I’m trying to work my way through (most) of the restaurants in our neighborhood, one lunch at a time. I’ve been to a few already, but haven’t written about them. The Plan is to give a quick run-down on the restaurant and what I ate. Today, I forgot to take a photo inside the restaurant itself, but did remember to shoot the food before eating most of it (not much point, later!).
Today, I tried out our local Hot Octopus restaurant, in the basement of a small office building on Seongbuk-ro, on foot around 15-20 minutes from the house. Note that it is a 10-15 minute walk from our house down the hill to Seongbuk-ro (depending on your route). So quite close.
I’ve seen a number of this sort of restaurant around town, and have been meaning to try one for some time. I got there late, and the place was empty (Koreans eat earlier than I do anyway, but this was very late!). A fair sized place, with a nice enough atmosphere, mostly the fake Korean-style tables, i.e. where it looks as if you’re going to sit cross-legged on the floor at low traditional tables, but actually there is a recessed floor under the table so you’ll get to sit as if in a chair. But I had one of the three normal tables.
I was having trouble finding what to order from the menu (on the far wall) but the cook came out and told me what to have: 낙지볶읍 (nagjibokk-eum, fried octopus). As has happened before, coming earlier or with more than just myself would probably open up other options (apparently a lot of dishes are only for 2 or more people).
As expected, nagjibokk-eum was a spicy octopus dish. A large plat of it, served with rice on the side, a souffle and the usual several side dishes (today: radish kimchee, bean-sprout salad [2 of my favorites] and a pickle-like broth with what seemed like seaweed in it). The waitress cut up the octopus for me (you can just see the scissors and tongs in the top-left of the 1st photo below), then the chef made another appearance, showing me that I should serve the octopus onto the rice and eat it like that. While I had rather guessed that, it was nice of him to explain it. I would have appreciated an explanation of the (pickled seaweed?) soup in my side-dishes.