I got off the bus downtown around 11:45 this morning and looked around for a place to eat. McDonald’s was crowded, as were many of the restaurants on the high street. I decided to head into the market to see if I could beat the dinnertime crowd for a seat. As I entered the market I remembered an area where a number of restaurants serve chicken soup. The most famous restaurant there was packed (as always) and a restaurant I had been to before also had no seats. Down the hallway a little ways was another restaurant called Busan Restaurant that had the same menu as the other two restaurants. All the restaurants in that hallway have more or less the same menu, actually. There was almost no one in Busan Restaurant so I entered, slightly worried because of the lack of custom despite it being dinner hour.
The front of Busan Restaurant. Note the large iron pots of meat simmering away. The three main dishes of this restaurant are cow’s head soup, chicken soup with rice, and blood sausage soup with rice. They also serve steamed blood sausage and various dishes made from cow and pig offal.
The chicken soup and a dish of cabbage gimchi. Not a piece of gut in sight! The soup was delicious and the gimchi some of the best I’ve ever eaten. While I was waiting for the soup to cool down a bit, I plucked out pieces of chicken and ate them wrapped them in leaves of gimchi. So good. The man at the next table was giving me odd looks because of this.
The other customers, all of whom wandered in after me. I must be good for business! The woman with the bandana looks unhappy about something. Maybe her husband is eating too slowly. She should have married the fellow in the corner because he was in and out in ten minutes. Koreans, especially Korean men, eat extremely quickly. The hobbit-sized lady at the table next to me was kind, and suggested I add black pepper to my soup. I handed her things she couldn’t reach. After the meal she let out a big belch. It’s not considered a sign of satisfaction to do so in Korea. She’s just old and doesn’t care. I’m shy about taking photos of people so I pretended to be very interested in the calligraphy on the wall. Then I took out my phone and made this photo, all the while staring at the sign. Because the phone has a wide angled lens, it managed to include everyone without directly pointing at anyone.
What a good boy am I!
After paying, I felt I had earned the right to make a short video of the iron pots and the people working. I’d be too shy, otherwise.
If you’re ever in Gangneung, I’ll bring you there for a bowl of excellent chicken soup.