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By Way of Korea

South Korea   |   New York

A Korean food blog and travelogue inspired by

an epicurious New Yorker's journey around South Korea


One of Seoul's "Best 3" Kimchi Jjigaes is Eaten as Ssam (Euljiro, Seoul)

When friends planning a trip to Korea ask me for restaurant recommendations, I offer a handful of suggestions after factoring in where they’re staying and what they like or dislike. Eunjujeong, a restaurant that I include in my list of suggestions regardless of such factors, might be the one that is most often looked over. Perhaps it’s because its specialty, kimchi jjigae, isn’t something difficult to come by in the States.

But Eunjujeong’s kimchi jjigae is esteemed as one of the best three in Seoul. And during lunch service, it is offered as a ssam meal. A large, black pot of kimchi jjigae loaded with thick slices of pork belly begins to simmer at your table. While waiting for its contents to finish cooking, familiarize yourself with your surroundings. A wide panel above the window to the kitchen identifies the impressive variety of greens provided to you in a basket. Note the vending machine near the entrance that dispenses soft drinks, ramyun, and udon noodles. Once the stew reaches a fast boil, and the pork is fully cooked, you can start assembling your ssam – load your leaves with the juicy pork belly and kimchi from the pot, a spoonful of rice, and a little dwenjang. Either of your choice of noodles from the vending machine is a great way to finish off the soup which has the delicious tang of well-aged kimchi.

When eating out for Korean food, kimchi jjigae seems to be more of an afterthought or complement to the main dish. But Eunjujeong's kimchi jjigae is a standalone meal that has often called me back through the alleyways of Euljiro on many afternoons across all four seasons.

“한번도 안 먹어본 사람은 있어도 한번만 먹어본사람은 없다.”

“There are people who might not have had it before, but there is no one who has only had it once.”

1 comment

1 Comment
May 23, 2019

I will definitely try this restaurant next time I am in Seoul. One of my all-time favourite Korean dishes I can not go for one week without eating at least once. Thanks for the tip!

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"If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them - wherever you go."

Anthony Bourdain's unmatched relish for adventure and humble approach to food, cultures, and humanity left an indelible impression on my younger self. Imparting on me the courage to veer into the unknown, he inspired me to embrace my vulnerabilities and seek adventures and growth beyond the comforts of home.


In July of 2017, I boarded a one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. Within the first week of arrival, I signed a lease for an apartment and by the end of August, I had accepted a job offer that relocated me to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where the Winter Olympics were soon to be held. From there, I had the rare opportunity to explore much of the greater Gangwon Province's beautiful mountainous and coastal regions and their distinctive foods. Once or twice a month, I'd return to Seoul or travel to an unfamiliar region to poke around alleyways, markets, and mountains in search of more good eats and adventures.


By Way of Korea is a storytelling project inspired by the food, places, and faces I encountered throughout Korea. By sharing my fondest memories, notes, and images of Korea, I simply hope to play a small part in piquing greater curiosity about Korean food and culture in my readers.  My content will heavily spotlight, but not be limited to Korean food and culture. 

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