Gukbap (국밥 – rice soup) may have originated as a specialty in Busan, but this hearty cuisine has transcended regional boundaries and can be savored throughout Korea, including unexpected places like Daegwallyeong—a township in the northeastern region that hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. Daegwallyeong happens to be my go-to destination for a winter retreat, and during one visit, we serendipitously stumbled upon Kim Yeongi Gukbap, a restaurant that we later discovered is highly recommended as a Matjib (맛집 – translated to a tasty house in Korean) for those exploring Daegwallyeong. In this post, let me take you down memory lane and share the delightful experiences we had at Kim Yeongi Gukbap, offering you a glimpse into the dining pleasures awaiting you there. So, relax, and perhaps grab some snacks, as I take you on a journey that might just leave you drooling!
About Kim Yeongi Gukbap:
Situated within a modest enclave at a gas station in downtown Daegwallyeong, Kim Yeongi Gukbap (김영이국밥) offers a cozy respite just a 10-minute drive from the renowned ski destinations of Yongpyong and Alpensia Ski Resort. For those arriving by car, ample parking space is conveniently available right in front of the establishment. The building houses several eateries, and Kim Yeongi Gukbap is easily identified on the far west, distinguished by a distinctive logo featuring a kindly, bespectacled lady donning an apron, accompanied by a name tag bearing the inscription ‘김영이’ placed adjacent to the restaurant’s sign.
Inviting and Homely Ambiance:
Step into Kim Yeongi Gukbap, and you’ll discover a generously spaced seating area that radiates a warm and homely atmosphere, staying true to the restaurant’s promise of delivering flavors and vibes reminiscent of a grandmother’s home-cooked meals.
Notably, Kim Yeongi Gukbap has become a recognizable dining spot, attracting numerous famous celebrities who have swung by to savor its hearty dishes. The walls proudly showcase their warm messages and autographs as a testament to their positive dining experience.
A key factor contributing to Kim Yeongi Gukbap’s acclaim lies in their commitment to using carefully selected, first-picked ingredients and exceptionally fresh materials, underscoring their identity as a farmer’s cooperative. Within the seating area, you’ll even find a display of agricultural products available for purchase, adding a unique touch to the overall dining experience.
What’s on the Menu:
While Korea boasts a diverse array of rice soups, the prevalent choice often centers around pork, known as Dwaeji Gukbap. However, at Kim Yeongi Gukbap, you won’t encounter the typical pork-based rice soup. Instead, the restaurant specializes in two distinctive offerings: beef and dried pollack. While beef gukbap is not an anomaly and can still be found in Seoul, the dried pollack variant is a rare gem. To provide you with a comprehensive overview of Kim Yeongi Gukbap’s menu, here’s a succinct breakdown of the available items and their respective prices per serving:
- Beef Gukbap (한우국밥): 12,000 KRW
- Beef Brisket Gukbap (차돌얼큰이국밥): 12,000 KRW
- Beef Rice Cake Soup (한우떡국): 12,000 KRW
- Dried Pollack Gukbap (황태국밥): 12,000 KRW
- Dried Pollack Seaweed Soup (황태미역국): 12,000 KRW
- Pollack Roe Soft Tofu Soup (명란 순두부): 13,000 KRW
- Grilled Pollack (황태구이): 15,000 KRW
- Cabbage Pancake (배추전): 10,000 KRW
- Water Celery Pancake (미나리전): 10,000 KRW
Upon the friendly recommendation of the hostess, we opted for the acclaimed beef rice soup, a serving of pollack roe soft tofu soup—a novel twist on the traditional Korean tofu soup, and a delightful Korean-style cabbage pancake for communal enjoyment.
The hostess’s praise for the beef gukbap was well-founded. The broth was a standout, boasting richness and aromatic depth. However, the quantity of beef morsels left something to be desired, falling slightly short of our expectations.
The pollack roe tofu soup, on the other hand, exceeded expectations and became an instant favorite. A creative take on Sundubu-jjigae, this rendition substitutes clams and eggs with an abundant serving of pollack roe. With a vibrant reddish broth derived from red chili paste, the dish delivered a harmonious blend of savoriness, spiciness, and sweetness. The interplay of textures—soft tofu and the burst of roe—made every bite a pleasure, especially satisfying for warming up on a cold day.
Surprisingly, the unsung hero of the meal turned out to be the cabbage pancake. Fresh and crisp, the cabbage imparted a delightful sweetness, complemented by a well-balanced batter that was neither too thick nor overpowering. It emerged as the star, elevating the overall dining experience.
Early-Bird Appeal: Kim Yeongi Gukbap opens its doors at 6 a.m., making it a highly recommended spot for breakfast in Daegwallyeong, as attested by numerous online reviews.
Unique Offering: Amidst the array of gukbap establishments in the downtown area, Kim Yeongi Gukbap stands out as the sole restaurant featuring dried pollack on its menu. If you have a hankering for fish rice soup in Daegwallyeong, this is the go-to destination!
Individual Ordering Policy: Following a common practice in Korean eateries, Kim Yeongi Gukbap adheres to the one-serving-per-person rule. It’s essential to note that ordering a single bowl of gukbap for a party of two is uncommon. Items like the Korean pancake or grilled fish are considered appetizers or side dishes rather than full meal servings.
Proximity to Attractions: Conveniently located, Kim Yeongi Gukbap provides easy access to various attractions in Daegwallyeong. Situated less than a 10-minute drive from Alpensia, Yongpyong, and the scenic Anifore recreational forest, it is also a short 7-minute journey from the iconic Daegwallyeong Sheep Ranch.
Quick Info About Kim Yeongi Gukbap:
Address: 강원 평창군 대관령면 경강로 5193
Naver Map: Link
Hours: 6:00AM~3:00PM (Everyday), 2:30PM last order
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