A Hand-Torn Noodle Soup with a Twist
Sujebi is a Korean comfort food that is kind of a simple pasta soup. Flour dough is roughly pulled by hand and added to boiling broth. It is easy to make and a good way to clear out veggie scrap in your fridge. My mother used to make sujebi often and I often assisted in tearing-the-dough part. The dough flakes don’t have to be perfect. In fact, it seemed more natural to have more roughly-shaped doughs in your soup. It is a fun dish to make with your kids for sure.
Sujebi is normally made with anchovy & vegetable broth. Nowadays, there are other variations that are more popular. Spicy sujebi is seasoned with a dollop of gochujang and chili to give a kick. Perilla seed sujebi is seasoned with crushed perilla seeds and the broth is thick and rich.
I had a craving for nutty perilla seed soup when I walked into Insadong Sujebi. The restaurant is hidden in the narrow alleyway behind busy Insadong Culture Street. Like many eateries in Insadong, the place is dressed in traditional interior items. But most of all, the wall of earthenware pots caught my eyes immediately. Apparently, the regulars get to keep their own pots on the shelves. What a prize!
Traditional Hanok Restaurant in Insadong
At Insadong Sujebi, their soup is always served in a pot. Even if you order for one person, the soup is presented in a cute, single-serving pot. A side bowl and a ladle is also provided for those who want to help themselves. But I chose to eat directly from the cool pot they gave me. The soup is kept hot inside the pot for surprisingly long time so be careful to not burn yourself with the dough.
The kimchi is also served in a pot. You must use the tongs to take the desired amount of kimchi on your plate. The cold radish kimchi soup was refreshing. A good way to start the meal.
They also offer half-a-pot of dongdongju for W3,000. Dongdongju is category of traditional Korean rice wine, just like makgeolli. Usually dongdongju is taken from the floating top of the rice wine, while makgeolli is strained through a sieve to separate rice residue.
The soup is very thick. I could tell that they put a lot of perilla seeds in there. Other than julienne potato, I did not notice any other vegetable in the soup. The dough has nice and dense texture to it.
The perilla seed sujebi and spicy sujebi is W7,000, and regular sujebi is W6,000. A decent meal for a good price in highly touristic area.
Insadong Sujebi 인사동 수제비
29-2 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul