베테랑 Veteran Kalguksu: Apparently Noodles Can Get Better
Sorry for the hiatus, but I'm back on the blog! But this time I'm taking you all to the other side of the map - in South Korea! I spent roughly a month going through Seoul, Jeonju (the traditional food capital of Korea), and Busan visiting friends...and of course eating with them too. As a big fan of Korean food, my trip has been crazy packed with just eating - to my delight.
One of my absolute favourite dishes has to be soup and noodles which is a favourite Asian food staple. Yes, in Korea, there's cold noodles (냉면), black bean noodles (짜장면), ramyun (라면), glass noodles (잡채), etc BUT everyone seems to forget about the OG knife cut noodles (kalguksu or 칼국수). I was definitely on the hunt to find a hearty bowl of authentic Korean kalguksu and came across a cozy little establishment by the name of Veteran (베테랑). To my knowledge, it is a small chain restaurant that specializes in only a few dishes, though its kalguksu being the most popular local choice. They have several spots, one being in a large bus terminal in Seoul as well as a standalone store in Hanok Village in Jeonju; though for the most authentic feeling experience (in a traditional Korean village), I trekked on over to the Jeonju location.
5,000 WON/ BOWL
And here you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the best possible bowl of kalguksu to ever grace this Earth. It arrives with all the seasonings piled on top of the noodles and honestly it looks like quite a mess - BUT, slowly mix it all together and you'll reveal a colourful, thick soup lathering a generous portion of thick rice noodles.
The noodles are thick and cooked al-dente which soaks in a lot of the inital soup flavour. The soup is originally mixed with broken up egg (kind of like egg drop) which plays beautifully with the other spices: gochugaru (red pepper flakes), perilla seeds, and seaweed flakes. In the end, you get the explosion of spice, earthiness, and salt and you realize how blessed you must be to taste a bowl from the heavens.
The way the soup hugs the noodles ensures that every bite of noodle is equally flavourful and mouth-watering. Seriously, order a bowl and you'll find yourself downing the noodles and slurping up every drop of soup - you won't be disappointed.
Even for someone who prides herself in how much she can eat, I admit I was on the cusp of a food coma after finishing this bowl. So if you're looking to order more variety from the menu, prepare your stomach or make a friend in the restaurant.
Despite being such a small store located on the outskirts of the village, Veteran is constantly busy with customers all ordering the same dish - a testament to the greatness of its kalguksu. If you aren't ready to trek out of the big cities in South Korea, I would recommend heading to their Seoul bus terminal location though I hear it welcomes a line everyday.
*Do keep in mind the service here is typically and traditionally Korean, quite loud and in-your-face, but it just adds to the beauty of the experience. At the Jeonju Hanok Village location, you will be required to pay for your meal when your food arrives at the table, if not earlier so don't be too alarmed.*
So what are you doing? Book your ticket and get on this bowl of greatness. 먹자!
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 10/10
+ price/affordability: 10/10
+ atmosphere: 7/10 (for a traditional Korean feel, this is a 10/10 though)
+ overall: 9.5/10 (aka. Why are you not here already?)