[Seoul - Yeoksam] Soonnam Siraegi - Had to Revisit my Comfort Food Spot

I had to get some Soonnam Siraegi when I visited Seoul. It was one of my go-to restaurants in my neighborhood when I lived in Sadang, like Chowabap (sushi). I went here often because it wasn't awkward to eat here alone and because it was on my walk home from my shuttle bus drop-off location. The owners knew me so well there. Sadly, the Sadang location closed.

So, I went to the location in Yeoksam this time. I have been to the Yeoksam location a handful of times because it was a pretty popular lunch spot when I worked at Yeoksam.

This time, I tried some of the foods I had always wondered about, but could never eat as a lone diner.

As I mentioned in my older post, one of the best features is the banchan buffet bar. And! I finally took a picture of it in all its glory.

These are the general banchan side dishes that come with every meal.

This is the banchan buffet! There are always five options (and dessert), but the options vary from visit to visit and from season to season (and from location to location). Make sure you only take what you consume. I am not entirely sure if they charge a fee if you don't finish what you take, but basically, just don't be a jerk and you'll be fine.

If you've been reading/following me for a while, I'm sure you miss my Norwegian friend. So, I figured I would mention her here for you. She loves this restaurant because they often have japchae (Korean glass noodles dish) as one of the banchan options. Even though this is one of those Korean foods all foreigners know, it's not really an everyday food in Korea. But, I guess japchae is an everyday food at Soonnam Siraegi because I think I can only remember one time that it was not available on the buffet.

You can see here what the options were: seasoned bean sprouts, mook (acorn jelly), japchae, pickled radish, and seasoned greens.

My friend and I felt like having some makgeolli this time, but opted to just get the original house makeolli with no flavoring.

This is 쑥떡 떡갈비정식 (sook dduk ddukgalbi jeongshik; mugwort dduk-wrapped dduk galbi meal). If you haven't tried mugwort yet, it was kind of in vogue a few years ago and was able to be found in tons of desserts, drinks, etc. Black sesame is the "it" traditional flavor being embraced by Koreans these days. The other part of the set is actually the soup that I usually order. It's so creamy with ground sesame and just such a great comfort food.

We decided to order the 도토리해물파전 (dotori haemool pajeon; acorn seaweed pancake). This was something I've always been curious about. I, honestly, had no idea what to expect when I ordered this. It's so much thicker than I thought it would be. It's kind of dense. However, it's not really chewy or fluffy. I guess out of those three descriptors, it's kind of a dense chewiness - maybe like a Nutrigrain bar, but more moist on the inside and no crumbles. However, the outside is crunchy. It is filled with a variety of seafood and vegetables. It's a very filling choice and the portion is huge. If I got a pizza this size, I think it would be 3 meals, if not 4. We kind of imagined a thinner more typical pajeon when we ordered this because we thought it would be a nice pairing with makgeolli, but it was just beyond filling and didn't really have a snacky feeling like you get from eating regular pajeon.

Translated menu from my old post: read it here

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