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Seogwipo oyster restaurant favored by localsThe Jeju Weekly reviews the delights of Namhaegulbap restaurant
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승인 2011.08.27  20:11:20
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▲ Kongguksu in a bowl made of ice. Photo by Kimberly Comeau

Namhaegulbap is a small restaurant located in a quiet neighborhood in Donghong-dong, Seogwipo City. Its name means southern sea oyster and rice, and it is tucked away off the well-worn tourist track. The owner, Kim Do Hyeong, commented that he does not promote his restaurant, which allows Seogwipo locals a chance to enjoy his food without the intrusion of tourists. Namhaegulbap though, does have excellent fare, making his restaurant very popular.

Not only is it the only restaurant that serves a variety of oyster dishes but it is the only restaurant that serves Kim’s cold noodle soups in ice bowls in Seogwipo.

That’s right, the kongguksu and mulnaengmyeon that I ordered came in bowls made of ice. It kept the noodle soups icy cold, and opposed to many restaurants that serve this dish only with ice cubes, the bowls didn’t melt into the soup diluting the flavor.

Kongguksu is a traditional Korean dish that is very popular in the summer. The broth consists of ground soybeans (soymilk) and cucumbers that are thinly sliced and placed on top of a mound of wheat noodles with half a boiled egg.

The kongguksu served at Namhaegulbap was special: made with black soybeans and ssuk (a herb) or mugwort noodles sprinkled with just enough misutgaru (roasted bean powder) to give it a sweet flavor.

The mulnaengmyeon is another popular traditional food that is eaten during the hot summers of Korea. It is served in a chilled broth and garnished with a variety of toppings like radish kimchi and pickled cucumber.

Again, this restaurant serves this dish a little differently than most places. For example, the toppings are made from a variety of young sprouts, cucumber, and fresh radish and the noodles are made with green tea powder.

Kim opened his family-run and owned restaurant eight years ago. When he began the only dishes he served were oysters with rice and octopus, oyster pancakes, and bibimbap (a mixed rice dish). He became an oyster expert during his time as an oyster salesman before he opened the restaurant.

He explains that the oysters are at their highest quality in the winter, which is also when his oyster dishes are most popular. But, about five years ago business was beginning to slow during the summer, so he decided to incorporate the cold noodle soup dishes. He got the idea of the iced bowls when he went on a trip to Incheon where he saw this unique idea.

He decided to invest in a very expensive machine that made these ice bowls. They made a great impression on the customers, with some of the older customers saying they were so glad they were able to see this invention before they died. Some children that come in with their families wear the iced bowl on their heads like a hat once the meal is complete.

Kim’s comment that he prepares each meal for his customers as if he is making it for his own family, shows the care taken to ensure the food served at Namhaegulbap is of a high quality.

All ingredients except for the oysters — which come from Mokpo on mainland Korea — are from Jeju Island.

(Interpretation by Kim Jung Lim)

Donghongjungang-ro, Seogwipo City
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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