First, what exactly is 감자탕 – Gamjatang?
Gamjatang is a Korean dish, personally one of my favorites, that directly translates to Pork Neck Bone Soup. The soup base is spicy but not too spicy. I personally enjoy spicy food, but for people who don’t typically enjoy eating spicy food it is probably just the right amount of spice to where you can still enjoy the flavor. The soup also includes (but not limited to) potatoes, mushrooms, and perilla leaf (껫잎 – kkaenip? lol). Lastly, as you can tell from the name, a whole lot of pork neck bones and pork meat go into making the soup. If you’re already turned off by the fact that it’s ‘pork neck’… just wait until you see its visuals. It’s definitely, what I like to call, a sexy soup.
Yesterday after my boyfriend got off work we decided to go to his neighborhood’s Gamjatang restaurant. I had been craving it for a few weeks and my boyfriend had never tried it, so I pulled out my phone and searched where the closest place was to his house. I found a place called 참맛감자탕 (The Real Taste of Gamjatang, I guess you could say).
The soup comes in three sizes: small – 25,000₩ ($22), medium – 30,000₩ ($26) and
large – 35,000₩ ($31)
I initially wanted to order the small size, but got confused and accidentally ordered the medium size because I thought the word from medium in Korean was small… and that’s a perfect example of how you learn from your mistakes.
They initially brought us our side dishes (반찬). They gave us two types of kimchi, cabbage and radish, green chili pepper (not spicy) with soybean sauce (쌈장) for dipping and vegetable pancake.
And the best part of all, THE SIDE DISHES ARE UNLIMITED REFILL! (but usually most Korean restaurants have unlimited side dishes so…)
This location was having an Open Event, so if you order the soup (which everyone goes there to get soup, so basically they’re just handing it out) you can get a free soda with your meal or a free bottle of soju. My boyfriend and I, being the responsible couple that we are, decided to not drink on a Tuesday night. Even though we were really tempted.
This was what the Gamjatang looked like before it was thoroughly cooked. They prepare the soup in the kitchen, but you still need to cook the soup for about 10~15 minutes at the table before you can eat it.
I was really hungry and didn’t know what to do while I was waiting for it to cook, so I just took more pictures of the table. Here you go.
FINALLY! After 10ish minutes everything was cooked.
The portion size was much bigger than I expected (this was when I realized I didn’t order correctly and ordered the size meant for 3~4 people lol).
I was really surprised by the flavor. I wasn’t expecting much because it’s a franchise restaurant, but I would recommend it to anyone who was craving Gamjatang or wanted to try it for the first time. I think first-timers would get a great first impression.
The meat was really tender and fell off the bone. I was honestly really surprised by the quality and taste.
While I was eating it I kept telling my boyfriend ‘Wow, I know I’ve tasted this somewhere before, but it wasn’t Gamjatang’. I finally realized after I finished eating it reminded me of the pork roast my mom used to make me whenever I’d come home from college for vacation. Any food that reminds me of home has special place in my heart~
Just to show how many bones went into the soup. You can imagine the amount of meat that came off each one.
I honestly didn’t think we could eat it all… so I’m really proud of us lol.
And just like that, another end to another great dinner on a random Tuesday night.
Taste: 8/10 (I don’t like perilla leaves.)
Quantity: 10/10 (but I also ordered the wrong size on accident so it was more than enough)
Price (in relation to quantity/quality): 9/10
If you would like to visit this same location, I will link the address to the restaurant below:
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If you’re in Seoul and end up going to the same restaurant let me know how you liked it in the comments!