Dinner @ Hwaguk Banjeom 華國飯店 화국반점 (Busan, Korea)

October 15, 2017 in Korean

One of my crossfitters had sudden craving for black bean sauce noodle (jjajangmyeon/간짜장). But instead of ordering delivery, we decided to have a proper meal at a restaurant. As we were shopping around Gukje Market, I decided to bring my crossfitters to 華國飯店 (화국반점) which was within walking distance. And was 華國飯店 (화국반점) featured on my favourite Korean food show ‘Baek Jong Won’s Top 3 Chef King’. Episode 14 to be exact which focused on black bean sauce noodle.

The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived at the restaurant at 8pm. We were allowed to choose any table, and we chose to sit at the table nearer to the restaurant’s television. Haha. And being able to eat while watching television program (although we didn’t understand what’s going on since there was no English subtitles), it did feel like we were eating in the living room of someone’s house instead. Keke.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3), my crossfitters and I ordered:-

1) Pickled radish & radish kimchi, Complimentary (above)

2) 탕수육, ‎₩15,000 (small) (above) – Oddly, this dish of Korean sweet and sour pork (tangsuyuk) was not on the menu. But since it’s almost a must to eat Korean sweet and sour pork with black bean sauce noodle, we requested for it when we were placing our order. To which the staff recommended us to get a small portion. However, we didn’t like this dish. The sauce which was poured over the fried pork was gluey in texture and bland in taste. It was only when we were halfway through our meal that we noticed other tables of locals separately prepared a dipping sauce of vinegar and soya sauce to go with the Korean sweet and sour pork. And that indeed made the dish tastier. So I guess one really need to know how to eat to appreciate the dish.

3) 간짜장, ‎₩7000 (above) – 干炸醬. And what set this restaurant different from the rest was that 華國飯店 (화국반점) served their black bean sauce noodle (jjajangmyeon) dry and with a fried egg. It was ‘egg porn’ at its best when we tore the egg apart with our chopsticks, coating the noodles evenly with yolk before we poured the black bean sauce over the noodle. Nice!

4) 짬뽕, ‎₩7000 (above) – 炒碼麵. Again, one can say we had to order spicy seafood noodle soup (jjamppong) to go with our black bean sauce noodle. Keke.

It was a mediocre dining experience for my crossfitters and I. We were particularly disappointed with the sweet and sour pork. Perhaps we weren’t too used to the different cooking style? Would I still recommend 華國飯店 (화국반점)? Well… I still would. Purely because one should trust Mr Baek’s recommendation. I am a blind faithful follower of Mr Baek! Keke. But do be reminded that the restaurant was featured on Mr Baek’s food show for their black bean sauce noodle.

3 Baeksan-gil, Donggwang-dong, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea
부산 중구 백산길 3. [지번] 동광동3가 2-6
+82 51 245 5305, Naver
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Sun : 11:30 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon

Lunch @ 시골의맛 손칼국수&열무국수 (Busan, Korea)

October 12, 2017 in Korean

During my July 2017 trip to Korea, one of our day trips from Busan was to Gyeongju. And because we had private transport, my crossfitters and I were able to drop by 시골의맛 easily!

시골의맛 was featured on episode 41 of my favourite Korean food show ‘Baek Jong Won’s Top 3 Chef King’ where Mr Baek introduced cold dishes to forget the summer heat. Yeah! My crossfitters and I were in Korea at the right timing; Hot, hot summer. Keke.

As the restaurant is not centrally located in Busan, it’s a 1-hour metro journey from Busan metro station. But because my crossfitters and I were dropping by 시골의맛 for breakfast enroute to Gyeongju, it was a 40 minutes car journey from our accommodation (that’s located near Busan metro station) to 시골의맛.

But really, one can say we were thankful that the restaurant opened early at 8am. I was reeking my head really hard for a good breakfast place till I found information of 시골의맛 (as the show does not disclose the restaurant’s name). And 시골의맛’s location fitted perfectly into our itinerary. Keke.

