Food + Soju + Good Times
Mapo-na-ru (마포나루) is one of my favorite restaurants in Seoul. All the food is made fresh to order, totally feels and tastes like home cooking. The place is famous for their spicy chicken with potatoes (닭도리탕, pronounced dak-doli-tang). I don’t know why they call it “tang”, because it’s not a soup or stew. It should be referred to as a “jjim” because its more of a braise or casserole.
With the interior they are going for an old fashioned, rustic motif. They have an area where you can sit on the floor and they have these awesome wooden tables and stools. Thank goodness because I hate sitting on the floor to eat. They also have this odd, dim, orange lighting, it kind of creeps me out and its horrible for taking pictures.
The little soup they give you is pretty good too, tastes just like how my mom makes it at home. Sorry but I’m not gonna bother to explain what kind of soup that is because that would be a mini-project in itself. The kimchi is good too, it tastes fresh and home-made.
To start off we ordered the potato pancake (감자전 pronounced gam-ja-jeon) and some rice wine (막걸리 pronounced mak-geol-li). When Koreans eat “jeon” they always drink makgeolli, think pizza and beer. The potato pancake was mushy and undercooked, the other times I’ve had it here, they were nice and crispy on the outside.
If you do come here, you should probably order an appetizer because their main dishes take a long time. Our order took 20 minutes, I timed it with my iPhone. Taking 20 minutes is unheard of in Korea! The reason it takes time is because each order is made fresh and that’s why I love this place.
For KRW 28,000 you get a whole chicken, two legs, two wings, neck bone, etc. It probably costs them less an $5 to make this dish, their profit margin is ridiculous but I think its worth it. The meat falls off the bone, the potatoes are soft and creamy, but what really makes the dish is the sauce. It’s a little spicy with a touch of sweetness and its thick! Great for dipping your meat in the sauce and not have it all run off.
After you devour the chicken you can ask them to mix up some rice with the leftover sauce. I absolutely love when they do that in Korea.
They have a large menu with quite a range of foods but most of the mains are pretty big, like meant to be shared by 4 people. I’ve been here 5 times and tried many of their dishes but the only thing I would not recommend is the “jeongol”, the big hotpot stews. I’ve had the kimchi jeongol and the mandoo jeongol and both were bad.
This is a great place to bring your friends that are visiting from the states!
Rating: 8 out of 10
마포나루: 02-711-5959, Mapo station exit #3