Traditional Hanok Restaurant in Insadong, Seoul
Sigoljib, literally meaning “country house”, is one of the few restaurants in Insadong that locals give credit for its traditional fare. The restaurants is housed in classic hanok structure and it serves quintessential Korean delicacy. Its signature menu is sijang gukbap, spicy beef soup with rice served just the way it was at traditional markets decades ago.
The old house standing at the end of a narrow back alley is quite unique. The place maintains traditional layout of hanok. Elevated rooms surround the garden in the middle. On the other side is the open kitchen area where the huge built-in pot contains what Koreans call country-style gukbap.
Traditional architecture like this is now hard to find in Seoul. The lady guided me to one of the ondol rooms, where you need to take off your shoes and sit on the floor. It’s Thursday afternoon and there is only one other table of three middle-aged customers. They are having stew and bulgogi with beer.
The beef stew is filled with blocks of meat, cabbage, and leek. A large chunk of seonji sits in the middle of the bowl as if an iceberg sticking out of the ocean. As a fan of seonji, I noticed that the clotted blood here has texture different from the ones I have tasted before. Sigoljib’s seonji is more firm and the colour inside is much darker when cut in half. I personally prefer softer seonji, but I enjoyed the variety.
You can ask to leave out seonji when making your order. The soup is a bit of a kick to it but it’s not unbearably spicy. A comfort food to start your day of touring in Insadong.
22 Jong-ro 11-gil, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul