Review: Grilled Mackerel, Soondubu, and Spicy Pork From Gosami in Sinchon (신촌에 고삼이)

Sinchon used to be my old stomping grounds back in the Yonsei days but nowadays I think I visit the area, at most, once or twice a year. There's the distance aspect that's a mild deterrence, of course but if anything it's probably because when I go there now I feel like an old gramps among the youthful, energetic college crowd.

But as a recent visit reminded me, maybe I should be going there more often because of the good but cheap eats there including this awesome place I'm introducing today.

While barbecues and other meat dishes usually gets more press and coverage by both foreigners and locals alike in Korea, fish has also long been a traditional stable of Koreans. This shouldn't come as a big surprise as the Korean peninusla is surrounded by an ocean and with plenty of rivers and lakes within.

There's plenty of spicy and/or seasoned fish dishes like jjim (braised) or tang (stew/soups) but a simple grilled and salted fish with rice and side dishes is a big and simple favorite for many Koreans. But the task of prepping and cooking fish can be bothersome, not to mention the process tends to make a fishy stink in your house.

Well, if you're in the Sinchon area and looking for a good bite to eat, I can't recommend Gosami enough. While in Sinchon with friends and looking for a place to eat amid all the barbecue joints, I came across a number of rave reviews online about this place  in the area and we decided to give it a go.

Right outside, by Gosami's front door, you can see the big ol' grilling station and watch the employees as they grill up the fish orders to be taken inside to hungry patrons.

The place is cozy and canteen style with tables lined in rows, as is many places in this largely college town area. Couples and friends were common but we saw a few university students coming in solo to grab a nice meal so don't be shy if you're coming by yourself!





The menu is kept simple and in three basic categories: grilled fish, stews, and stir fries.

The grilled fish on the menu are the mackerel (고등어), Japanese mackerel or "samchi" (삼치), Atka mackerel or "im yeon soo uh" (임연수구이), and the hairtail fish or galchi (갈치). Don't ask me about the differences between the mackerel varieties as I don't know although I heard the samchi has more vitamin D. This may explain why the samchi is 8,500 won while the other grilled fishes are all 7,500 won.

The jjigaes, or stews, are kept to a simple dwenjang, soondubu, or kimchi offered and are all 5,000 won.

For stir fries, you can get either the spicy pork (뙈지불백) or the spicy squid (오징어볶음) with both costing a simple 6,500 won.

Cola and sprite are 1,000 won each as are extra bowls of rice.


Gosami also has a number of set menus which are quite complicated but the odd thing is there's no discount on the set menu. Usually a set menu shaves 1,000 or 2,000 off the price but nope, we asked. They're just combinations Gosami listed which makes no sense to me since the way they phrase the descriptions (using only the first syllables of each dish) makes it even more confusing.

In any case, just order what you want as there's no need to pay attention to the set menu.


Prices are very reasonable and the fish were all Norwegian (known already for their high quality fish, including mackerel) or from Korea.

As soon as you order side dishes, some lettuce (for wraps), ssamjang and rice comes out. Good to see rice is included in all orders and not something you have to order separate!

The side dishes are basic but good, including the kimchi. There's a side dish station on the side that you can refill more on and we did so about 4 or 5 times.


The fish grill guy from outside personally comes in to deliver your fish, right off the grill, to your table.

The mackerel came expertly cleaned and split, with its skin crackly, crispy, and just perfect.


Dig into the delicate skin with your chopsticks and underneath are mounds of moist and succulent fish meat. The picture does not do justice in capturing how incredibly soft the meat was. And this little fella had a lot of meat packed inside him.


There's no frills to the seasoning here- just a bit of sea salt while underneath, a light brush of tumeric is given while on the grill. I'd never heard of tumeric being used to help mask the fishy smell of seafood but it was wonderfully effective and the flavors and scent surprisingly subtle. My friend didn't even notice there was tumeric in it until I pointed it out.

But yes, as we ravenously dug into the fish, the grilled pork arrived.


The grilled park is also a no frills dish. Just a spicy-sweet marinated pork with a few onions and green onions. It wasn't as amazing as the fish but it was still well done and I liked the fact it wasn't too spicy/sweet/savory. I particularly enjoyed eating it with the lettuce in wraps.
The portion isn't big at all but with the fish, the sides, rice, and....


...the soondubu, it was a feast. The soondubu jjigae comes bubbling and, unlike the pork, is surprisingly big in portion for being only 5,000 won. The broth is, again, not too savory or spicy and includes in it soondubu, clams, and onions.

There's no egg included in it and the soondubu is a bit overly broken up but it was still a perfect accompaniment to the meal and we cleaned the soondubu up too.


Altogether the meal (three orders) was 19,000 won which is a great deal for two. We could have just as easily ordered just two of the dishes and we'd still have left with full stomachs. With rice, side dishes, and whatnot all included in the mix, it's a great way to eat some good home cooked meals in a fix and on the cheap. And of course, you can get a superb and healthy grilled fish meal without the hassle of prepping, cooking, and stinking up your house for a really good price too!

If only this place wasn't all the way out in Sinchon, I'd definitely hit it up often!

Ratings: 3.5 out of 4 stars
It's cheap and without frills but the quality, taste, and prices at Gosami are excellent. The grilled mackerel really stands out as a healthy and inexpensive meal. 

Address: 

서울특별시 새대문구 창천동 53-8
53-8, Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul


Telephone: 02-324-1403

Parking: Not available

Alcohol: Surprisingly, not even soju or beer here 

Tip: Gosami has recommended set menus but the set options doesn't actually give any discounts so be aware of that! But still, prices are low anyways so go ahead and "splurge", if you can even call it that, and order another menu item if you have the appetite for it!