[Migyulin Guide] #7. Gieok I am House
Korean vocabulary of the day
Gyul (n): Korean word for tangerine, a delicacy of Jeju.
There is a restart as honest as its name in Seogwipo, Gieoknaneun Jib, which translates to A Place To Remember. Due to the wonderful invention of Google Translate, its automated English name is Gieok I Am House. Thank you, Larry Page! For making us feel like we are living in the future. At Gieok I am House, only Galchi Jorim, Braised Hairtail and Haemultang, or Spicy Seafood Stew is offered. What a wonderful choice of options for those suffering from decision fatigue. We ordered Haemultang for four people, which came out to 60,000 won. So let us dig deep into this main dish of this restaurant. Shall we?
To help better understand the following text, please note we had four people in our group. We had two of your ordinary eaters, one picky eater and one hearty eater. The picky one loves to drink.
Shortly after we ordered, a gigantic pot of Haemultang will take you by surprise. It is topped with vegetables like bean sprouts, spring onions and radishes and various seafood like clams, crabs, or red-banded lobsters. And to put the cherry on top, you get some abalones and an octopus which will blow anyone's mind.
Picky Eater: Well, I don't really enjoy eating seafood but it looks pretty appetizing. Isn't there Obunjagi that's close to abalones?
Hearty Eater: No, I saw it from Wednesday Food Talk that Obunjagi usually has holes on its flat shells whereas abalones have them on uneven ones.
Ordinary Eater 1: Most of the abalones today are farmed. Apparently the flavor of abalones depends on the types of seaweed the abalones eat. So it can often taste bitter if it's wildly caught abalones.
Ordinary Eater 2: I'm a Jeju resident and I'm still not a fan of seafood but Haemultang here just has something that brings me back here.
Haemultang begins to boil and the server tells recommends you eat the abalones first. But we recommend you to let it boil just a bit longer.
All: Hmm. The abalones needs a little more time. Too tough.
Everybody stirs away bean sprouts here and there to ease the awkwardness that is breathing in the air.
After eating abalones and now cooked vegetables, the moisture from seafood begins to makes some sweet and subtle broth. It is a must-try at this point.
Picky Eater: Should we get a bottle of something? This broth just calls for some Soju.
Hearty Eater What do you mean it calls for some Soju? I can't tell, because I'm not a drinker.
Ordinary Eater 2: I can't. I'm the designated driver.
Picky Eater: Salty food and any soup that goes with rice always call for Soju. I usually don't enjoy drinking it with Oden Soup you get at bars but I just need to have some with soups like these.
Ordinary Eater 1: It feels like you're recovering from a hangover while you're drinking. You know how you can't drink Soju with fried chicken because it's too oily to pair it with spirits? It is the same if you pair this soup with beer. It's like it's missing something, especially when places like this only have plain largers like Cass.
Picky Eater: Totally. The soup feels like it's the best cure for hangovers. (Sniffs the soup) A little too much “seafood” for me, though.
Hearty Eater: Mmm... It's nice. I can definitely feel the sweetness from it.
Ordinary Eater 1: Yea, what is it? I don't think it's from MSG.
Ordinary Eater 2: Maybe radishes? These radishes are very sweet.
Hearty Eater: You're right. These radishes are sweet. That's strange. Maybe the radish from Jeju is just sweeter? Not really my style, though.
Ordinary Eater 2: Aren't radishes normally sweet? (Ordinary Eater 2 is a Jeju native) Anyways, I'm usually not a huge fan of Haemultang but the broth here has that sweetness I like about it.
As we were enjoying spicy and sweet seafood broth, the server came to peel the lobsters for us.
Picky Eater: Oh, right. This is my first time trying this.
Ordinary Eater 2: Are these available only in Jeju?
Hearty Eater: probably not but it isn't easy to see these in Seoul.
Ordinary Eater: It is like a hybrid between a lobster and a shrimp. The texture is definitely denser than other shrimp.
As lobsters begin to disappear from the soup, the server comes with an instant ramen. Ordering one should be enough.
Picky Eater: It's a bang for your buck. Go eat here. It'll be quite expensive to eat like this in Seoul.
Ordinary Eater 1: If you run a cost-benefit analysis, it won't be a good idea to come here for 2 people (It's 40,000 won for two).
Ordinary Eater 2: And it gets down to 5,000 per person for 4 people. That's not too bad.
Hearty Eater: It doesn't have raw fish so it definitely has less of that fishy flavor.
Picky Eater: Yeah. I normally don't have any soup with fish or shellfish but this one isn't too bad.
With ramen noodles in, the soup transforms into something completely different. This new flavor of the soup is what surprised us the most and the nightlight of the restaurant.
Picky Eater: I thought Haemultang was fine, not bad but not world changing. But with noodles in, the soup and the noodles are just the right style for me. I personally think every food should have ramen noodles in.
Hearty Eater: The oil from the fried instant noodle is getting mixed with the soup. It is beginning to taste much like the instant ramen that we know.
Ordinary Eater 1: I think the soup is thickening too. This makes it tastes like seafood instant ramen, too.
Ordinary Eater 2: You're right, seafood instant ramen. I would always come to eat Haemultang with noodles in than to eat seafood ramen for 8,000 won.
As we finished all the noodles, we left with some following remarks.
Picky Eater: A place you have to finish Haemultang for the best ramen.
Hearty Eater: The broth with radishes and other vegetables are quite nice. The ramen noodles may be somewhat average but their highlight.
Ordinary Eater 1: A place to remember if you're in the mood for some Haemultang with abalones near Seogwipo.
Ordinary Eater 2: A place that brings Haemultang haters to try the sweet seafood broth.
What everybody found to be the best part of this culinary adventure was the ramen noodles (hmm...). The broth made with the vegetables like radish, onion and assorted shellfish is a perfect combo for your bowl of rice and top that off with ramen noodles, you'll wonder where your Soju had gone. This place will be a safe choice for Haemultang in Jeju. Although we never had to wait in line to get in, but there are online reviews that says you'd have to wait, which still wouldn't be too long anyways.