One of my favorite Korean meals is a sweet soy sauce braised chicken dish called Jjimdak. Jjimdak is perfect for those not keen on Korea’s ubiquitous spicy food, but still want to have a delicious Korean meal. The minimum order is quite large, so it’s best to eat with at least one friend. I was pretty excited when my friend treated me to a nice braised chicken(Jjimdak) dinner at Ongdare, as it looked like a good chain capable of serving it. It’s easy to find on your left once you get out of exit 9 of Hongdae Station (홍대입구역).
The restaurant is pretty well decorated and modern. A touch of rustic with bricks and utilizes somewhat dim lighting. It’s fairly quiet and makes for an ideal environment to enjoy good food and company.
Large 옹다래찜닭 (Ongdarae Jjimdak) – 28,000 wonOrdered the regular large braised chicken which came loaded with a whole chicken, as well as thick yam noodles, onions, and sweet potatoes. The sauce was soy sauce based with a mild sweetness to it. There was a little spicy kick, but nothing unmanageable. You can probably order it without any spices to be safe. It went really well with rice and gave the yam noodles a good flavor. The chicken was pretty tender without being too deteriorated. Some pieces didn’t absorb the sauce as well as others.This dish was so savory and fragrant. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough sauce for me to put over my rice, but other than that it was delicious. I’ve never ordered a bad jjimdak, and this definitely wasn’t bad either.
삼계탕 (Gingseng Chicken Soup) – 10,000 wonAlso ordered the chicken ginseng soup which was served at a rolling boil far vigorous than what I’ve seen. There were some interesting twists to this dish as the chicken was browned before it was boiled. It gave the chicken an interesting texture and flavor on the outside. The rice and other ingredients were stuffed in the chicken.I’m not sure if I had an anomaly, but the dish was kind of slimy. I’ve never experienced it, but it was kind of weird to me. While it was still edible, it wasn’t one of the best. I suspect that the sliminess came from the excessive boiling. For 10,000 won it’s not a bad deal, but if it consistently comes out slimy it might not be worth it. Perhaps it was just a hiccup.
Overall, Ongdare serves up a healthier Korean chicken dish than the common fried chicken joints. I really enjoyed this alternative and felt much more satisfied coming out of here. Definitely give it a try if you’re in the Hongdae area, you won’t be disappointed!