On the last week of August, I flew down to Jeju Island to enjoy the final days of summer 2017. Unlike Seoul where the evenings became chilly and fall rain began to drop, the biggest Korean island situated off the south coast of peninsula was still under heat alert during the high noon.
I had a friend building a house in the district of Pyoseon, southeast part of the island. On our way from Seogwipo to Pyoseon, my friend and I stopped by in a small seaside village called Namwon for a quick meal. A restaurant called Namwon Mal Garden had grabbed our attention. Jeju has plenty of mal–there are horse ranch and farm everywhere. Some for tourism and others for meat.
The friendly middle-aged man who was running the hall explained that they receive their horse meat fresh from the local farm. Because we were the only guest at the time (it was past meal time), he was kind enough to grill the meat for us and show us how to eat it. A cook-on-your-table setup was done, and the pan was heated and ready to go.
They normally accept minimum of two orders for malguee, but because two of us had already ordered single meals for each of us, they allowed us to try just one order of grilled horse meat on the side.
The raw horse meat resembled the beef. A lump of fat is also served with the meat. The owner placed both the meat and the fat on the grill and recommended to eat both together. He brags that customers come all the way from Jeju-si to try their horse meat feast.
The meat was very tender. I was not so sure about eating the fat but tried it anyway. The meat, the fat, and the dipping sauce make a nice bite that melt away in your mouth.
The horse meat stew had not just the meat, but horse intestines, horse liver, etc in its semi-spicy and nutty broth. There is a distinct odour that you could not experience when you eat beef offal soup. The smell is a lot stronger and more pungent.
Namwon Malgarden 남원말가든
9, Taewi-ro 689beon-gil, Namwon-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Closed first and third Sundays