Dongdaemun-gu is mainly a residential neighborhood that provides its locals with several mat-jib (맛집) and pocha (포차). This is where you can go with friends and enjoy a full Korean native-like experience. For those who might be lost with these terms, they respectively mean a restaurant famous for having good food and a pub or bar. In this series of “Exploring Dongdaemun-gu”, I will introduce to you the best mat-jib (맛집) and pocha (포차) you can find in the neighborhood of Dongdaemun-gu. Today I’m gonna recommend a great place to eat meat in Dongdaemun-gu: Tiger Kitchen (어흥식당).
I went there to try their delicious beef after seeing an advertisement on Facebook. Prices vary from 7,000 won to 12,000 won, which is around $6 to $10. The restaurant is located just a few blocks away from Hoegi Station, on line 1 blue. The address is 22 Hoegi-ro 13-gil, Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu.
I went very early so that’s why you can see it kinda empty. But when I went there with my friend the other day, it got quite crowded. As you can see in the picture, the restaurant brings to us a very welcoming and cozy atmosphere, with yellow lights and rustic walls. The tables are also kinda rustic, and the chairs are very comfortable. There are also a lot of little tigers and tiger drawings all over. You really get to fell you are in a “tiger kitchen”.
To order your food you gotta go to the ordering machine. It has the option to be set in English (in case you know nothing of Korean). If you know at least how to read Korean, no need for changing the language. And all the dishes have its names in “konglish”, so it’s easy to understand what you-re ordering.
The most ordered and famous dishes are the sweet and spicy hamburger with cheese (매콤치즈함박), chili hamburger with cheese (칠리치즈함박), spicy hamburger with rice cakes (불떡함박) and the original flavor (오리지날함박). The last two options are not served with cheese on top, but all of the four have some dishes – such as rice and onions dipped in vinegar.
Both I and my friend are weak for spicy food, but we wanted one option with cheese. So we ended up ordering the chili hamburger with cheese (칠리치즈함박). When you order your food on the machine, you’ll receive an order number. And then all you have yo do is pick the order on the balcony.
We were impressed on how fast our food was ready (around 15 minutes!), and the dish presentation was also very nice. It came on a tray with some side dishes, and the hamburger beef was wrapped in aluminum paper. The dish also comer with a 2 minutes timer, which is the time you have to wait before taking the aluminum paper off. While waiting, we heard the sound of the beef cooking inside the paper and the smell was just absolutely delicious – we were so tempted to open it before the timer beeped.
We could find cutlery to eat on drawers located under the table – which is very common in Korean restaurants. Be careful to open the aluminum paper as it will be hot because of the steam. On the picture above you can see what the burger looked like: obviously delicious! I must say that I was very impressed with the taste.
After trying meat hamburgers in several places in Seoul, I didn’t expect the meat to be so well seasoned, usually, meat tends to have a more plain taste. But this one was very tasty, and cooked to the right point: not too raw but also not overcooked. The texture of the meat was very soft on the inside and kinda crunchy on the outside, and that matched really well with the rice. The rice was Korean-style, which is similar to the Japanese gohan. Actually all the side dishes went really well with the meat, and there was also a lot of cheese all over, but it didn’t made the dish too greasy, which was great. Overall, I was very satisfied with what I ate for the price – I got a discount and paid 7,900 won the whole thing.
Address: 22, Hoegi-ro 13-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
So if you’re looking for a place to eat cheap and tasty food, Tiger Kitchen (어흥식당) is your place to go!