We went to Seochon, Seoul to try Gwanghwamun Makgeolli for the first time
Find out about one of the best food streets in the middle of Seoul 😎 We visit one of the most famous galbi restaurants in the area and I try my best to tell the difference between Jipyeong and Gwanghwamun makgeolli….*spoiler alert* it’s not easy. The food was fantastic, the makgeolli was great and we even had time for a beer at the end before our baby woke up!
Jeju Island is a an island off the coast of Korea and it’s famous for it’s oranges as well as fantastic pork and peanuts. It also has the highest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan, which has probably the best Soju in Korea named after it.
Seoul Jangsoo has long been the main, and sometimes only, bottle of makgeolli readily available in the capital but with the recent influx of ricewine from other areas and cities the Seoul Jangsoo Brewery decided to launch a new bottle on the market and so InSaeng (Life) makgeolli was born. But which makgeolli is the best? I decided to put them both to the taste test and where better to do so than to go for a walk up Namsan Mountain.
As you can see from the labelling Won Tak Makgeolli is closely associated with one-time K-Pop star Tak Jae-hoon, he of Country Kko Kko fame. It joins ‘Young Tak Makgeolli’ as one of a few rice wines trying to capitalize on the recent surge in popularity of ‘craft’ makgeolli. The drink itself is decent enough, it’s smooth without really tasting too much but it does have a slight sour aftertaste. It also has a slight carbonation.
It’s not going to win any awards for its apple flavor any time soon but Cheongsong Apple makgeolli is an incredibly smooth and silky makgeolli. You cant’t really feel any evidence from the apples in either in it’s taste nor it’s smell but what it might lack in fruitiness it more than makes up for in being a really good rice wine which I could have drank all night……although I sometimes feel that says more about me being Scottish than it does about the quality or taste of the alcohol I’m drinking.
It does look exactly like the normal Seoul Jangsoo makgeolli, I was expecting it to have a more ‘citrus’ colour to be honest. It does taste a little of citrus but only slightly and really does taste more like a heavily watered down orange cordial juice. It is a fairly new addition to the Jangsoo Brewery’s portfolio but I severely doubt that it will become as popular as Insaeng (see video review at bottom of post) or even the ginseng flavored Jangsoo.
Seobaeksan Makgeolli is definitely one of my favorites, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste and is a little thicker than ‘Jangsoo style’ ricewines which is always a plus in my book as I often find the more watery makgeolli to also be pretty tasteless. It has no carbonation and is a slightly darker yellow colour than a lot of other ricewines. It is often referred to as the ‘ajossi makgeolli’ which I’m not sure is to do with the clientele who drink it or its bitterness 🙂
Made by the Daegang Yangjojang Brewery, Seobaeksan is generally found in good makgeolli and jeon restaurants and if you are lucky enough to live near a fantastically stocked Mart then you will should find a bottle or two loitering in their fridges. It goes amazingly well with both gamja-jeon (potato) and kimchi-jeon. The bottle in the photo above was bought in the exceptional Mapo Fisheries Market, a ‘makgeolli hunt’ you can watch in the YouTube clip below.
Baekam Makgeolli has no carbonation whatsoever, which is ideal as it needs a little bit of a shake to mix it properly. It is an incredibly smooth ricewine to drink and is really light and you could easily spend a night drinking bottle after bottle as it is one of those drinks that you don’t want the bottle to finish. it is a little chalky in colour but with no aftertaste. I think the best way to describe is as the makgeolli equivalent to eating a Galaxy chocolate bar. Continue reading #77. Yongin Baekam Makgeolli (용인 백암 생 막걸리)
Young-tak probably needs no introductions as it has quickly swept Korea over the last year or so. It smells like it will be quite sour but it’s actually surprising quite sweet. It is a really smooth makgeolli to drink and like a Jangsoo or a Saengtak is a multiple bottle rice wine that you could definitely drink several of over a session. They interestingly started off with clear bottles but seem to have joined others like Jipyeong and switched to white PET, the reason for this is to allow the bottles to be reused several times..yeah I know!!! Continue reading #75 Youngtak Makgeolli (영탁 막걸리)