Korean Food : Chicken Dish : Chuncheon Dak galbi.
After the last class of the day,
Around 6 o'clock after the last class of the day ended, my class mates and I went out to have dinner near the university. We prowled about looking for delicious food within limited areas around school. We often get dragged by sweet and mouth-watering smell from somewhere. Later, we found us sitting on stalls feeling full out of what we ate. After school, we were happy with that food.
what is That, Mr. Wiki?
Dak galbi, also romanized dalk galbi, is a popular South Korean dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate. It is a local specialty food for the city of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, where dak galbi originates. Because of its origin, the dish is also called Chuncheon dak galbi.
Yes, it was Dakgalbi.
We, university students, love it
because of three reasons.
First of all, Dakgalbi solves two issues; tastes and nutrition. it contains much protein. Especially, chicken, white meat is well-known for less fat and high protein contains. Almost every youngster including on-a-diet girls indulged to chicken. They believe chicken will help build their muscles, not fatten their belly.
Good medicine is bitter to mouth. However, it doesn’t seem to apply this time. Dakgalbi is yummy enough to be a big fan of it. Pepper paste based sweet sauce just covers diced chicken and vegies. Cabbages and onion soaked in sauce will vary the taste of dish. Sesame leaves add its distinctive flavors on it. You cannot omit rice-cake and sweet potatoes as adding. Rice-cake offsets the spicy taste and gives chewy texture. Sweet potatoes are only sweet ingredient in the dish, and it takes a role of delights out of spicy kingdom. No ingredients should be missed. All the elements work harmonically and create heavenly sweet spicy plate.
Yes, Dakgalbi pleases nutritional needs as well as tastes buds.
Secondly, it needs low budget. Students should spend within their allowance. Some of them are rich enough not to worry but most students must consider their limit. How much does Dakgalbi cost? It costs around 8,000 won per portion. (You must order at least 2 portion to get served. The owner will not take it if you order one. Because too small amount cooked doesn’t taste good.)
You might think it is not that cheap compared to other ordinary dishes such as Kimchijjigae(김치찌개) or fried rice(Bokkeumbab, 볶음밥), that cost about 5000 won per portion. That is true, but you didn’t consider the feature of this food.
Dakgalbi is used not only as the main dish for a meal, but also as side dish for drink. You can see many tables with soju(소주) or beer(Maekju, 맥주) in Dakgalbi restaurant. Owing to sweet, salty, and spicy taste, it is a perfect dish for drinking. In other words, you can eat and drink at the same table at one time. It will let you save another round and spend less money in the end. Let’s suppose that you have Kimchijjigae as a meal and move to another place to drink. I will cost you more.
The history of Dak galbi
The history of Dakgalbi date back from 1950. Around that time, pork rib was famous in Chuncheon. Suddenly, because of frequent pig crisis, the supply of pork became unstable. The pork restaurant owners started to use chicken inplace of pork, since chicken rather easily get obtained from nearby poultry farms.
Around 1970, numerous kinds of restaurants transformed into Dakgalbi restaurants. They fried Chicken on a particular large round flat pan called ‘Bull-pan’ (불판) in Korean, and made by Hupyeong pan-factory. They began to make Dakgalbi weigh more by adding extra vegies. The first Dakgalbi looked different from the present one. Chicken was skewered and fried by lumps because the chef was not skillful enough to slice the meat. Dakgalbi restaurant was full of day laborers having rests with drinking and eating.
Around from 1975, university and college student began to hold school-parties at Dakgalbi restaurant. They are facsanated by great taste and cheap price. Chuncheon contains army corps as well as numerable universities. Soldiers enjoyed as much Dakgalbi as students did. As a result, it is often called as ordinary-people-galbi(seomingalbi,서민갈비), university-student-galbi(daehaksaenggalbi, 대학생갈비) or soldiergalbi(guningalbi, 군인갈비).
Around 1992, people add rice-cake to Dakgalbi. A High-tempered person could not wait until the meat was well done. They need to fulfill their appetite while waiting. Sweet potatoes was put for two purposes. The first is to sweeten the dish and the second is to judge whether the meat is cooked or not. If sweet-potatoes soften and tender, the meat is also ready to eat. (Although one variation, Dakgalbi without bones, does not follow this rule, meaning meat sometimes cooked quicker.)
In 80’s, Dakgalbi became well-known national-wide through the media. It expanded its boundary from Chuncheon to throughout the nation. In 90, in Dakgalbi alley, there are 20~30 Dakgalbi specialized restaurants.
Later on 2000, southern east Asian tourist travelled to chuncheon thanks to Korean drama influence. Due to Kyungchun line that connect Chuncheon from Seoul by subway, it gets more popular in flow of Seoul citizen and foreign tourists.
How to Get to Dakgalbi Alley
To get to Chuncheon station.
You must go Sangbong station fist to take Gyeongchun Line.
At Sangbong station,
you take the subway that comes every 20 minutes.
It costs you 2,500 won (using metro-card).
It takes 1hour 5minutes to 1hour 20 minutes to get there.
To get to Dakgalbi Alley (Dakgalbi golmok, 닭갈비 골목)
First, you can walk there for 20 minutes from the station.
Otherwise, you can take a taxi on the opposite side of the station.
You just ask a taxi driver to get to Myung-dong, Dakgalbi golmok(명동, 닭갈비 골목)
There are so many visitors coming here, so it doesn't matter how well you prounce it.
It costs you only the regular fare maybe about 2,500 won.
When you see that pillar(the picture above), you can surely get off.
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