Where to eat Ganjang Gejang in Seoul: Jinmi Sikdang and Pro Ganjang Gejang
Ganjang Gejang 게장 is a very special and unique Korean food that you must try if you visit Seoul. Unlike other indigenous Korean dishes such as kimchee, kimbap, bibimbap, etc. with good versions easily found outside of Korea, Ganjang Gejang is best enjoyed in Korea. This is because the crabs that are used in Korea taste differently than the blue crabs that are used for this dish in the states. Ganjang Gejang is a soy sauce marinated crab dish. The beautiful flavors of the raw crab with the soy sauce along with roe and rice pair so unexpectedly deliciously. I have only been eating this dish for a few years now because I was afraid of the raw nature of the dish; but now this is one of my favorites in Korean cuisine.
Pro Ganjang Gejang
Two places I tried in Korea and really liked are Pro Ganjang Gejang and Jinmi Sikdang. Since I am not so familiar with gejang I received these recommendations from a Korean foodie. Pro Ganjang Gejang is the most famous restaurant for this dish. The original location is in Gangnam but there are also 3 other locations in Korea. This restaurant has even expanded internationally with 2 locations in Tokyo and 4 locations in China. The most famous dish on their menu is the soy marinated crab. It comes in large and small. Large is 85,000 KRW (~$72) for 2 crabs and small is 62,000 KRW (~$52). You can see the menu in Korean here on their website. I tried the 2 large crabs and they were not so large that 2 people cannot finish them. In fact if you are really hungry you can order an extra large crab for 43,000 KRW. The dishes come with traditional banchan and rice.
They also have other main entrees such as the famous Korean live octopus, sannakji, which I also recommend eating if you are visiting Seoul. This dish is for more adventurous eaters because the baby octopus is live- so it is still moving in your mouth as you chew it. The special dish that this restaurant has that you will not find at other gejang restaurants is the ganjang gejang bibimbap. This bibimbap is one of the best bibimbap because it is loaded with tons of sesame oil, crab roe, toasted nori, and an egg yolk. The bibimbap is 20,000 KRW ($17). The restaurant is very close to the number 4 exit of the Sinsa Subway Station on the orange line (number 3 line). Directions and more can be found here on the VisitKorea website.
Main Location Seoul Address:
9, Gangnam-daero 97-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 서초구 강남대로97길 9 (잠원동)
Short 10 second video of the meal and restaurant at Pro Gangjang Gejang.
Jinmi Sikdang 진미식당
Jinmi Sikdang is my favorite place to eat ganjang gejang in Seoul because their marinade is so light and sophisticated. There is a really amazing delicate feminine balance and sweetness to this dish. I have been to this restaurant three times and the marinade and taste were always consistent. The two places I look forward to the most to visit each time I go to Korea are this restaurant and Noryangjin Fish Market for fresh seafood dishes.
This 13 second video does a good job summarizing the experience at Jinmi Sikdang.
Jinimi Sikdang is very popular so if you are heading here for lunch or dinner I would go early. The restaurant opens at noon so I would get there at noon to avoid a line for lunch or at 5pm to avoid a line for dinner. This restaurant is lesser known and in a less central location in Seoul so the prices are cheaper. The Gangjang Gejang Jungsik for 1 person is 31,000 KRW and comes with all banchan side dishes, rice, and a soup for 31,000 KRW (~26). If you only have time to visit one restaurant I would probably recommend Pro Gangjang Gejang because it is the the most famous but my favorite is Jinmi Sikdang. The taste of Jinmi is superior and the vibe is much more authentic. Pro is crowded with tourists from around the world and you sit down at a traditional western table. At Jinmi there are no tourists (although I predict this will change as this dish becomes more popular, also there were no blog posts on Jinmi up until last year but I am starting to see more of them) and you sit down at a traditional Korean table on a floor mat.
Address English: 105-127 Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Address Korean: 서울특별시 마포구 마포대로 186-6 선화의원
Hours: Open 7 days a week from noon-3:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm
Tripadvisor Reviews of Jinmi Sikdang
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