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Jotaro's Food Review
Korean Smoked Pork @ Mapo Restaurant Yongin
While on a cycling tour of South Korea, we were heading for the Yongin Korean Folk Village after a train ride from Seoul. As there is no direct train services to the folk village, most who go there will stop at Sanggal Station and take a bus/taxi from there. We cycled and en-route were looking for a place for lunch, when we spotted this unique place...
.... "Hey! There's a piggy climbing a building! Indeed there was, a cute little fellow almost atop a two-storey shop. This is interesting and it's a restaurant, the Mapo Restaurant that specialised in smoked pork. With this unique pig calling out to us, we just have to go in and try their food. And we came out a happy lot as what they served was very good.
There were five of us and we ordered a set that cost 29,000KRW. It came with a centre tray of smoked pork, with small saucers of local condiments that's goes with the pork. Together came some kimchi, some salad leafs and a bowl of pork stew.
Each of us were given a individual eating saucer, in them were a slice on onion dipped in fruit vinegar - this seems to be the way when eating roast or barbecue meat in Korea. The smoked pork was really a generous helping, more than enough for the five of us, let's hope we can finish it.
Let's have a look at the stew first. It was a pork stew with some meat and lots of vegetable and a sprinkling of spring onions atop. It was a thin stew and was more like a soup, and was just slightly spicy. No surprises here?
There was! But a pleasant surprise - lurking below the surface were chunks of coagulated pig's blood, one of my favourites. With lots of mixed vegetables cooked till there were soft, this stew reminded me of chop suey and it was very tasty. The pig's blood was also nicely soft to bite into.
The main dish was a smoked leg of pig, deboned and cut into thin slices. Most of the slices were fat with gelatin; below these slices were strips of lean meat. Three saucers of condiment lay on one side - slices of fresh garlic, red chilli sauce and right at the top, a interesting pinkish stuff (which we will come to later).
The pork was really, really good with the skin well smoked and the smokiness permeating into the meat below. It's boneless and not all fat, the lower layer were some lean meat. It's so good that we DID finish the lot!
Overall it was tender with the meat still retaining their flavour, it was only slightly salty - and that's were the condiments come in to cater for individual tastes.
Remember the pinkish stuff? On closer look, these were salted fermented mini-prawn (called Saeujeot,동백하 새우젓) something akin to Malaysian cincaluk. Dip the pork into this and the flavours are enhanced.
The setting of the restaurant were cosy. There were two sections with a mini-garden separating them. Seating was oriental on-the-floor style, dining from low tables.
Going round to have a look at their activities, I saw these vegetables and mushrooms, plucked and sliced for preparation of the soup.
At a counter were these Twigim (튀김), Korean style tempura, ready to be deep-fried and served.
A poster advertising their menu offer (i.e. for those who are too lazy to order ala carte, or illiterate to order in Korean.... that's us!).
Their set menu ranging from 12,000 to 39,000KRW.
So if you are on the way to the Yongin Korean Folk Village and looking for good food, do stop at this place, there will be no regrets!
8 Minsokchon-ro Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
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