전주집 (Jeonju Jip) – Oxtail Soup Restaurant

CONTRIBUTED BY JOE

Oxtail Soup - Jeonju Jip

I love hole in the wall places!

The first date I took my wife on was a hole in the wall Pakistani Restaurant in Arlington, VA. The sanitary conditions were somewhat suspect, but the Lamb Karahi was the best I’ve ever had. I knew if she would eat there, she would eat with me anywhere and we would be dining partners for life.

This place is a hole in the wall. It’s down one of those small back alleyways you see in Namdaemun market, where you wish you had the nerve to go, but probably never did.

The outside of Jeonju Jip.

The outside of Jeonju Jip.

Jeonju Jip is “famous” for their oxtail soup and they have been in business for over 70 years. It’s well known to most Koreans and by all the pictures on the wall they’ve been on TV, newspapers and magazines. Tae (Allen) Hyup, third generation owner, speaks great English and is willing to help you figure out the menu or how to eat your oxtail.

Oxtail Soup and Sides

I ordered the Kkoritomak and my dining companion ordered the Seolleontang. I wasn’t really sure how to properly eat the oxtail, but Allen was quick to show me the proper Korean way. You put your oxtail on the extra plate, peel the meat off with your chopstick and fork, and then add the onion/garlic/soy sauce/vinegary/yummy garnish on top. Pop in your mouth and the meat just melts away. Wow, delicious!

Oxtail

Now, I’ve eaten my fair share of different soups and stews in Korea and they all had one thing in common…Spicy…Melt your tongue, drinks lots of water from those tiny metal cups, and wipe your forehead with those tiny napkins SPICY! So I was quite surprised that the broth wasn’t spicy, heck there wasn’t much spice to the broth at all. No salt, no pepper, nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very rich, warm, gentle broth and quite delicious without the spice. There are condiments available on the table; pepper, salt and red pepper flakes, if you so desire. The other surprising thing was the banchan wasn’t very hot like most kimchi, it was mild in comparison to most. I asked Allen about the difference and he said the less spicy kimchi doesn’t take away from the flavor of the broth. I totally agree.

What To Order:

They serve a bunch of stuff from Haejangguk (Hangover Soup) to Naejanggongtang (Intestine Soup), but everyone comes for the Kkorigomtang (Oxtail Soup) and Kkoritomak (Oxtail Soup with extra meat). The price for the soup was from ₩17,000 to ₩19,000.

Hours:

They’re open 24 hours a day and only close on major Korean holiday’s. The busiest time is lunch time during the week when all the local businessmen flood the restaurants. Allen is the only English speaker and he usually works from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Directions:

From Gate 2 Namdaemun: Walk from Gate 2 towards Gate 5. Make the first right turn, next to the Ginseng vendor, it’s probably only 30 steps from Gate 2. Then make your first left into the tiny, scary looking alley. Walk about 20 steps and the restaurant is on your right. Next to a stationary store.

From the Subway (Hoehyun/Namdaemun Market): Take exit 5, which brings you out near gate 5. Turn right and walk towards Gate 2. Then follow the above directions from Gate 2.

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