Cheap eats in Seoul: 나살언고향 (I lived in the home) restaurant

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Facade of the restaurant
Our first day in Seoul was filled with excitement and a bit of apprehension. We were in a foreign land, after all. But the familiar heat of the sun and the cold breeze helped us pursue our jampacked itinerary for the first day. The cold breeze especially made walking long distances bearable as we did that most of the day. 

Grandma Yu's Bibimbap is closed due to elections...
For lunch, we were looking forward to dining in one of the best restaurants offering bibimbap - Jeonju Yu Grandmother's Bibimbap or simply Grandma Yu's bibimbap but we were unlucky as the restaurant was closed due to the elections. We despaired for a while but instead looked for an alternative restaurant to dine in. Fortunately we found 나살언고향, roughly translated (from Google Translate) to ‘I lived in the home’ restaurant just near Grandma Yu’s Bibimbap.

Our view from inside the restaurant
The menu was conveniently displayed outside with some photos and my sister read some of the characters. Spotting bibimbap, we made our way inside the deserted restaurant. 

Menu or promo displayed outside

It was our first time to enter an establishment and we were warmly greeted by the ahjummas. We picked the cozy spot near the window so we can watch people walking by.

Restaurant's interior
Our first meal in Seoul
The menu given to us I think had photos and the ahjumma was kind enough to answer some of our questions. In the end, we picked bulgogi stew and kimchi jjigae with bibimbap, both of which were in the 6,000 KRW price range. With the price range, we were given generous servings of side dishes and our rice was topped with egg. This was also our first encounter with the perilla leaf as side dish.

Bulgogi stew
The bulgogi stew was served in an earthernware pot, which helps in retaining the heat of the dish. The dish had a lot of enoki mushrooms, giving the dish additional crunch and a lot of beef strips. I was feeling under the weather that time, so the stew was a perfect dish.

Kimchi jjigae

Ingredients for the bibimbap

Meanwhile, my sister’s kimchi jjigae or kimchi stew was warm and rightfully spicy. I could just imagine how hard it was to slurp the hot broth while it stings your tongue. For 6,000 KRW, the bibimbap and kimchi stew were definitely worth the price.

While finishing our meal, I had the strange feeling that I heard some mice squeaking behind the wall. I looked behind me and under our table but there was nothing. The restaurant looked clean enough so I just ignored it.

View of the street from the restaurant
All in all, the meal was satisfying and left us full and healthy with all the vegetable offered in the dish. If you happen to pass this restaurant in Seoul and you are on a tight budget, go for this establishment.

By train: Alight at City Hall station and take the Exit No. 7 or 8. 

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