Chuncheon Dalk Galbi

My husband’s family is a notorious “food tripper” – as in we’d spend hours driving to a city known for its specialty food even if we could get it in Seoul (pretty much every city’s specialty is available in the capital). Last Sunday, my father-in-law was craving for “dalk (chicken) kalbi” – a specialty of Chuncheon. The city is located almost 2 hours from Seoul. It is the capital of Gangwon-do and is a famous tourist spot. It even became more famous through the Korean drama “Winter Sonata”.

At around 11 o’clock on Sunday morning, we took the car to my sister-in-law’s house where my husband’s second brother is also waiting. We could’ve used just two cars but I don’t understand why we had to waste gas by using three as we convoyed to Chuncheon. On weekends, the traffic to Gangwon-do is usually slow. We took the newly opened Seoul-Chuncheon expressway and were surprised at the high toll fee.

On the way to Chuncheon, we stopped by the newly opened “Gapyeong Rest Area”. The massage place at the rest area is a hit:

I like that this resting place is kept neat and tidy… oh well it’s still new.

Korean cars come in only three colors: white, silver grey and black. Seriously.

Outdoor seating:

The rest area’s food court packed with hungry travelers.

Highway signs in English and Korean:

Taken from the car… Chuncheon at last! It took us 1 1/2 hours to get here from eastern Seoul and almost 4,000 won in toll fee. My husband’s siblings paid double since they have bigger cars.

We went to a dalk kalbi restaurant in downtown Chuncheon. It is called “Se Myeong Dong Dalk Kalbi” or “New MyeongDong Dalk Kalbi.”

Most Korean restaurants serve only a few specialty dishes. Notice how limited the choices are. Dalk kalbi costs 9,000 won per person serving of 300g.

Dalk kalbi is one of my favorite Korean dishes. The first time I had it was also in downtown Chuncheon, near the bus terminal sometime in September 2003. What’s in it? Pieces of chicken, spicy sauce, rice cake, cabbage, sweet potato, green onions. Rice cake and sweet potato? Strange isn’t it but it’s really good! We occupied two tables (floor seating) and ordered 3 for each. Just remember to take weight loss products if you overeat.

Here’s my brother-in-law stirring the dish.

And the owner at my PIL’s table…

This bowl of radish water is a refreshing side to the spicy dalk kalbi. It’s so simple but it’s good!

My brother-in-law had to wear an apron…

My niece too…

After eating all the meat, what is left of the dish is mixed with rice or noodles for a spicy stir fry.

I prefer the rice over the noodles (udong or udon) which looked to me like fat earthworms… ngiii!

How good is dalk kalbi? Let this picture speak for itself…

Here’s a poster of “Winter Sonata” and signatures of famous celebs who’d been here.

In Korean restaurants, coffee after the meal is usually free. Just look for this coffee machine and you can drink as much you can. I had two on that hot and humid Sunday!

18 comments

  1. It looks yummy! I tried this Chuncheon Dak kalbi on our way home from our Mt. Sorak trip last winter of 2003. The funny thing was we were the only people in the street full of these dak kalbi restaurants. Not so many people ate chicken that time because of the bird flu outbreak in the country.
    .-= Nhemskie´s last blog ..Meteor Shower =-.

  2. hello. I have a question: Should u really be married to a Korean to be able to live in Korea? Do they have like a fiancee visa or something like in America?

  3. hi ate betchay!
    Hrm student po ako, sa subject po naming asian cuisine, of course ksama n ang korean cuisine dun. may maire-recommend po b kayong korean dish n pwede naming lutuin at mga ingredients po?

    thank you!

  4. true, ms betch about the colors of the cars. i wonder why? the agent for our apartment drives a compact in bright yellow but i don’t think it’s a korean car.

  5. hi everyone!

    The first time I discover this blog, i really liked it. I’m a freak when it comes to anything and everything korean and I always visit this site because it entertains me a lot. Thank you so much for putting an effort to always update this blog, i love all the posts here. ^__^

    I wish I could visit Korea soon…(sigh)

  6. Always admire Ms.Betchay’s writing because she never ignores the facts that we, Korean, think nothing special.

    From her view I leaned a lot in different angle, thanks

    To explain more about the food named Dakh Kalbi “chicken’s rib” which means literally almost valueless(think about chicken rib nothing to eat but not easy to throw away)but the food itself is really yummy with hot spicy sauce with sliced chicken without bone.

    You mentioned “Most Korean restaurants serve only a few specialty dishes” but our cusine is side dish free. If you order one dish such as Dak Kalbi then Kimchi, soup, noodle(sometimes extra charge), radish, vegetabel come all together. (we don’t need order separately, if you need more side dish you can ask they will fill without charge)
    If you get accustomed to this ordering way, you will get headache whenever you are asked to order separately(especially myself)

    But anyway it is very funny story for weekend life in Korea

    Thanks very much pinpointing the strange things from our normal life (Hyun Chang Lee)

  7. hi! i miss chuncheon soooo much and we always call it chuncheon chicken.. that was way back in summer of 2007 when i was a volunteer english teacher for chuncheon ymca. cheers!

  8. i got excited reading this post. one of the most memorable parts of my trip to korea last month was taking a train ride out of seoul to visit nami island and chuncheon. beautiful beautiful beautiful! and the dakgalbi? was sooooo good especially paired with soju. ” )

    1. Hi Doogie! I had never taken the train before I came here. Now I think riding a train is just so romantic… On my first month here, my husband and I took the train to Gangcheon (town before Chuncheon) and double biked… that was in autumn…

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