Exclamations with every sip of the broth

Pine Tree House in Umyeon-dong

๐Ÿ“ 71, Sigyuchon-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, 06766, Rep. of KOREA

โฐ Mon-Sun 11:00-21:00 (Closed on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of each month)

๐Ÿ“• Spicy Braised Chicken (Small) 38,000 won

๐Ÿ“• Spicy Braised Chicken (Medium) 58,000 won

This place was remodeled from a house, giving it a warm, homely atmosphere. It opened in 1977 and was bustling until 2020. I visited around noon and it was already full of locals. I ordered a large size, which includes two chickens, made with domestic Maniker chicken.

With a sip of the soup, I couldn’t help but say “Wow.” It’s reflexive. The taste is so good it stops conversations. We communicate with the size of our pupils; no words needed, just glances. You find yourself eating voraciously. It’s a legendary cheonggukjang dakbokkeumtang, a place only known by those in the know. The cheonggukjang dakbokkeumtang is by reservation only, served at the exact time.

Surprisingly, there is no distinct smell of cheonggukjang. The cheonggukjang dakbokkeumtang is savory and rich. The soup is very thick, ten times thicker than makgeolli, with a brown color. The seasoning is not spicy. The thickness of the soup can almost be considered sticky. The potatoes are whole and soft. As soon as you taste the soup, you think of frying it with rice. Fried rice is a must, even if you’re full. Donโ€™t forget to add udon noodles and flat glass noodles.

There’s an astonishing fact: no sugar is used to sweeten it, only “onion sugar” for a natural sweetness. Heating onions brings out a sweetness fifty times that of sugar. The broth uses a vegetable broth primarily made from potatoes, simmered for about three hours. When you order dakbokkeumtang, it comes with potato pancakes and tofu kimchi. The potato pancakes have a crispy texture from thin potato strips and a taste that makes you want refills. They’re a great appetizer. Try not to fill up on the potato pancakes and tofu kimchi before the dakbokkeumtang.

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