The Jincook (더진국): Gukbab

The backstory of how I came to eat this in Anam: I was visiting Korea University in the winter of 2017, and it was possibly the coldest day of my trip. If I recall correctly, temperatures fell to about -10 to -13 degrees Celsius that day, and I was inadequately prepared (think thin ankle socks, no gloves, no earmuffs etc.)

In order to escape the freezing cold, we decided to duck into one of the restaurants near KU. We weren’t really sure whether it was good, but we saw that it was bursting to the seams with KU students – partly because the space is a little small, and partly because everyone had the same thoughts as us, haha.

Strangely enough, even though The Jincook is near KU, I didn’t recall seeing it during my summer school trip.

The Jincook menu

The menu is quite limited – although there is more than what is shown on the signboard, it is quite obvious that everyone comes here for the gukbab. If you’re wondering, gukbab literally means ‘rice in soup’, and although the rice is served separately, I usually eat it by just pouring my rice straight into the soup.

All of us ordered the boiled pork soup with rice:

This was absolutely delightful, heartwarming, & stomach-warming to have on a cold, wintery day. The broth is very flavourful – nothing like the kind of watered-down soup that you sometimes get from Korean restaurants overseas. The pork slices are thin so that they melt in your mouth, but plentiful enough so that you don’t feel that you paid for too little meat.

I think we ordered the dumplings as well, while the other 3 are banchan, which are usually served at all tables. I am a big fan of this banchan (p.s. I also love the one at MiGaBon)!

6500 won doesn’t exactly make for a budget meal, and some of you may think that this is a rather pricey place to eat at. However, I have to emphasize that meals costing more than 5000 won (about SGD6 or USD4.45) tend to be the norm in Korea, or at least Seoul. This is because it includes banchan, water, and service. In Singapore, you would have to pay extra for water, side dishes, and service charge (10% + 7%) – you definitely can’t get this for less than SGD10!

Personally, I feel that this is absolutely worth the price tag. It is really little wonder that it is popular among the college students. Trust me, it’s not just the convenient location that’s attracting them.

Anam is a little far from most tourist hotspots, but fret not: The Jincook also has branches in other areas such as Dongdaemun Station and Gangnam Station! I haven’t tried the ones there, but they are definitely much easier to get to, so I recommend that you head there instead, especially if you are not keen on squeezing with many loud college students in a tiny restaurant 😂

Check out this MangoPlate page for more locations!


DIRECTIONS

Address (for Korea University branch): 15-38, Anam-dong 5-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul

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