An article in the Korea Joongang Ilbo clued me into this upscale neighborhood that lies south of Seoul. The paper runs articles on various area from time to time and this one looked good because of it looked like a prime place to spend an afternoon. Though the article didn't talk as much about the nearby Tan stream and park as it did the food, both deserve special mention. We'd come to Jeongja-Dong primarily for the food and found ourselves enjoying the surround area as well.
We'll surely come here again to spend an afternoon or evening. The area's every bit the ideal for urban living: multi-use apartment buildings, abundant green spaces, wide sidewalks, shops, restaurants, and schools were all within walking distance of the subway station. The stream boasted large grassy areas and long, straight bike and walking paths. Jeongja-dong looked like the visions of neighborhoods detailed in the book Suburban Nation; indeed, the place felt like Korea than it did the USA. Living here doesn't come cheap, but the convenience factor's strong.
This Is Jjamppong
Jjamppong's something I've eaten a few times and always found it a bit too spicy. JB the coteacher's a fiend for it, so I've eaten plenty of it with him. The dish is fiery, yet after having spent more time in the country, the time felt right to give the dish another go. It helped that Rochelle had never eaten it before. She wanted to go there, so we did. This Is Jjamppong makes it a bit differently, as we saw when we looked at the menu.
From the article:
A special jjamppong (Chinese-style hot noodles with vegetables and seafood) place should be added to the list of fusion cuisine list, located a few walks from Naroo. Ordinary jjamppong comes with a spicy broth that is purported to ease hangovers. This Is Jjamppong, however, adds a little twist by adding cream. Kim Dong-han, who lives in the area, has become a believer in cream jjamppong, eating it every time he has a hangover.
“When I first looked at the cream jjamppong, I wondered how it would be different from Italian cream pasta,” said Kim. “However, the cream jjamppong surprisingly had the spiciness of ordinary jjamppong and soon became the go-to food for me to cure hangovers.”
Out of eight different types of jjamppong, the cream jjamppong is the one that surprises customers the most based on its dramatically different taste and appearance.
We ordered the aforementioned cream jjamppong and the "clear" jjamppong (맑은 짬뽕) that came with a white broth instead of the red broth. I ordered the clear one to temper the spiciness. The staff looked pleased to have us there and nearly fell over themselves asking if we were okay with eating spicy food. That was nice of them and they liked it when I told them I'd heard about the restaurant in the newspaper.
Total cost? A reasonable 15,000won.
Directions: go straight out of exit 3 of Jeongja Station. Keep walking until you see it on your right. The sign is in Korean, so look for 이것이 짬뽕, which means "This is jjamppong" in Korean.
The Seongnam Cafe Street
This area's packed with places to eat. To get there, follow these directions that Rochelle found: