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[Gourmet] Omji (thumb) restaurant in Hanam City, Kyonggi Province

[Gourmet] Omji (thumb) restaurant in Hanam City, Kyonggi Province

Posted January. 12, 2001 19:37,   


When it comes to "kulbi¡¯¡¯ (salted dried croaker), Yonggwang kulbi is considered the cream of the crop. Yonggwang is a seaside county in South Cholla Province famous for its Pobsongpo town, where croaker caught in the Yellow Sea is dried in the sea wind. Since the era of King Injong of the Koryo Kingdom (918-1392), Yonggwang kulbi had been served on the royal table.

A restaurant in Hanam City on the southeastern outskirts of Seoul sells only "original¡¯¡¯ Yonggwang kulbi, which cannot be compared to the crumbly Chinese products of low quality.

Its name is Omji (thumb), otherwise known, as the house of Pobsongpo kulbi, and it is located in the alley across from Sinjang Market in Hanam City, Kyonggi Province.

The restaurant dates back to the late 1890s, when the current owner¡¯s great grandfather opened it in Pobsong-up, Pobsong-myon, Yonggwang-gun (county), South Cholla Province. It has since moved to its present location.

"I have tried several times, in vain, to quit this business. It seems that kulbi selling is my destiny,¡¯¡¯ said the owner.

His father had not wanted to his sons to be known as "kulbi traders,¡¯¡¯ but the second now produces the dried fish in Popsongpo town, while the first sells kulbi meals with his mother.

Upon entering the restaurant, visitors will see a big sign on the door that says "if the kulbi here is not from Popsongpo, Yonggwang, we will refund 100 times the price.¡¯¡¯

The restaurant is modest by any standard -- there are only five tables -- but the taste of the food is incomparable. There are some unexpected dishes that leave some customers wondering how they could have been made with kulbi.

Recommended for lunch is the kulbi set menu priced at 5,000 won. Two big kulbi are served along with rice, soup and various side dishes like roasted laver, bean curd boiled in soybean sauce, seasoned seaweed, seasoned cucumber, beans boiled in soybean sauce and pickled hair tail.

The pepper-pot kulbi soup, priced at 20,000 won, is spicy and includes radish, crown daisies, dropworts, green onions, garlic and bean sprouts.

The Kulbi haejangguk, a light-tasting broth that is reputed to cure a hangover, is priced at 6,000 won. Ordering for two persons or more is recommended because the addition of more kulbi makes the broth taste even better.

The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every day except for the second and fourth Sundays of the month. There is a toll parking lot nearby.

For further information call 031-792-7784.

Kim Jae-chan, dentist