Though I may be passionate about food, I often feel like as someone who doesn’t partake in much alcohol, I can’t actually call myself a foodie. With the number of bars that offer fantastic food in the city, I’m often left wondering about the world of delicious drunk food I’m missing out on. Being the curious person that I am, every so often, I’ll force myself out of that comfort zone and make it a point to check out such places with hopes that the food will be good. Luckily, that’s how things usually seem to go.
I was invited to check out 동명동 소주집 by an acquaintance who had nothing but positive things to say about the place after having spent a significant amount of time there. It should be noted at this point that this is technically a sponsored review, as my food was paid for (against me requesting otherwise). That being said, all of my praises and critiques are ones I stand by, and the following is no different.
I arrived on a slightly rainy Sunday with a friend of mine. I was told that it would be better to come at this time, as the place is known to get fairly packed during typical drinking times. Though it took a bit of walking, the place was surprisingly easy to find, especially when considering how much the warm glow coming from inside and old fashioned wooden decor made the place stand out.
As we entered, it was evident that there weren’t a whole lot of seats available. Luckily, we were able to snag a table before the place was mostly full. Once we got comfortable, we received an adorable, handwritten menu that was entirely in Korean with no pictures. There were a handful of food options that apparently all went well with alcohol. Some of the common choices included 해물파전 (haemul pajeon), which is the classic seafood pancake, 돼지 김치 찌개 (dwaeji kimchi chigae), pork kimchi stew, and 육회 (yukhoe), seasoned raw beef. Since we had no idea what to get, we took recommendations until we settled on the 쥐글쥐글 닭똥집 (jwigeuljwigeul dalgttongjib) and the 존슨탕 (jonseuntang). We also got some drinks, though due to me not being much of a drinker, I ended up focusing mostly on a bottle of ramune, which is a Japanese soda that’s famous for having a glass marble in the bottle.
While waiting for our food, I made a bit of a mess while breaking into my bottle of liquid sugar. As the waitstaff kindly hooked me up with a roll of toilet paper to wipe up my mess, we were given an appetizer serving of raw sweet potatoes and a sweet chili sauce to snack on. The starchy snack was a little strange, but not as sweet as I feared it would be.
Before long, we received our 쥐글쥐글 닭똥집, which arrived piping hot and wrapped in foil. I wasn’t told exactly what I was eating until after I took a bite of chewy and deliciously marinated meat that had been cooked with whole cloves of garlic. Though I was eventually informed that I was eating chicken anuses, I actually didn’t mind. The chewiness was actually kind of fun. The dish came with both mayonnaise and a combination of sesame oil to use as dipping sauces, which added some nice flavors to an already interesting dish. We also put our leftover slices of sweet potato into the simmering marinade while it was still hot so that they could soak up some of that goodness while cooking a bit at the same time. I may have had a little too much garlic at this point, as those slightly charred cloves were favorite aspect of this dish.
Our favorite part of the evening came in the form of 존슨탕, which is a spicy stew filled with luncheon meat, sausages, vegetables, and slices of processed cheese. It came in a cheap pot and a burner to heat everything up, sending me back to the days when I used to go camping in the country with my grandfather. Now, the broth alone was quite tasty, but once the cheese melted and got mixed in with everything else, there was a rich and creamy aspect of the dish that my friend and I found rather addictive. As a sucker for all things Spam, the luncheon meat was my favorite part, especially after it had soaked up so much of that broth. The hot soup went beautifully with the few sips of beer I had. If we weren’t so full, I definitely would have gone with the option of having ramen noodles added to the already delicious stew.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to 동명동 소주집 quite a bit. Though I’m not much of a drinker, the food was more than enough to keep me satisfied. The general vibe of the place was both welcoming and comfortable. Due to the limited seating space, I wouldn’t recommend this place for large parties of any sort. That being said, if you’re looking for a spot to hang out with some friends over drinks and good food, then this spot is definitely worth checking out.
Address: 광주광역시 동구 동명동 235-7 (near Chonnam Girls High School)
Hours: 6:00PM to 4:00PM
Average Price Range: 14,000 to 20,000 per dish