This was another restaurant on the Michelin’s guide that we visited in Korea. It was awarded “Bib Gourmand”, which means the restaurant provides good value cooking as well as great quality. So, contrary to what I thought about Michelin’s guide, it’s not always about fancy, break-your-bank dining. It can be a pretty reliable reference for an average Jane like me with a limited budget.
We actually stumbled upon Gaeseong Traditional Dumplings House while wandering around the alleyways of Insa-dong.
Gaeseong’s menu has English translation under the Hangul for everything listed, which made me feel more competent than when I get handed the ‘foreigner’s menu’ 😅. In the menu, they have one helpful page detailing how they make their food and how to enjoy their dumplings and their watery kimchi.
Alright, on to the juicy details about the actual food. I ordered the Choraengi rice cake soup with dumplings, and B got the Gaeseong dumplings boiled in beef stock.
Here’s a close up of the watery kimchi. We have gotten used to side dishes like kimchi and pickled radish, but it was the first time for us with the watery kimchi. We had our eyes glued to the other tables nearby on how they would eat the watery kimchi. That was until we found the page of how to eat everything.
They give you a bowl to scoop it out. There are square slices of radish, carrot, cabbage, and I think the green cylinder is minari? It has a light flavour, slightly sour and faintly sweet, not salty at all. Definitely quite cool and refreshing in summer. So, according to their tip on the menu, you’re supposed to have a spoonful of this after eating the dumpling to help cleanse your palate and to help with digestion.
Here comes my Choraengi rice cake soup, decorated with some dried seaweed and sliced green onions. The beef broth was very tasty, you can tell they used lots of fresh vegetables in the process of boiling. The little handmade spheres of rice cakes were perfectly chewy.
The dumplings were huge, stuffed with pork, leek, bean sprouts, tofu, and napa cabbage. I think these dumplings were subtly seasoned. It’s like they were not made with the intention to blow your taste buds away, but to impress you with the beautiful blend of hearty gentle flavours of all the ingredients and texture. I found them very delicious and reminded me of good old homemade dumplings. The four of them with the round rice cakes were more than enough to fill me up.
B’s Gaeseong dumplings came with a small bowl of warm soup on the side, also very umami. In hindsight, I kind of wish one of us had ordered the kimchi dumpling or mushroom dumpling to try the other flavours as well.
Gaeseong Traditional Dumpling House
11-3 Insadong 10-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Gaeseong dumplings – 11,000 kwon