Gwangju Blog

Where to Eat Wednesday: 중앙닭갈비

Sometimes, it can be difficult to see a restaurant you love close down. In downtown Gwangju, this happens far more often than I’d like to see. It can be a bit infuriating to see these places get replaced by a clothing shop, or worse, another phone store. As a result, I tend to grow more curious than anything when I see a new restaurant replace what I assume was a restaurant that had recently failed.


This ended up being just that scenario when 중앙닭갈비 (Joogang Dakgalbi) opened. Though I was initially sad to see that this new restaurant had replaced a personal favorite of mine, it did give me an excuse to check the place out one night when a couple of friends and I were feeling particularly hungry.

Once we arrived, we were immediately seated. The manager of the restaurant seemed eager to answer any questions we had, and even recommended the Boneless Chicken option on the menu. Before I even got a glimpse of the list of what was available, I couldn’t help but notice the small buffet that stood in the middle of the restaurant. Despite us arriving fairly late, there still appeared to be a decent amount of food left. Since we were feeling curious, hungry, and didn’t mind shelling out the extra 2,000 won per person for the buffet, we added it onto our order of Boneless Chicken with 모듬사리 (modeumsali), which was an assortment of toppings that included cheese, ramen noodles, ham, rice cake, and sujebi (hand torn noodles).


After our order was taken, we were quick to hit up the buffet area, which was filled with different salads, fruits, snacks, and desserts. Though we didn’t walk away with anything too memorable from the 2,000 won buffet, the small samplings of what we got served as decent appetizers while we waited for our food. We also received some cold seaweed soup and different sides at this point.

Seaweed Soup & Buffet PlateMain Dish

By the time I polished off my second plate of corn, cold pasta, and nacho chips with cheese, the main dish arrived. Unlike some of the other dakgalbi places I’ve visited, the food here came fully prepared and ready to eat. In the middle rested a pool of melting cheese, and surrounding it was a combination of chicken, vegetables, all of the extra toppings we got, and the usual red sauce that brought everything together. After each bite, what ended up surprising me the most was the lack of heat. Perhaps it’s due to me having lived in Korea for so long, but it was a little odd to have dakgalbi that didn’t taste spicy (to me) in the least. My friends, who aren’t huge fans of spicy food, seemed to appreciate being able to taste their food without fear. The overall flavor of the dish was pretty decent, though I personally wouldn’t get it with the ham again. While I do love processed meat products as much as the next person, the flavors were easily dulled by the presence of stronger flavors, leaving the unnecessary protein with little taste and an unappealing texture.

Fruit & GelatinDesserts

We were quite full by the time our skillet of food was cleared, but we had made sure to leave enough room for dessert. The buffet didn’t offer much when it came to sweets, but the little we did get was quite nice. I was personally a fan of the fruity gelatin, which came in green and red (still not sure what the actual flavors were). The freshness combined with the sweetness proved to be a nice way to finish off an otherwise heavy meal.

Overall, 중앙닭갈비 offered us a fair experience for an even fairer price. Though it will never truly replace the old restaurant it literally replaced, it still turned out to be a nice place for a late dinner with friends.

Address: 광주 동구 중앙로160번길 15-3 (located by the large Baskin Robbins in downtown)
Phone: 062-269-7892
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:30PM
Average Price Range: 8,500 to 15,000 per person

Essentials with JD # 154 **MOVIES AT HOME FOR CHUSEOK!!**

Recently Updated9

So Chuseok is in its final days and maybe you need to take some time out for some rest and relaxation at home. What a good time to indulge in some great family viewing with some Korean movies. 3 movies stand out as holiday favorites and two are quite heartwarming and one is an action packed thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat for 2 hours.


First movie is Miss Granny which revolves around a grand mother who goes through a surprise metamorphosis to become a 20 year old again. This romance/ comedy is great fun and will have you laughing and having fun with the main character the whole 2hr of the movie. A great watch for lazy afternoon.

(After opening in theaters on January 22, 2014, it became a huge box office hit, with 8.65 million tickets sold.)

