I admit, I’m not the most adventurous of eaters. I can eat vegetables and spicy food, the usual stuff that many of my friends dislike. But there are things I really can’t swallow, particularly smelly food. Blue cheese, stinky tofu, pork innards, eek!
I entered the small eatery that is Hyeonine Gukbap (Hyeoni’s Rice Soup) at Chilsimni Food Street in Seogwipo because I could smell something good cooking, and I was craving for some soupy food.
There was no English menu, ajumma (Korean auntie) speaks no English, and it was so tedious for me to try and understand the menu in Hangul, so I just said yes when ajumma pointed at the only dish with a picture on the menu board. Most likely the specialty or best seller, so I went for it.
I was in horror when the food was served. I seriously panicked inside when I saw that it was made with pork innards. I haven’t even touched the food, but in my head I already started planning how I could survive this predicament, how I could finish the food, and not offend dear ajumma who prepared it.
But lo and boayo! The dish is well cooked and not even smelly (amen!). The taste and aroma of the soup is kind of similar to bulalo or nilaga (boiled meat with clear soups) but a bit creamier. Although I struggled a bit, I was able to finish it! Because it was delicious.
The name of the dish is “modeum gukbap” which literally translates to assorted soup. Assorted innards, apparently. The main ingredients are sundae (Korean blood sausage) and slices of pork intestines. Rice is served on the side, along with various Korean side dishes.
Halfway through, ajumma approached me and asked in Korean if it was delicious (맛있어요?), and then a bulb lit up and I was excited that I could understand her and practice some Korean. So, I over-energetically said Ne!
She was happy and, as if reciprocating my effort to use her language, she said a cute “Thank you.”
Hyeoni’s Rice Soup (현이네국밥) is on Chilsimni Food Street in Seogwipo, but I did not see it officially on the list of restaurants on a street signboard. But it is right across from the Seogwipohang Bus Stop with a CU convenience store. Definitely a must-try for a local food experience.