After checking into our Candy Robot room, we had headed over to Gwanghwamun district, starting the evening off at Tosokchon Samgyetang with some ginseng black chicken soup. We then wandered a dozen blocks, looking out for Jongno Bindaetteok; suposedly one of the best Bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) in town. We walk past a bustling little shop, the big glass window revealing a large flat grill, filled with pancakes, and crates of the cloudy rice wine, makgeolli, on the sidewalk thinking wow this place is awesome but unable to spot a sign wander on looking for our prey.
We have a bit of trouble seeing, or understanding, the street signs, decide to take a walk around the block, and if we can't seem to find Jongno then we would head back to this little place.
Wandering around the back alleys, we find so many interesting little places, it's a Thursday night, and the streets are bustling. We don't seem to find the Bindaetteok place we are looking for, so make our way back to the one that caught our eye in the beginning. There are groups waiting for seats, and what looks like people waiting for take-aways. We poke our head in, and there is a tiny 2 stools at the end of one table where we are ushered over to by one of the ladies on the floor, who asks if we want beer, why yes of course, and then returns moments later with a large bottle of Cass. The Cass is a pale lager, and super-light. This beer is produced by OB brewery, who brews all of their beers with rice, rather then the Western standard of malted barley.
Only another few moments have passed, and the lady then stops again with little plates filled with kimchi. There's an apple kimchi, the pieces of fruit still crisp, and with a nice, spicy coating. Theres a radish & cucumber kimchi, which is sitting in a very light, vinegar pickle, and lastly, an addictive onion, dried chilli & soy sauce.
The lady asks us "haemul ... gogi?" (seafood .. meat) We order 2 x bindaetteok gogi, or crispy golden pancakes made with fresh ground mung beans & meat. We both look around and are amazed at the variety of people that are eating in this little place ... there are young groups of people, individuals all perched around a communal bench, young kids with their parents and men in suits... oh, and 2 giant, blonde foreigners with a DLSR camera sitting on tiny little stools;) We enjoy observing the magic that all takes place on one giant flat top.
Behind the grill stands an older man, constantly feeding the fresh mung beans through a stone-grinder. The guy on the grill is spinning around and ladelling the fresh beans over into the pancake mix as fast as they are being ground...
Once they work through the backlog of orders, 2 gogi are dropped in front of us. They are a beautiful, golden colour, and have just been roughly chopped to allow for easy eating. (The Korean chopsticks are all beautiful - made of stainless steel, that taper to a pointed end with a flat, rectangular handle that is adorned in beautiful decoration.) As cutlery is placed on the table, the lady grabs a single napkin, and lays a spoon and pair of these chopsticks on that. We observe a lot of people using the chopsticks to move food to their spoon, and then from the spoon to their mouth, so follow suit. The first piece of bindaetteok that reaches our mouth, oh wow. Crispy, with little pieces of the fresh mung bean still recognisable, but the ground pieces giving the whole cake a silky texture. There are chunks of marinated meat, spring onions & kimchi. We play around with the different kimchi combinations, with this crispy pancake my favourite are the onions in soy with dried chilli.
Every table surrounding us, are drinking from these green bottles... We decide to move on from beer, and join them in the drinking of makgeolli. A green pet bottle is plonked on the table, with 2 plastic bowls to drink from. This stuff is cloudy, rice wine (similar to a Japanese amazake) that is quite strong. It's best when cold, so we drink it quite fast, although don't manage to finish the whole bottle...
After we pay, we cross the road on our way home... and notice the huge sign! We found the right place in the end, and were so glad we did.
Then we notice the giant bags of vegetables, ready to be turned into pancake filling and of course kimchi. Seoul ♥
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