Recommended Courses

Healing Instinct for Tasty Flavor: A Contest of Novel Foods in Dongducheon

WriterAdministratorDate09/06/2018

Left:  a part of the street of Design Art Village./ Right: 'Instinct for Tasty Flavor: A Contest of Novel Foods in Dongducheon' is written.

 

  

A bar written 'Highlight'.

 

 

Time Spent: 5 hours / Estimated Cost: KRW 50,000 / Recommended Visiting Season: All 4 seasons

Recommended Route: Soyosan Mountain National Tourist Area - 56 House - Design Art Village - Hot Pizza - Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ


[Course Introduction]

I like places where I can be surrounded by people. I prefer the local market to a fancy shopping mall, and I would rather go to a cheap neighborhood diner than an upscale restaurant. In that sense, Dongducheon is right up my alley. The streets have a unique atmosphere formed through the area’s long interactions with the US military base. Above all Dongducheon has its own cuisine that reflects all the sorts of emotions that this neighborhood went through over the years. The western cuisine available here has a certain “Koreanness” fused into it. Today, I am heading to experience the unusual culture of Dongducheon.


 

[56 House]

The popular menu,  a 56 House set menu

  

Left: A front view of the 56 House. / Middle: a part of 56 house set menu; soup, spaghetti, bread, salad, etc. / Right: an old style of hamburger.

  

Starting from the exterior, there was something unusual about 56 House. Its white exterior walls and the small door to the end of the wall in one corner -- who would have imagined that this was a restaurant? When I opened the door, I could still see the original interior of an old Western-style restaurant. The brick wall interior and the ornately carved dining table and chairs -- I was so excited about the prospect of dining in this kind of ambience. I ordered the most popular dish at 56 House, and soon the waiter brought me soup and pasta first.

The food tasted just like in the old days, and its ingredients had not changed at all. I was astonished that this type of restaurant still remained. Finally, the main dish arrived.
The main dish consisted of Hamburg steak, fish cutlet, and pork cutlet. The plating of the food was quite good – hats off to the owner who once worked as a hotel chef. Memories of going to Western restaurants with my parents kept drifting into my head, and I emptied my plate while marveling at the food. The smile never left my face because of the nostalgic taste and atmosphere. I felt grateful to the restaurant because it brought back happy memories from the past.


Connoisseur’s Point

The most popular menu is the huge 56 House Set Meal, which consists of salad-garlic bread-soup-spaghetti-pork cutlet. If it is too much, you can order the popular King Burger with a fried egg.


 

Basic Information 

Opening Hours: 10:00 ~ 22:00 / Closed on Lunar New Year's day and Chuseok Holiday

Recommendation for 1 person: 56 House Set Meal KRW 14,000, King Burger KRW 6,000

Address: 210-9 Sangpae-ro, Dongducheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Phone: +82-31-865-5656 

Website: 56house.kr



[Hot Pizza]

A home-made style pizza of Hot Pizza.

 

Left: a front view of Hot Pizza. / Middle: an indoor with yello walls of Hot Pizza. / Right: The tocino tasted like sweet pork ribs on rice.

  

As soon as I arrived in downtown Dongducheon, I saw many sign posts that directed me to Hot Pizza. It wasn’t on my itinerary; thinking that it could be a famous spot, however, I instinctively headed toward Hot Pizza! This was the charm of traveling, isn’t it? The restaurant interior was done like an old western-style pub. Here and there are pictures of patrons and antiques hanging on the wall, with one corner of the wall filled with photos of the menu.

I ordered pizza since it was a pizza restaurant; after looking at the menu on the wall, I also ordered pork tocino, out of curiosity. According to the owner, the tocino was a favorite among US military personnel. The pizza, which came out first, was outstanding.

The crust was as thick as a mung bean pancake, and the cheese layer was half as thick. I lifted a slice, and the cheese stretched just like in a pizza commercial. It tasted like the pizza my mother used to make when I was young. It contained lots of vegetables and meat, and the sauce was not too overwhelming. It was literally a home-made pizza. The tocino that came out next tasted like sweet pork ribs on rice.

Korean set menu is what usually comes to mind when one hears homemade meal, but the food here clearly felt like a homemade meal – a western homemade meal. You might be disappointed if you were expecting authentic Italian pizza, but like the western meal your mother prepares for you, the food here has its own charms.


Connoisseur’s Point

The name of the restaurant is Hot Pizza, but it offers over 70 different dishes. So it’s not hard to choose to your taste.

 

Basic Information

Opening Hours: 11:00 ~ 22:30 / Open all year round

Recommendation for 1 person: Pork Tocino (KRW 7,000), Combination Pizza (small KRW 18,000 / large KRW 22,000)

Address: 15, Jungang-ro 353beon-gil, Dongducheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Phone: +82-31-861-0075



 

[Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ]

A plate of the main barbecue of Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ .

