Review: Eulji Son Kalguksu (을지손칼국수)

It's a-raining.

Or at least it was. And rain means Koreans are seeking one (or more) of the following food items: piping-hot, savory jeon; bubbling, milky makgeolli; or hot bowls of kalguksu with thick noodles like today's place.

Finding Eulji Sonkalguksu for first timers may put some testing on one's navigational skills. Euljiro's twisting alleys and side streets are already a maze on their own but once you spot this unassuming smaller-sized office tower (Arista building) you'll know you're good.

Now the oddest thing about this restaurant is that it's actually a 2-in-1 restaurant, meaning, there's technically two restaurants operating under the same management. One side is for barbecue and, especially in evenings, you'll find many gathered around sizzling slabs of meat and clinking soju shots together.

The other side, which is sectioned off from the barbecue section, is the noodles and dumpling side which is probably what this place is better known for.

The menu for the noodles and dumpling side is simple. Choose between kalguksu (knife cut noodles), mandu (dumpling) and kalguksu, mandu ddeokguk (rice cake soup),  mandu (six of them), mool or bibim naengmyeon. All of these menu options are only 7K. The previously-mentioned samgyeobsal (pork belly) for barbecue is also listed as 12,000 for 200g which isn't a bad price but I can't attest to the quality or taste since I've never tried it.

My gut, however, says the barbecue shouldn't be too shabby as their noodles and dumplings are known for their quality. The noodles, soup broth, AND gigantic fist-sized dumplings are all made in-house and featured on a few TV shows already for their high quality and taste.

Simplicity is the description for the sides here which consists of kimchi (the less fermented but still flavor-strong variety) and pickled radish (danmooji).

The soups are beef based in which they make a big batch of stock each day using beef bones, meat, and other ingredients. Though the soup is flavored and seasoned on its own, on hand at every table are chopped chili peppers and minced garlic for those who want a little more pizzazz.

And here is the mandu kalguksu.

Just look at those beauts. Handmade each day, these are dumplings that are filled to the brim with each day's finest ingredients by hand and never frozen.

Despite the mandu's size, the wrapper is kept thin while maximizing the filling. Look at the thin, almost transparent skin offering a peek of the goodness inside!

Pork, chives, ginger, tofu, etc....

Add to that the fact the mandu have been cooked in the flavor-rich beef broth and you have fantastic mandu with an extra dimension.

Draw #2 of Eulji Son Kalguksu is their noodles. The noodles here are made in-house, thick, and, unusually, incorporated with mugwort. I don't think there's enough of it you can really taste it but I'd like to think it's at least a teeny bit healthier than flour-based noodles alone. 

And if you're like me, you'll love the fatty, plump noodles. :)

For hungry patrons, they even provide small bowls of rice to help finish off the deliciously rich soup.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
A hidden gem in Euljiro, the restaurant's insistence on making their soup, noodles, and toddler fist-sized mandu by hand pays off handsomely in quality and taste. The food is solid and the dumplings especially so.

서울특별시 중구 을지로3가 291-45
291-45, Euljiro-3ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea

Come out of exit 8 of Euljiro 3-ga station and immediately turn around walking north towards the main intersection. Walk about 100m north and you'll see a side street named "Chungmuro". Enter it and walk a few meters to see the Arista building (54-3). See above for an image of the building's entrance. 




Standard Korean beers, soju, etc available. 

Eulji Son Kalguksu is closed on Sundays.