This post is also available in: Korean
Most people in Korea, whether residents or travelers, are familiar with soju. And although I am fond of soju, I would like to introduce a place to drink one of my other friends, who is named makgeolli. Also known as Korean rice wine, makgeolli is drank by the old and young, and where they come together to drink is at MoonJar located in Sinsa.
MoonJar’s looks stand out from other buildings in Sinsa. It’s walls are white, and there is firewood stacked in front. There is also a sweet potato oven in front of the door, reminiscent of the olden days of Korea.
Makgeolli is a drink that is native to Korea, and very popular in the countryside. The atmosphere inside of MoonJar is very country which is one thing that distinguishes it from other bars in Seoul. Although located in one of the hotspots in Sinsa, the feel is definitely that of a farmhouse in the countryside, far away from city life.
For our food, we ordered the seafood pancake for 17,000 KRW, (haemul pajun – 해물파전) and the steamed pork and kimchi (bossam kimchi – 보쌈 김치), for 29,000 KRW. The food here is meant to be a side dish for drinking. However, the portions were very large. The steamed pork and kimchi was enough to feed the two in our party as a regular meal. The pajun was also large but was definitely a side dish. Although these dishes were expensive, it was clear that they were of a higher quality than typical Korean food. The pancake also tasted softer with a more uniformly cooked outside than typical pajun which impressed me.
Although MoonJar is a drinking establishment, I only ended up ordering one kettle of makgeolli (막걸리), otherwise known as Korean rice wine. However, this was enough to impress me. The black bean makgeolli (검은콩 막걸리) was an excellent choice, served in a traditional Korean “tea kettle” with bowls, it enhanced the atmosphere and allowed me to focus on the taste.
MoonJar is a well known establishment among Koreans. It is often full and reservations are required. The menu is also only in Korean. Although this is the case, I really would like you to try it out. You can do so by learning a few simple sentences in Korean. The easiest is if you ask for a recommendation. In general, it would be hard to pick an item that you didn’t like if the staff recommended it.
MoonJar is a great place to drink with the old or young. The food, drinks, and atmosphere create a unique dining and drinking experience which makes me feel like a Korean, although I’m clearly not. This type of thing is something which can only be described by experiencing it for yourself, so please, experience it.
- Excellent food and makgeolli
- Experienced and friendly staff
- Mix of old and young
- Traditional Korean serving ware
- Large portions
- Valet available
- Weekend reservations typically needed
- Servers – Busy but responsive
- Difficult to choose seating
11:30am – 2:00am
서울특시 강남구 신사동 644-19
View MoonJar (달빛 술담) in a larger map
This entry was only posted at SeoulGrid.com on July 29, 2010. Re-blogged with permission.