[Migyulin Guide] #8. Honcharong Sikgaejib
Korean vocabulary of the day
Gyul (n): Korean word for tangerine, a delicacy of Jeju.
The Jeju Traditional Jesa Food to Enjoy with a Glass of Jeju Makgeoli
One of the most important traditions of Korea is a Jesa ceremony, or ancestral rites prepared by each households, held on the anniversary of ancestor's death. They are host regardless of the religion of the household and usually prepared with traditional side dishes to honor the ancestor.
Depending on the region, prepared dishes can vary. For Jeju, it's delicacies like black pork, Gosari, or Korean Fernbrake and Okdom, or Korean snapper are some of Jeju delicacy and frequent as the local Jesa food. On today's episode of Migyulin Guide, we will introduce Honcharong Sikgaejib, a restaurant for you to explore the authentic Jesa food prepared only with the local delicacies.
"Hon" means one in Jeju dialect, "charong" is a bamboo basket, "sikgae" is a Jesa ceremony and "jib" is a house in Korean. So the name of the restaurant, Honcharong Sikgaejib literally means a house that serves Jesa food on a single bamboo basket.
If you're wondering what to order here, for two people, try Meat Sanjeok, or meat on stick, Bingddeok or buckwheat crepe and Grilled Okdom. And the main meal, rice and side dishes like poached and seasoned spinach, bean sprouts, Gosari, kimchi. The main meal will come with one of these 4 soups: 1. Kongguk, a Jeju-style soybean soup made with grounded soybean, 2. Momguk, an iconic Jeju soup made with pork and Sargassum, a macroalgae, 3. Muguk, a thinly sliced radish soup, and 4. Hobaknibguk, a soup with pumpkin leaves.
You will be glad to see the Grilled Okdom, Meat Sanjeok and Bingddeok get served on a Honcharong, or as we have learned, one bamboo basket. Bingddeok is sliced steamed radish wrapped in thin buckwheat crepe with minimal seasoning which will remind you of Vietnamese Banh Xeo. It has long lived with Jeju resident that had struggled to make ends meet on tough farming environment. Enjoy a piece of Bingddeok with salted piece of Okdom. This will maximize the flavor and the texture of each dish.
Meat Sanjeok is prepared with chunky pork belly here which isn't common. Maybe this is because Jeju was known for pork and the customers would expect it? But the perfect combination of fat and meat calls for a glass of Makgeoli. The soups of the day will help some of the dry dishes go easily. But the best partner for these dry dishes are Jeju Makgeoli! A bottle of Jeju Makgeoli and a Honcharong will make you feel invincible.
One more quick tip, Gosari here is far from the Gosari our get on the mainland.
This wild Gosari had previously been called as Gwilchae and had been offered to the King throughout the history for their outstanding texture, flavor and fragrance. The thick layers of wetland of Oreums, Gotjawal and the springtime of Jeju make an excellent environment for this extraordinary Gosari. A kilo or half a pound of this young Gosari can easily go up to 100,000 won.
Try to make a wonderful Bibimbab by ordering yourself a bowl of rice and mix it with all the side dishes, poached spinach and bean sprouts.
Each menu at Honcharong Sikgaejib pairs perfectly with Jeju Makgeoli and Hallasan Soju, if you want to want to make your meal extra authentic with a bit of Jesa flare.
How about immersing into the full-on Jeju tradition by visiting Honcharong Sikgaejib where you can have the most traditional local food with Jeju spirits today?