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.
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!