Yong Geum Oak is the third oldest Korean restaurant in Seoul which first opened in 1932. It specializes in chueotang (mudfish soup). First I discovered a chueotang restaurant in the area of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Founded by a family member of the original Yong Gum Oak restaurant it is famous too, but I wanted to try the original old one. This is situated in Da Dong, surrounded by many other restaurants and not easy to find. Korean colleagues told me of the special and exquisite taste of the chueotang.
This Korean fish soup is said to make you strong and it is healthy too. It's full of calcium, proteins and vitamins that Koreans believe make the complexion sparkly, smooth and fresh. This is a big bonus for eating something that sounds ugly – mudfish. The restaurant offers two styles of this soup.
Seoul-style chueotang is made with a beef bone broth and flavoured with red chili pepper powder and gochujang (chili pepper paste). Whole mudfish are added along with a variety of ingredients, such as fried bean curd, tofu, and mushrooms.
Namwon-style chueotang is flavoured with doenjang (soybean paste) instead of gochujang, so it tastes savory and rich. The mudfish is first boiled and then ground up before it is added to the soup along with siraegi (dried radish greens). Unlike Seoul-style chueotang, the soup is not made with whole mudfish, so it is more appealing to people who try it for the first time. What gives Namwon its special flavour is the deulkkae powder and jaenpi powder.
Since many decades the Yong Geum Oak is visited by important and famous Korean writers, sportsperson, polititians and artists.
I ate the Namwon-Style soup and can recommend it. The Makgeolli was bad supermarket quality and did not fit to the high standard of the Yong Geum Oak.
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