We arrived at 시골의맛 pretty early in the morning at 8.45am which allowed my crossfitters and I to beat the queue. Phew.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) 열무국수, ‎₩6000 (above) – Yeolmuguksu. To enjoy this dish, one should cut the crunchy yeolmu kimchi (made with matured young radish from Ilsan in Gyeonggi) into smaller pieces onto the noodles before pouring in the slightly vinegary broth. And this was light and refreshing on the palate. Slurping the cold noodles was a good way to beat the summer heat.

2) 손칼국수, ‎₩6000 (above) – Sonkalguksu. But this warm bowl of chewy hand-knife noodle won our hearts and warmed our stomach (better). I guess we were more accustomed to eating warm food in the morning.

My crossfitters and I were satisfied with our meal at 시골의맛. If one is heading up to Gyeongju from Busan or even heading down to Busan from Gyeongju via private transport, I would recommend putting 시골의맛 on one’s itinerary.

However, if one plans to come by public transport, I say it’s not worth the 1.5 hours journey. Make that 3 hours since one has to travel back too.

시골의맛 손칼국수&열무국수
833-2 Icheon-ri, Ilgwang-myeon, Gijang, Busan, South Korea
부산 기장군 일광면 일광로 132. [지번] 이천리 833-2
+82 51 723 5689, Naver
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 08:00 – 15:00
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 16:00 – 20:00
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on 2nd & 4th Tues

Lunch @ 在起豬肉湯飯 재기 돼지국밥 (Busan, Korea)

October 9, 2017 in Korean

My (current) favourite Korean food show is ‘Baek Jong Won’s Top 3 Chef King’ (백종원의 3대 천왕). And with Mr Baek’s recommendation (episode 10), I brought my crossfitters to 在起豬肉湯飯 (재기 돼지국밥) to try 1 of Busan’s famous dishes; Pork soup with rice (dwaeji gukbap). And yeah, I travelled to Korea with my crossfitters!

One would normally head to Yeongdo-gu for Taejongdae Park, but my crossfitters and I were off for its Namhang market as that’s where 在起豬肉湯飯 (재기 돼지국밥) was located in!

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Banchan, Complimentary (above) – Side dishes.

2) 순대, 내장 & 머리고기, ‎₩5000 (small) (above) – Combination platter of sundae (순대), innard (내장) and pig head skin (머리고기). And when this was served, it came with a very strong whiff of pork. I kid you not since not everyone may appreciate the smell. Besides the identifiable large intestine among the innards, my crossfitter and I only realised we were eating liver and lung from taste. And we loved the sundae! Generously filled with chewy glutinous rice, there was no bitter aftertaste. A must try.


3) 돼지국밥, ‎₩6000 (above) – Pork soup with rice. And to enjoy the dish, one could add salted shrimp and chives seasoned in chili flakes (amount is up to one’s preference) before mixing everything up.

4) 돼지우동, ‎₩6000 (above) – Pork soup with udon.

I am not in a position to comment if the pork soup with rice/noodle at 在起豬肉湯飯 (재기 돼지국밥) was good or bad since I only tried the dish twice. Once in 2015, and once again in my recent July 2017 trip to Korea. But my crossfitters and I enjoyed our meal very much. Especially the sundae (순대) which left a very deep impression. I seriously recommend the sundae!

We also noticed the locals order the boiled pork (bossam/수육). Had we knew how to read the menu, we would have ordered that too. Do try it!

在起豬肉湯飯 재기 돼지국밥
25 Jeoryeong-ro 49beon-gil, Namhang-dong, Yeongdo-gu, Busan, South Korea
부산 영도구 절영로49번길 25. [지번] 남항동1가 171-10
+82 51 418 0526, Naver
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 08:00 – 21:30
Ambience: 6
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on 2nd & 4th Sun