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[Gourmet spot] `Myongrang` famous for `yuggaejang`

Posted December. 15, 2000 19:37,   


About 24 years ago, I often went without food while serving as a medical officer. When I had time to eat, there was an "ajumma" or middle-aged woman who ran a restaurant at the site of a former bus terminal.

Whenever I knocked on the door after it was closed, she came out to ask if I had eaten yet and gave me a bowl of yuggaejang (hot shredded beef soup with rice.) She was just like my mother. After being discharged from the service, I always thought of her yuggaejang when I was suffering from a hangover in the morning. I used to drop in again when I was on business in Taejon.

The restaurant is called Myongrang (Brightness) (+82-42-623-5031) and is located behind Samsong Elementary School in Samsong-dong, Tong-gu, Taejon. Myongrang has specialized in yuggaejang and pajon, a sort of pizza made of green onion, seafood and flour, for over 25 years.

Yuggaejang is one of the most popular dishes in Korea. It is a very spicy soup made of boiled brisket of beef and hot peppers. According to historic records, ordinary citizens in the late Choson Kingdom (1392-1910) enjoyed "gaejangguk," or dog meat soup, while those in the upper class took yuggaejang.

The restaurant makes its yuggaejang by boiling beef brisket, leg bones and other bones together in a strong fire all night long and continuously removing the fat. The beef stock is seasoned with "doenjang" (soybean paste), "kochujang" (spicy soybean paste mixed with powered red pepper), ginger and garlic. It is then boiled again with sliced green onions and served with an egg in a bowl.

While other restaurants boil powdered red pepper in oil for a short time, Myongrang boils for an extended period in order to make the soup less spicy and keep the sweet and cool taste of the green onions. There are only two foods on its menu: yuggaejang (4,000 won) and pajon (4,000 won).

To get to the restaurant, drive from the Taejon tollgate on the Kyongbu Highway straight toward the Taejon Railway Station.

When you arrive at the Samsong intersection, turn left. The restaurant is located behind Samsong Elementary School. There is no parking at the restaurant site. Myongrang is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Sundays.

Dentist Kim Jae-Chan