out if random Japanese tourists are lining up outside.

I think it's the combination of the really tasty soup with the side dishes that make this place so special. One without the other would not be as satisfying. First of all, the soup is quite simple, it has soft tofu, egg, dried pollack, green onions and some black pepper. The only thing you add to this soup is some salted shrimp that that they have on each table to season it.

Here's the huge vat where they cook this soup.

They give you a plate for your side dishes, which are conveniently stored in metal canisters on each table. You just take out the amount you want to eat on a separate plate. It saves the hassle of the waitress refilling the side dishes for you. The cucumber pickle kimchi, cabbage kimchi and the chive kimchi are all really good.

The combo of salty and savory kimchi with the mild, soothing taste of the boo kukgook is pretty amazing. Their cold water kimchi is quite good too.

It's kind of hard to give proper directions here because we always drive, but it's near City Hall and the big grass park where they do performances and fairs. It's across from the Kolon building. There's a stretch of open field, you walk towards the other side and you will see a brick wall like this.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but you enter from the two double doors next to the yellow and green awning.

Boo Kukgook Jip

(02) 777-3891


  1. At least they didn't spell it with a "c". Although I'm sure you would have gotten a kick out of that one.