One of the great things about Korean street food are pochangmachas. Literally translated as “covered wagons,” these self contained tents are like mini outdoor restaurants, and are fantastic places to start or end a night of eating and drinking.
A good place to check out one of these is a street off Jongno near Jongno 3-ga Station. Here, dozens of pochangmachas line each side of the street, selling such delacies as octopus, skewered chicken hearts and shellfish – all served with plenty of sojo and beer of course!
One such tent is run by Kyung-Sup Lim, a friendly young chef who preps, cooks and serves everything in his tent single-handedly. The whole operation is a lesson in efficency and good service, and his food is absolutely fantastic.
I started with a complimentary bowl of odeng (Korean fish cake) in a broth with chili flakes and little squares of dried seaweed. The broth was lovely and warming, and the odeng nice and salty.
Later I ordered some octopus (10,000 won) For this I got a whole baby octopus, freshly killed then boiled and mixed with sliced chilli, onions, and some sort of light, sesame oil dressing.
The octopus was cooked gently (it was semi-translucent in places) and tasted great with the accompanying bowl of watery, tart chilli sauce.
I’ll definitely return to this pochangmacha. The menu has much more to discover (I saw Kyung-Sup Lim frying up a batch of pork and chilli sauce that looked particularly inviting) and the tent had a really happy, friendly atmosphere.
Directions: Come out exit 15 of Jongno 3-ga and take the first left (hint: it’s the street with all the pochangmachas!) Kyung-Sup Lim occupies one of the last tents on the right side of the street.