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best ddeok-bok-ggi restaurant in Seoul

18th June 2007

If you ask any Korean on the street what he enjoys eating for snack, without hesitation, seven in ten people will say ddeok-bok-ggi. So if you are willing to make a venture at trying it, I can gladly guide you to the best ddeok-bok-ggi restaurant in Seoul with an incredible history of 27 years. At Ichon district’s Smile ddeok-bok-ggi, you will be stunned by the eagerness and the liveliness of the people, overwhelmed by the taste and impressed by the coziness the shop brings you.

To start, when you put one step into the shop, you will take one step back by reflection due to the passion and the activeness of the shop. While the “auntie” of the front makes the actual ddeok-bok-ggi and fries with big motions and shouts, her way of attracting people, the rest of the helpers are anything but tranquil. They are running here and there to take orders and deliver the dishes as quickly as they could, one of the typical traits we have. The crowdedly seated customers on the other hand, without distinction of age and sex, are eating voraciously and chatting excitedly waiting for their ddeok-bok-ggi to arrive. To get things more jumbled up, water and pickled radish are self-brought. Thus, with so many people and so many things to do, Smile ddeok-bok-ggi is full of spirit and enthusiasm.

Next, when you have adjusted to this atmosphere, then you are ready to get dazzled by the taste. So what is ddeok-bok-ggi? It is a pan-fried dish of sliced rice cake with minced meats, vegetables and various seasonings. Even though the quality of the rice cake is important, the seasoning controls everything. It has to be hot but somewhat sweetish, stimulating but not too much and not least, addictive. On top of it, the smell of ddeok-bok-ggi is very crucial, too. The spiciness stirs up people’s noses and waters their mouths. Also, the smoothness of the rice cake, ddeok in Korean, and the sauce’s redness seduce their eyes. In these aspects, Smile ddeok-bok-ggi is really beyond our control. It has this kind of magnetic forces which makes you to think back. That is why most of the customers are regulars.

Lastly, the home likeness is magical. It pulls more people in, off the street and as incredible as it may sound, makes the ddeok-bok-ggi taste even better. Even though the shop was extended and renovated last year, it is still very small and narrow. So it can only hold about 20 people but one side of the shop has sofa-like seats which are very comfortable. Also, unlike any other Korean snack shop, it is clean. There are dustbins for each table, so no dirty tissues can be seen on the table and the wall is made of white tiles which brighten the shop. The “auntie’ is also very kind and caring, treating each of the customers as if they were her children, always giving more than we actually paid for. Where in the world can one find a shop that is like one’s bedroom, a bit messy but cozy, and an owner who is like one’s mom, generous and loving? Nowhere but here.

In conclusion, when you come to Smile ddeok-bok-ggi, you will be taken aback by the passion, mesmerized by the taste and relaxed by the comfort. So for those who wish to try Korean snack, this is very good news as it is very easy to find. Take the no.4 subway line and get off at Ichon station. When you come out from the no.4 exit, turn left and the shop is only 100 meters away on the right side, next to the public bath ‘Su-Jeong’. It opens at about 11 and closes at about 8. Ddeok-bok-ggi per serving is only 1000 won and other junk food range from 300 won to 3000 won. For further information call 02-749-5507.

Annie(임나현)

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