Bonjuk (Insadong) – Seoul

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Bonjuk is a chain restaurant that mainly sells Juk, which is a Korean rice porridge. Rice porridge used to only be eaten when you’re sick or if you’re a child due to its easy digestibility, but today, it is a dish that’s part of casual dining. We went to the one closest to our apartment, which was on the main tourist street of Insadong.

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Seafood Combination Porridge

The juk at Bonjuk come in sets. You choose your porridge, and it comes with a few side dishes and a small drink. On the very left was kimchi. Next, shreds of marinated beef which was super delicious! We added this to our porridge. The flavour of the beef is super addicting! Next to that is a bit of chili paste which you can add to your porridge to bring some spice to it. In front of that is a cold bowl of sweet and sour water with radish in it. The tea is also really good! It’s cold and sweet. I can’t really describe the flavour, but it reminded me of plum juice at Chinese hot pots. For myself, I chose the Seafood Combination Porridge. All porridge come topped with ground sesame and seaweed. I had shrimp, oysters, octopus in my porridge. Extremely delicious and they don’t skimp on the ingredients! The bowl is also huge, so we later realized we could’ve probably shared one between the two of us.

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Bulgogi Octopus Porridge

K got the Bulgogi Octopus Porridge. It looks quite similar to mine, except it has more of that bulgogi marinade flavour to it. She was extremely disappointed with the octopus though. It was way to tough and chewy! Probably not very easy to digest even after chewing. She ended up leaving most of the octopus in her bowl.

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Crab Meat Porridge

C got the Crab Meat Porridge, which again, looked just like the others. However, you’ll find imitation crab meat in the porridge.

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Octopus Kimchi Porridge

T got the Octopus Kimchi Porridge, which was the only one that looked slightly different. It came in a orange coloured broth. This is basically the spicy version of what K got. Again, her octopus were not tender and ended up being too chewy to eat. She loved the spice of the porridge though!

Overall, Bonjuk is a great place to try Korean rice porridge. It may not be the best, but the quality is always decent. And most of the menu items are under 10,000 won unless you choose the fancy ones that include abalone. Most of us couldn’t finish our whole bowl too. You can take out the rest and they provide you with microwavable containers. Definitely a very good deal, and service was quite good. Comfortable seats too!

Address: 155-9, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Myeongdong Yongyang Juk Yongyang Gyoza 明洞榮養粥、榮養餃子 – Seoul

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Our friend had a Seoul tour guide book she bought in Hong Kong, so we decided to put it to use and find a good restaurant. Off we went to Myeongdong Yongyang Juk Yongyang Gyoza, which is famous for their porridge and gyozas! It was only half empty when we first arrived, but it soon became packed with office people closer to lunch time. They speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese here, so if you know some, it’s pretty easy to communicate.

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Vegetable Gyozas

First, we shared their famous Vegetable Gyozas. One order gives you 8 of these plump dumplings. They are just steamed, so there’s no crispy texture that you may find when they are pan-fried. The wrappers were thin to medium and filled with mainly chives and other green veggies. The chives definitely made the dumplings very flavourful. You dip these into a gyoza sauce that has a little bit of acidity. Very good!

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Abalone Porridge

Next up, K and I shared their also very famous Abalone Porridge. In Korea, they call it “juk.” Whereas porridge we have in Canada is usually oatmeal, Korean porridge is usually cooked rice. This is very similar to Chinese porridge as well. Here, they also top it off with roasted ground seaweed and roasted sesame seeds. I should have probably put my spoon in to show the abalone as well. You actually get quite a few abalones in here! However, I found the abalone to be too tough and hard to chew. Would’ve liked it to be slightly softer. The porridge was very flavourful with a seafood taste to it. It also came with a side of roasted seaweed and seaweed salad. A little pricey, but definitely recommend trying an abalone porridge in Seoul!

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Seafood and Green Onion Pancake

Since we shared the porridge, K and I also added the Seafood and Green Onion Pancake. Again, this was just average, with the ones in Richmond, like Haroo being much better. This one had squid and shrimp, and they didn’t cheap out on the seafood. I found it funny that they don’t really cut up their green onions, but rather lay them diagonally so it completely fills the pancake. The pancake wasn’t as crispy as I would’ve liked it.

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Ginseng Chicken Soup

The other girls each got the Ginseng Chicken Soup. Ginseng is a super popular ingredient to use in Korean cooking, and they are famous for their Ginseng soups. The chicken is a whole chicken and was filled with rice. You should pull the rice out so that the rice is in the broth. Koreans love to eat rice in soup. Yummy!

Overall, I was very satisfied with the food here. A great place to try Korean gyozas and porridge. Average prices and you will get full! They also come with complimentary side dishes like kimchi, which you can serve yourself.

Address: 199-58 Euljiro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea