This little gem of a restaurant has been sitting under our nose for the last year and a half, and for one reason or another we never walked through the doors and sat down for a meal. Thankfully a day out with the Gwangju Birds Korea Group put this place on our radar and we’ve been back multiple times since.
The restaurant is located directly in front of the parking lot entrance for the Gwangju Lake Eco-Park. Here’s the google map.
Upon entering it’s pretty clear chunggukjang (청국장) is the star of the show at this spot. If you’ve never had it, it stinks…in a good way. The interior is small, but that’s understandable considering the entire operation is run by an adorable elderly Korean couple. The 할아버지 (grandpa) runs the front of the house and the 할머니 (grandma) cooks the food. They’re both ultra friendly and a little Korean and a smile goes a long way in a place like this.
The menu is simple and reflective of the location by offering some true Korean countryside classics.
The steamed chicken (백숙) is served EVERYWHERE around here and I can almost guarantee I know a better place to get it (남향가든 just around the corner) so stick with the cheaper (and faster!) menu items. The zucchini stew (애호박찌개) isn’t shy with either the zucchini or the pork and uses the 닭도리탕 broth (a bit on the sweet side). It’s delicious, but the Chunggukjang (청국장) is much better in my opinion. It’s the real deal.
청국장 (to be fair this was take-out)
Additionally, if you’re a fan of Korean food and strong flavor, you’ll love the banchan at this place and similar places around the neighborhood. They’re made with local ingredients, in-house, with pride and without short-cuts. Restaurants in North America would advertise this to ad-nausea, but around here it’s just what’s expected. Those massive re-purposed water jugs behind you with fermenting locally-grown garlic? They’ll be on your table in a few weeks. The owners were making the dried anchovy banchan when we arrived and were so proud of it they gave us a healthy portion to take home when we left. Amazing.
Not interested in locally grown food cooked with care? Here’s a few more options you proably wont’ like.