By Emma O’Flynn
When it comes to dining out in Nampo, budget vegetarian options are pretty limited. So this little place was a great find, even though it’s not strictly vegetarian. Located in the basement, with a very unassuming entrance, Korean Banchan (side-dish) Heaven awaits. One does not go to this place for the Kimchi Jigae, or the Dwen Jang Jigae (although they are pretty good!). The major selling point for this restaurant is the buffet of sides that you can help yourself to, as much as you heart (and stomach) desires.
You must order something from the menu, before you go to the buffet. It’s a fairly short list (an English version is available), and includes the aforementioned jigaes, plus things like the donkasu (pork cutlet) and ice noodles. Once your order is in, you are free to hit the side dishes! They vary slightly each time, but almost always have the following in the selection: chap chey, padjeon, dakboki, kimchi, some fish (species unknown), salad (spicy and mayo), fresh lettuce and chilies, and the sweet rice stew porridge stuff. So there is something to everyone’s taste.
All this is available for the bargain price of 6,900 won. I have visited several times, including a weekend, and the place ranges from steadily busy, to choc-a-block, which I always take as a good sign. There are plenty of tables in the place, and the staff are very friendly and helpful (though not a lick’o’English between them), with a nice buzz at all times. A great place to take the weight off your feet and fill up your belly.
Directions (map below): Subway Line 1 to Nampo (111). This restaurant is located on same street as Arun Thai. It is a lot further up away from the main Nampo drag. As you walk up and one of the intersections there is a store on the left hand corner with a white header, conveniently called ‘Corner’. The entrance for the restaurant is almost on the opposite corner from this (just one or two more doors up). You will see the sign (pictured), and some food pictures at the top of the stairs.