Second movie is Miracle of the 7th Cell (7번방의 선물) which deals with a mentally challenged father who is accused of a crime and sent to prison which leaves his daughter to fend for herself. (Think I am Sam with a twist) But his daughter manages to smuggle herself into prison and helps brighten and soften the hearts of the prisoners in the cell with her father. A true heartwarmer which is perfect for the holiday season.

On March 15, 2013, 52 days after its release, ticket sales reached 12.32 million, making it the third highest grossing Korean film of all time.

Finally for all those action buffs out there the movie Ajusshi or Man from nowhere can bring you a world of pleasure. It is a must see for all those noir/ revenge/ action/ The Professional lovers. The film deals with a young girl who gets kidnapped and a stranger who has lost his entire family who is doing all he can to save her from some organ harvesting gangsters.  It was Korea’s highest grossing film in 2010, with 6,228,300 admissions and a revenue of 47.10 billion won


Stay safe and have a Happy rest of your Chuseok.





(Movie stats from Wikipedia)


Songpyeon: A Bright Future Omen

Korean traditional songpyeon - Photo by Joe Wabe

Korean traditional songpyeon – Photo by Joe Wabe

Korean Thanksgivings’ Day or “Chuseok” is one of Korea’s two major holidays, along with New Year’s Day “Seollal”. “Chuseok” was the day on which Koreans, an agrarian people throughout most of history, gave thanks to their ancestors for the year’s harvest, and shared their abundance with family and friends. Although the exact origin of Chuseok is unclear, many scholars believe Chuseok may have originated from ancient shamanistic celebrations of the harvest moon – full moons occurring in autumn-. The sun’s presence was considered routine, but the full moon that came once a month was considered a special and meaningful event. Therefore, harvest festivities took place on the day of the bright, full moon or August 15 on the lunar calendar system.

Traditionally on the eve of “Chuseok”, the entire family gathers together to make “songpyeon” (a type of tteok, consisting of small rice cakes). “Songpyeon” is one of the dishes traditionally eaten for “Chuseok”. This rice cake is prepared with rice powder that is kneaded into a size that is a little smaller than a golf ball, and then filled with sesame seed, beans, red beans, chestnuts, or other nutritious ingredients. When steaming the “songpyeon”, the rice cakes are layered with pine needles to add the delightful fragrance of pine.

“Songpyeon’s” rice skin itself resembles the shape of a full moon, but once it wraps the stuffing, its shape resembles the half-moon. Since the Three Kingdoms era in Korean history, there was a Korean legend saying that these two shapes ruled the destinies of the two greatest rival kingdoms. “Baekje” was known as full-moon and “Silla” was a half moon. Since “Silla” defeated “Baekje” in the war, Koreans started to refer to a half-moon shape as the indicator of the bright future or victory. Therefore, during “Chuseok”, eatting half-moon shaped “songpyeon” under the full-moon, is an omen of a bright future.

According to old Korean folk tales daughters who make beautifully-shaped “songpyeon” will meet a good husband or give birth to a beautiful baby.



Happy Chuseok from GwangjuBlog.Com!


Chuseok (추석) is one of Korea’s two biggest holidays celebrated and enjoyed by all Koreans along with Seollal (New Year’s Day: 설날).

Chuseok day falls on Monday, September 8th but the statutory Chuseok holiday begins one day before Chuseok day and ends one day after Chuseok.

This year’s Chuseok holiday period is extended to 5-day weekend from the conventional three day as the national government implemented this year’s first substitute holiday that is added on a working day if the holiday falls on a weekend.

The following includes traditional ritual and customs for Chuseok:

Ancestor Memorial Service (Charye: 차례)

  • Family members gather around on Chuseok morning to host memorial services for their ancestors. This traditional ritual takes place with well-presented food that includes newly harvested rice, fruits, alcohol and songpyeon, the special rice cake that is enjoyed during Chuseok.

Visiting Ancestral Graves (Seongmyo: 성묘)

  • Gathered family members for the holiday usually get up early to go visit ancestral graves to express their respect for the ancestors and thank bountiful harvest. During the visit, offspring and family members clear the weeds around the grave and this act is called Beolcho (벌초).

