My mom, unlike myself, is a picky eater. It is difficult to impress her when I take her to a restaurant of my choice. I am willing to try mostly anything that is edible but my mom even refuses to eat chicken as she believes they often “stink”. So it was indeed a shock that Mrs. Fussy took me to a dakgalbi restaurant for lunch one day. Dakgalbi (닭갈비) is a sweet and spicy chicken stir-fry cooked in a large stone plate. Mom explained that the place is an exception for her since they seem to use only fresh not frozen chicken.
At 5.5 Dakgalbi, the big plate of chicken meat, vegetables, rice cake, and the special sauce is poured into the big stone plate specially built for cooking dakgalbi. You can choose to add different toppings such as mushroom, sweet potato, or even cheese (not recommended if you want to try traditional dakgalbi) for only few thousand won. Just like every other restaurant in Korea, side dishes are bottomless and you are free to ask for refills.
I was skeptical as I learned that 5.5 Dakgalbi is a restaurant chain. But soon realized that there are reasons that the brand was a huge success in Daejeon. The founder is a native from Chuncheon, Gyeonggi-do, the so-called home of dakgalbi. When the government worker visited Daejeon in 2004 he decided that he would open up a dakgalbi restaurant. Within a decade the business expanded and dozens of branches made their home in Daejeon.
There are few stories regarding the name of the restaurant: 5.5 Dakgalbi. Some say that when the restaurant first opened, a single serving of dakgalbi was worth 5,500 won (Now it costs 8,500 won per serving). Another story says that when the owner first started the business his goal was to make such great tasting dakgalbi that it will receive 5.5 stars out of 5 by the customers. Whatever the truth is, the restaurant chain is the place where you can enjoy almost authentic Chuncheon-style dakgalbi in the city of Daejeon.