The previous restaurant in this location, a steamed chicken place, shut down late last year for unknown reasons. A shame because it was a tasty restaurant and also the location Uncle Jung chose to introduce us to the village when we first bought property here. They also served some of the oldest and funkiest kimche around.
Sanggyo has recently undergone some major renovations, presumably to solidify their reputation as “the” top dog in the Damyang restaurant market. I try not to let fancy buildings influence my judgement of the food (it’s Korea after all…some of the best food in the country is found in some of the scariest looking restaurants), but it’s hard not to be impressed with this beautiful hanok inspired two-story restaurant. As a testament to the quality of the food, I can tell you that for the better part of a year, during the renovations, they had people eating in make-shift shacks and it didn’t affect business in the slightest. Be prepared to wait at least 45 minutes on the weekends…mind blowing when you see how big it is inside.
Like any good tourist restaurant (not a negative in this context) they provide, both floor and table seating as well as private rooms. The food comes out quick and servers are accustomed to obnoxious picture taking so snap away.
They offer two local specialties: ddeok galbi and Damyang style BBQ’d galbi. I’m sure you can find better ddeok galbi elsewhere in town, so stick with the galbi they’re famous for. The Damyang style of BBQ is a bit different in that the meat is brined and cooked in back and comes out piping hot and ready to eat. You have a choice between regular and spicy (it’s not spicy at all). Both are delicious.
The basic banchan will arrive almost immediately and consists of three types of salad, three types of kimche, three types of seaweed and a couple of other odds and ends. The server will recommend which salad or seaweed to eat with the meat, but after a decade of living in Korea I’m pretty sure that there is no rule about what goes in your lettuce leaf wrap.
Additional servings of meat are easy to order and encouraged by the staff. Refills of banchan are no problem what-so-ever. Basically, arrive hungry and ready to eat. Be sure to save room for the “shik-sa” portion of the meal…because it’s not dinner unless rice is involved! We, for some reason, always order the sujaebee and are always disappointed. One portion is more than enough for three or four people though so at least it’s not expensive. In fact our entire meal for three people, including five orders of meat (don’t judge), five beers, and an order of sujaebee was about 80,000…and I didn’t eat for the next 48 hours~
Not interested in galbi? Plenty of other options can be found here.
Destination: Naejangsan National Park
The Bike’n Hike concept was born out of a failed backpacking trip to Jirisan National Park in February of 2014. For whatever reason the logistics of that trip weren’t coming together so we opted to ditch the car, grab some bikes and head to a closer National Park. That park was of course Naejangsan. Since February we have done six Bike’n Hike trips to five of the surrounding National Parks…three of those trips were to this little park to the north. It’s not by accident that we keep returning.
Traditionally these mini-bike tours have been a minimum of three days. This was our first attempt to squeeze it all in a weekend. Luckily we weren’t without willing participants. Gibby and Jay were the first two to arrive from Seoul and after a bit of drama with cranky taxi drivers and unwelcome rain storms, we headed to a local 고기 집 to fill up on BBQ and booze and wait for the others.
The next morning we scraped together a nice breakfast, got our gear in order and hit the road.