   

Left: a front view of Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ. / Middle: A plate of the main barbecue of Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ ./ Right: an indoor of the Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ

  

Texas Charcoal-grilled BBQ was the restaurant I was most excited about when I arrived in Dongducheon, especially since it had won first place in a cooking competition. This restaurant had only one item on its menu: BBQ. The half-chicken order was available for one person. The sweet and sour sauce made in-house was delicious. Still, the real star of the show was the texture quality of the chicken meat, which was smoked and then grilled over charcoal in a two-step process.

Even the chicken breast was juicy and not lean at all. This made me realize that a restaurant’s 50-year history was not created out of nothing. The restaurant really lived up to its name because I could feel the crispiness of BBQ meat, the scent of smoked meat, and the sweet and sour taste of the special sauce in even the small chicken pieces. It was not a large restaurant, but it was busy for takeout. I ordered another chicken to go because I wanted my family to try it and also because I might crave for it later. The food was worth the visit.


Connoisseur’s Point

If you order the BBQ, you will also get the bean soup as an appetizer. Also a delicacy, this soup is light with a sweet and sour taste. I couldn’t stop eating it. It was the perfect complement to the BBQ.

 

Basic Information

Opening Hours: 12:00 ~ 22:00 / Closed on Sundays

Recommendation for 1 person: Chicken BBQ (single serving KRW 9,000), back ribs BBQ (KRW 13,000)

Address: 366, Jungang-ro, Dongducheon-si, Gyeonggi-do 

Phone: +81-31-861-3634

 

A bar written 'Other Attractions'

 

[Soyosan Mountain National Tourist Site]

A front view of Wonhyogul Cave.

 

 Left: one of the trails of Soyosan Mountain. / Middle: a paved road to Wonhyogul Cave./ Right: Iljumun Gate of Soyosan Mountain

 

I visited Soyosan Mountain early in the morning. Mountains and forests are definitely better in the morning. The air feels fresh, and the weather is just cool enough to allow one to sweat pleasantly. To reach Wonhyogul Cave, my destination, I had to walk a significant distance, but the road was paved so well I could easily walk up as if taking a stroll.

On the way to the cave, I saw many sculptures with Monk Wonhyo and Princess Yoseok as motifs. Opinions are divided on whether their love story was based on actual events. Wherever the truth may lie, the story of Monk Wonhyo and Princess Yoseok is reason enough to attract people to visit Soyosan Mountain. After 30 minutes of leisurely walking, I arrived at Wonhyogul Cave. It felt strange actually seeing a place that was part of a legend. The cave had the perfect surroundings for mental discipline because of its in the middle of a forest. Located above Wonhyogul Cave is Wonhyodae Cliff, which offers beautiful views of Soyosan Mountain. 
Could I also reach an awakening by practicing mental training in Wonhyogul Cave and then meditating on Wonhyodae Cliff? As I got carried away by the surroundings, I became more imaginative didn’t I?


Basic Information

Opening Hours: Always open

Admission: KRW 1,000 / parking fee (KRW 2,000 a day)

Time Spent: Around 1 hour


 

[Design Art Village]

 a part of the street of Design Art Village.

  

Left: a workshop of Korean tradtional plays/ Middle: a colorful building in the village./ Right: a line of colorful buildings along the street.

 

This place gave off some weird vibes. The old shops that seemd to be decades old and newely opened workshops coexisted, and this showed the changes as time passed. Stores like blanket shops and tuxedo shops that I had never seen in my life looked fascinating. The re of the US military garrison forced many of the shops to close. Note, however, that the remaining traces of old shops and their shop signs are enough to feel what the spirit of the village was like.

 

I stopped by the information center to pick up a guidebook and started to explore the different corners of the village. I was pleasantly surprised to discover many interesting places. Black and white photo workshops and traditional game workshops were new to me. While I was there, I decided to look around a traditional game workshop. I tried a few games like gonunori and jukbangul for the first time. They were much harder than I expected, but I absolutely refused to accept defeat. In the old days when there were few games for entertainment, game rules were made intentionally hard so that the playing times could be extended to make up for the lack of games. I was in the workshop far longer than I had planned when I came out, and I saw very strangely drawn wall paintings. They balanced well with the atmosphere of the street, so I took some photos.


Basic Information

Opening Hours: 11:00 ~ 18:00 / differ by shop

Admission: Free / There is an experience fee if you choose to take part in experiencing events

Time Spent: Around 2 hours

Address: 2539 Pyeonghwa-ro, Dongducheon-si, Bosan Station area

Website: www.dav2015.com


a bar written 'TIP'.

 

[Course Guide]
 

1. This is a trip that you should take during daylight on a weekend
- Daytime on weekends is when most of the shops are open and when you can have the biggest number of things to see.

2. A trip where you can stick to your normal eating habits 

- Take into consideration the amount of your intake and taste preference: Eat in moderation according to your eating pattern not to screw up a wonderful journey.