Grab a Seat in Eatery Alley
There’s a small street in the shopping nexus of Nampo-Dong filled with stands offering a cheap outdoor lunch. Hot noodles, kimchi, rice bowls, tteokbokki (a spicy rice cake dish), all served up by a colorful collection of Korean lunch ladies. The map refers to this as “Eatery Alley”, which is about as accurate a name as possible.
Each lunch lady is hocked on the ground in front of her “kitchen”, which consists of a big, solitary pot. They’re always at work, slopping more noodles into bowls, speedily preparing more gimbap, or counting their earnings. Each has her own specialty, and we opted for a plump, smiling lady serving a spicy-looking bowl of glass noodles. We chose her stand because… the noodles looked so good! Because… it seemed popular with the locals! Okay, okay, fine. We chose it because, after hesitating for a second in front of her, she yelled at us to sit down. And down we sat, onto tiny stools fit for a Barbie doll picnic.
We each got a bowl of the noodles and split a plate full of snacks, such as rice rolls, kimchi and seaweed. It was all delicious, and cost ?7000 ($6.30) in total. At least, that’s what it cost the Korean couple sitting next to us. But the crafty old broad charged us 10000, even though she knew that we had been closely monitoring the other, just-completed transaction. She must have reasoned that we wouldn’t be able to argue… and she was right. I held up my fingers, trying to sign “7?”, but she just smiled and waved goodbye.
Still, it was a good deal, and we left full and satisfied. We promised to return, armed with Korean phrases like, “Please, my dear, I do believe you’ve miscalculated”. Or, “Could I have the local price?” Or, “If you don’t stop ripping me off, I’ll kick your damned table over”.
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If you go back to Nampo-dong, there’s a small, hard to find restaurant called Dolgorae (돌고래), which I think means Stone Whale. Anyway, it’s my favorite food in Busan and extremely cheap. The basics are the sundubu jjigae (순두부 찌개) and the doenjang jjigae (된장 찌개). The sundubu is the hot tofu soup which is a Korean staple, but this place is somehow just more delicious than anywhere else. If you want help finding it, let me know.Another suggestion I would have is going to 오륙도 (Oryeukdo), which are the islands you can see from Haeundae Beach and several other places on the coast. You can take several buses (20,22, 24, 27, 39) to the closest point on the mainland. Then there’s a hike to Igidae (이기대) which gives a great view of the Gwangan Bridge. It’s equally beautiful on a sunny day or a foggy day. You then would have to take another bus back from Igidae.Anyway, have fun in Busan! Very cool project!
Matt, thank you for all the tips!!! Can’t wait to try that restaurant you mentioned. And the hikes and Islands sound awesome too. Busan just has too much to offer. Are you still in Busan?
Ahh .. could you maybe place the restaurant roughly on Google Maps.
Yeah I’m still in Busan.Here’s a map that ought to work for Dolgorae: http://bit.ly/JAXGHP. It’s on the second floor. Here’s a blog post with the sign as well: http://v.daum.net/link/9754313?&CT=MY_RECENT. Again, it’s nothing much to look at and it’s a simple dish, but I personally think it’s fantastic. If you’re interested in more unique, exotic stuff, I’m sure I could think of a few other places as well.
Thank you Matt .. we love places like that! We are going to try it out once we are in that area again. Can’t wait. And yes we are always looking for some quirky / odd stuff of the places we are staying at. So do please share! What brought you to Busan or are you from here?
We went yesterday to the place you recommended.. We had a blast! Thank you so much for this tip. We are going to be writing about it shortly. If you got more places like this .. let us know!!!
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