Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Izakaya (Maetan-dong and Yeongtong)

And….back to South Korea. Let’s start back up with one of my favorite Japanese ramen places: Izakaya. The location that I typically go to is located in Maetan-dong in front of Samsung (this location is now closed or has moved elsewhere and I haven't found it again yet). There is a location in Yeongtong, but the exact location escapes me – I think it’s on the street that runs along the side of KFC, but I’ll have to double-check that. I’ve never been to the one in Yeongtong because I’m more familiar with places in front of work.

It's to the right of Freshburger (which I DO NOT recommend).

They serve a few other things besides ramen here, like some donkasu and random other dishes that I have no clue what they are. Izakaya is nice for a quick, cheap lunch or dinner: the bowls of ramen average about 6500 won and the sets, which come with a smaller bowl of ramen and variety of choices for cutlet on rice, for an average of 10500 won. The rice and donkasu bowls on their own aren’t very filling, so I’d recommend getting a set. I’m not sure what kind of ramen comes with the set and I’m too sure on getting it replaced with a different type. I know that one time I went with a Korean friend and he was able to get them to substitute the miso ramen for me. I should probably note that the only ramen I’ve eaten at Izakaya is the miso: they have two different kinds of miso ramen. The one I get most often is on the first page of the menu and has the spicy symbol next to it. I prefer the miso ramen because the soup base is miso instead of a fish base, which is what the other ramen soup bases taste like to me (I don’t like fish). The other miso ramen is on the third page of the menu and has half of a boiled egg on top and comes with mushrooms and 3 pieces of pork as opposed to 1 with the ramen that I always get.

As you can see, the ramen is topped with a copious amount of bean sprouts, corn, green onions, a piece of seaweed, and a piece of pork. This is the one I typically get because I always pick the pork out and feel better about taking out 1 piece instead of 3 :). Now, I love seaweed, but the seaweed they use in the ramen taste a little off to me, so I usually try to pick its sogginess out of my noodles, too. The ramen also comes with a little side of kimchi and pickled radishes. The kimchi here is hit and miss – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it just taste like old, nasty, spicy cabbage. The radishes, however, I love: I think they’re marinated in soy sauce or crack (much like the jjangjorim at Bon Juk).

I haven’t tried many things here since a lot of the ramen has seafood in it, but my Korean friends enjoy those ramens quite well. They also have dumplings on the menu as a side item that are baked instead of fried. I think they’re “gyozo” on the menu instead of “mandu,” but they’re the first item under Side Orders on the menu.

So yeah, I can’t really read the menu very well at Izakaya and can’t tell you much about most of the food, but I know the one thing that I always order is enjoyable and I probably look something like Naruto while I’m eating my ramen.
*image copyright VIZ Media

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