Making Songpyeon (송편만들기)

  • In the kitchen, families gather to make a traditional dish for Chuseok known as songpyeon, which is a ricecake filled with sesame seeds, red beans, chestnuts, and honey. On the eve of Chuseok, the entire family gathers to make songpyeong together.

Now, some events we can enjoy during the Chuseok holiday in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo:


Gwangju Folk Museum (광주시립민속박물관)

  • The Gwangju Folk Museum will host folk games and events from September 6th to 10th at its outdoor square area such as making songpyeon, folk play, traditional game experience of top-spinning, Korean shuttlecock game of Jegichagi, arrow-throwing and yutnori (윷놀이).
  • On September 9th, the day after Chuseok, visitors can take part in Korean traditional Ganggangwuwolae (강강수월래) performance, mask dance and handicraft events.
  • Operation Hours: 09:00-18:00 / Address: 48-25 Seoha-ro, Buk-gu, Gwangju (광주광역시 북구 서하로 48-25)

Gwangju National Museum (국립광주박물관)

  • The Gwangju National Museum will prepare a set of traditional folk games and traditional events as well as free movie-playing and magic show for family visitors in the region.
  • Operation Hours: 09:00-18:00 / Address: 110 Haseo-ro, Buk-gu, Gwangju (광주광역시 북구 하서로 110)

Gwangju Traditional Culture Center (광주 전통문화관)

  • The Gwangju Municipal Korean Music Troupe will host a special Jazz and Gukak Performance from September 6th for two days. The first Jazz and Gukak Fusion Concert will take place from 3 p.m. on September 6th featuring well-known pop songs including ‘My Way’, ‘What a Wonderful’ and ‘Hello Dolly’ with the Korean traditional instrument known as Daegeum, as well as a guitar, drum and saxophone.
  • On September 7th from 3 p.m., a Changeuk (창극) that refers to Korean traditional play and musical performance will be held showcasing series of pansori songs and Korean traditional folk tales of ‘Chungyang’. The concert will feature the sound of Korean traditional instrument of Gayageum, drum, or buk and pansori.
  • Address: 323 Woonrim-dong, Dong-gu, Gwangju (광주광역시 동구 운림동 323)


Naju National Museum (국립나주박물관)

  • The National Naju Museum will host a fusion music concert of Korean traditional gukak and western music on September 6th from 2 p.m. A female Korean Gukakg singing – dancing group ‘Miji’ composed of six members in charge of Gayageum, Piri, Taepyeongso, Haegeum and Daegum will perform on stage.
  • Traditional folk events such as top-spinning, arrow-throwing and making songpyeon along with animation films at the outdoor square area will be available from September 6th to the 10th.
  • Operation Hours: 09:00-18:00 Address: Banam-myeon, Naju (나주시 반남면 고분로 74)

Jindo National Gukak Center (남도국악원)

  • The Jindo National Gukak Center will host a special celebratory concert on Chuseok day on September 8th. A total of six different types of gukak performances will be showcased on Chuseok day, including singing along with Gayageum, Samulnori, a dance performance with percussion music featuring Korean traditional drum, or Buk and sogo.
  • The Ganggang Suwolae activity that has been enjoyed among Koreans since Joseon dynasty where dancers join in hands to dance in circle will also be held during Chuseok holiday.
  • Address: 3818 Jindodae-ro, Imhoe-myeon, Jindo-gun (진도군 임회면 진도대로 3818)

A daily average of 4.05 million cars are expected to hit the roads during the holiday with more than 5 million cars out on the roads on Chuseok day on September 8th.

Nationwide highways are going to be the most crowded on Chuseok day on September 8th and highly congested expressways will continue throughout the holiday.

Make sure you check real-time traffic information and accident reports on

Have a great Chuseok holiday, everyone!

Closed Sundays: September 2014

Once again, Gwangju Blog is here to help with reminding our readers of just when the big stores will be closed this month. Be sure to plan your shopping trips around these dates if you don’t want to be disappointed.

Emart, Home Plus, Lotte Mart, and Costco (Daejeon) will be closed on 9/14 and 9/29.