Are you looking for the best red bean porridge (patjuk) in South Korea? Well, I’ve got just the place! Moonhori Patjuk is the OG of Korean-style red bean porridge. They’ve been making the delicacy in the same way for generations, using all-natural ingredients. You haven’t really tried patjuk until you’ve tried it here!
About Red Bean Porridge
Have you wondered what red beans actually are and why are so popular in Korea? Red beans are commonly used in Korean cuisine while cooking porridge and many sweets. If you live in Korea, you may have noticed already that many sweets you buy from convenience stores are filled with sweet red bean paste instead of chocolate.
Cultural Significance of Korean Red Bean Porridge
In East Asian cultures, people believe that the color red of the beans can drive off evil spirits, making the way for good luck in your life. Cooking and eating red bean porridge is strongly related to Korea’s history and culture. In the past, when people lived in an agrarian society, being able to serve patjuk was a sign of abundance.
In fact, there is even a holiday in Korea all about eating patjuk! Eating patjuk(red bean porridge) during the winter solstice is believed to bring you health, riches, and luck. I am still waiting for good things…during that day I had 2 bowls of red bean porridge, red bean bingsoo, and red bean bread. I think I had not only enough for myself, but also for my descendants for many generations to come hehe.
Health Aspects of Korean Red Bean Porridge
In the modern era, science has discovered a lot of benefits that red bean porridge provides. It is packed full of nutrients, is low calorie, and probiotic. If you eat a very natural patjuk, it can be as little as 71 calories per serving and is full of protein and vitamin B1.
Moonhori Patjuk also ferments their red bean porridge and kalguksu noodles. As a result, they are full of healthy gut bacteria that have a probiotic function in a similar way that kimchi does.
After knowing all about the cultural significance and health benefits of the dish, I was ready to try the most traditional version of the dish I could get my hands on. That led me to Moonhori Patjuk.
The Journey to Moonhori Patjuk
It was Friday, the day before the Lunar New Year in Korea. I woke up excited because I was going on an adventure. I took a shower, stuffed my backpack with some chocolate bars and some hot packs, and I ran to catch the bus to Yangpyeong.
Even though it was my first time going to that place, I wasn’t anxious at all. The sky was clear, and my mind was as well. Just a bit cold, enough to keep my ideas fresh. I was riding the bus while listening to music in Namyangju, thinking about how lucky I was to be going on an adventure. That day my mission was to visit a famous restaurant in Yangpyeong, that served various types of red bean porridge and bingsoo.
Finally, I was in front of the restaurant, after a 30 minute ride from the station. I got out of the taxi, practiced how to say “Happy new year!” in Korean, and entered the restaurant.
First Impressions of Moonhori Patjuk
Sweet porridge aroma, cozy vibes, and good energy – those were my first impressions. It is definitely the best place to relax and refill on luck. After all, red bean porridge is well known in Korean mythology to expel evils and increase luck in one’s life.
I ordered red bean porridge and noodles, after I asked the staff to recommend me something. While I was waiting for my meal, I had a very nice conversation with a kind lady who told me about her trip to Europe she’d just come back from a few weeks ago. She was extremely happy I could speak some Korean and she invited me to her restaurant again.
Overall, my first impressions were great! It was warm, cozy, and welcoming!
Red Bean Porridge at Moonhori Patjuk
I’ve tried red bean porridge a few times before, but I wasn’t too impressed. However, the porridge I had at this restaurant was so yummy and the texture so soft. It was far beyond my expectations and unlike anything I’d ever had before.
It turns out that this place makes red bean porridge in an extremely traditional way, using all-natural and local ingredients. All of the red beans used at the restaurant come directly from a farm located in Chuncheon province, and the water comes from a local spring. They don’t use any additives, which is a rarity to find in modern times.
For the noodles, the soup is also thick and made of red beans. However, instead of putting rice cakes in the soup, they added in hand-cut noodles. This is an extremely traditional version of the dish that is quite difficult to find nowadays.
When I asked what the secret was to such amazing food, the owner didn’t hesitate to tell me anything. She was happy to help keep the ancient recipe alive. So, no matter where you are in the world, you are more than welcome to give it a try too. Rather than difficult cooking techniques, she stated that the real secret is sincerity, patience, and good healthy ingredients.
1.Take dried red beans and boil them in water until they become soft
2.Mash the red beans and discard the skins
3. Add rice water and rice cake balls
4. Add a bit of salt, sugar and mix well
Then, you just simmer it on low heat for a very long time until you reach the right consistency. It should start to thicken with time.
However, I doubt that, even with the owner’s recipe, I could ever make it quite as good as theirs. I recommend anyone who enjoys red bean to visit this place. It truly is a unique food experience that you can’t find anywhere else.
Also, if you live in Korea, you can try a taste of Moonhori Patjuk’s red bean at your local GS25. They recently began selling patbingsoo, and red bean bread!
Other Attractions Nearby
From Yangsu Station to the restaurant, you will ride a car or the bus along the Bukhangang River. Nearby you can find various tourist attractions such as Seojong Culture Sports Park, (a literature museum) and Dumulmeori, a famous place you often see in Korean dramas. You can also find the famous Seohuri Forest, the location of the BTS 2019 season’s greeting photoshoot.
Since it’s a mountain area, the landscape is magnificent, especially during the summer season. If you are thinking about a 1-day trip outside of Seoul, this place would be perfect.
Did you know that in East Asian cultures the new year is celebrated in January or February, following the lunar calendar? People usually go to their hometowns and spend time with their families. Some of the most popular dishes Korean people usually have during Seollal, Lunar New Year, are rice cake soup, red bean porridge, and dumpling soup. My favorite one is the red bean porridge.
Being able to visit a new restaurant and have red bean porridge right before the Lunar New Year was indeed an unforgettable experience. When the weather will get warmer during spring, I will definitely go back there with my friends and camp next to that place for 2 days. So, what are your plans for the weekend? Right now, after I finish writing this article I am going to cook some patjuk. Wish me luck^^
How to get to the restaurant
I strongly recommend you visit this place during a weekend afternoon with your family or friends. However, keep in mind you won’t be able to get there directly by subway. I currently live in Jinjeop, Namyangju and it took me about 2 hours to get there.
I took bus no.9, transferred to Gyeongui Jungang Line, then got off at Yangsu station. After that, I took a taxi for 30 mins I was in front of the restaurant. However, there are some buses that stop nearby. Nevertheless, taking a taxi or renting a car is much more convenient due to the time between buses. Below you can see the location on the map:
Moonhori Patjuk (문호리팥죽 본점) Address: 641 Bukhangang-ro, Seojong-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi Korean address: 경기 양평군 서종면 북한강로 641 Operating Hours: 11:00 AM - 07:40 PM *03:00 PM - 04:00 PM Breaktime