[FOOD COURT] The best places to eat near Hongik University
The area near Hongik University is one of the neighborhoods with the most vibrant nightlife in Korea, with plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants welcoming visitors.
The university spans across Hongdae in western Seoul to streets near Seongsu Station, with new trends and fads often first blossoming in the area. Although that means things change quickly and restaurants are quick to come and go, there are some places that are loved by students and stay in the neighborhood for a long time.
If you are curious to know which restaurants out of the many available near Hongik University are worth a visit, here are some places the Korea JoongAng Daily recommends.
Kandasoba sells mazesoba, or Japanese mixed noodles, near the south gate of the university.
One of the dishes on its menu is the pork rind abura soba, a type of mazesoba that is covered in a thick blanket of diced chives with a large piece of grilled pork rind placed on top. Customers are given a set of scissors and tongs to cut the pork rind into bite-sized pieces. Abura soba needs to be thoroughly mixed, and when attempting to do so, customers can find egg yolk, seasoned bamboo shoots and bacon hidden underneath the chives. The noodles are served coated in soy sauce but have a very subtle spicy aftertaste because of the additional chili oil in it, which goes well with the buttery egg yolk.
Other types of mazesoba are also on the menu, such as a simpler abura soba without the pork rind. There’s also the classic mazesoba, which has ground pork mixture instead of the pork rind and additional green onion.
Mazesoba is also known as soupless noodles, and although it doesn’t come with broth, there usually is a small amount of sauce in the bowl used to season the noodles. If you have room for more, you can ask for an extra bowl of rice, or oimeshi, and mix it with the remaining sauce to finish your meal.
51-6, Wausan-ro, Mapo District, western Seoul
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. (break time 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
Sokoa is a cozy-looking restaurant near the university offering a variety of curry dishes.
One of the unique dishes is the sokoa curry (15,000 won), with small portions of three types of curry — ebi curry, tori curry and keema curry — poured in rice that’s molded into a shape of a bowl. Ebi refers to shrimp in Japanese, and comes with pieces of shrimp and creamy curry. The Tori curry is spicy while the keema curry is a flavorful dry curry with ground meat and minced vegetables. Those who have a big stomach can ask for more rice and curry, both provided for free.
All three types of curry can be ordered on their own if customers have a certain type they really like, with the ebi curry priced at 10,000 won and the other two types at 11,000 won.
49 Wausan-ro 15-gil, Mapo District, western Seoul
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (break time 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
Hakatabunko has been open in front of the university since 2004, selling two types of ramen for noodle lovers. Both noodles are Kyushu-style ramen that consist of pork bone broth, but the In Ramen has a thicker soup while the Chung Ramen’s is clearer. A garlic crusher and a small container with garlic cloves can be found on each table and people who want to add a punch of flavor can add some in the broth by crushing it themselves.
Try visiting the restaurant after 10 p.m. if you are someone who loves spicy food because the chadol noodles are only sold after 10 p.m. Piles of beef brisket are placed on top of the noodles along with cabbage and green pumpkin. Cheongyang pepper in the noodles also adds to the spice, making it slightly spicier than Shin Ramyun.
Hakatabunko is a good place to go if you are looking for a restaurant after normal dinner hours, as it stays open until 3 a.m. in the morning.
43 Dongmak-ro 19-gil, Mapo District, western Seoul
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3 a.m. (last order 2 a.m.)
Geumbok Sikdang is a restaurant that offers homemade-style meals. One of the popular dishes is the grilled mackerel, which comes with side dishes people would normally get at their homes such as kimchi, salted pollack roe, pickled radish and doenjang (soybean paste) soup. Although it seems like a simple meal, it has been loved by Hongik University students that miss home. Its even perfect for those who live in dorms because the restaurant is only a five minute walking distance from the school dorms.
The meal is priced at 8,500 won and comes with a half portion of mackerel, but customers can order an additional piece for 4,500 won. Other dishes such as the hamburg steak meal (11,000 won) is also on the menu, along with shabu shabu (13,000 won), or hot pot, which is only available during dinner hours.
The restaurant was also one of the places recommended by Hongik University students on Repeat Restaurant, a YouTube series starring YouTuber Pungja. Since then, the restaurant has become even more popular and has seen a lot of people waiting to be seated, so visitors may see a queue.
24 Dongmak-ro 14-gil, Mapo District, western Seoul
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday to Friday (break time 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]