One of the franchises use the name 'Cheongjin-dong Haejangguk' as their restaurant's title, but there is actually Cheongjin-dong Haejangguk Alley nearby Jongro 3(sam)-ga Station. This alley is located between Jongro sam-ga Station and Jongrogucheong. This alley has a long history. During the Late Period of Chosun, there were lots of marketplace in here since 1945. Also, it has been 70 years since these restaurants sell Haejangguk. These days because of high buildings and redevelopment, this area has become very down at heel.
Many people used to visit this area after heavy drinking and eat Haejangguk, hangover soup. Jongro is a good place for people to hang out. Nearby there were lots of government offices and markets. However, the crowd size is not the same as it was because of redevelopment. Only middle-aged people and employees nearby come here, remembering the past.
Although it is rare that this kind of alley is in the very center of Seoul city, most restaurants and adult entertainment establishments are still popular. During dinner time, a lot of people visit these stores to drink and during lunch time, people order Haejangguk or Chueotang. Unlike the other high buildings, most buildings in this alley is one-story buildings.
Some people who succeed in their restaurant business are looking for other business in other area, but there are still lots of stores remained in Cheongjin-dong Haejangguk Alley. Shabby stores still keep their positions and cherish their history despite redevelopment. This reminds me of the old saying; crooked pines care for one's family burial grounds. Large trees are used to make a pillar but no one wants to use crooked trees. So these trees, which are left, keep their position and protect graveyard in hometown.
I went to "Cheong Chun Gop Chang, Won Ju Gol Chueotang". It was a small restaurant; only 10 tables. There is a small space under the chair, so you can put your bags, stuff, or clothes in there. Lunch Menu is Chueotang and Dinner Menu is beef intestines and Makchang (abomasum).
Chueotang is 8000 won and Soju is 4000 won, which costs more by 1000 won as compared with other suburb area. Chueotang is local food. People used to catch loach in rice paddy and boil them. Eating Chueotang varies in different localities. Chueotang here includes chives. But there is one thing in common; put Chinese pepper powder. This powder have a strong scent but it removes fishy smell and make the food easy to digest.
Unusually in Pohang, people put this powder when they make kimchi. You might think it is not delicious, but after you are accustomed to it, definitely you will like it.
There are small pieces of dough (called sujebi) in Chueotang and it makes you warm when you drink its soup. You might take off your coat after you eat this food. Pickled peppers as a side dish was spicy and savory. Fresh chives make the food clear and simple.
Unlike the other restaurants, this restaurant's interior was well-organized; wallpaper, floor, and table were all clear. The food is served in a small iron pot (called Gamasot) and as a meal family style. Side dishes are napa cabbage kimchi, kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), and pickled peppers. You'd better make a reservation beforehand because they don't have enough tables.
Location : Cheongjin-dong 62-1, Jongro-gu, Seoul,
Tel : 02-723-8750.