Hakata Bunko (하카다분코) is the one restaurant I crave the most in Seoul.
As soon as I land in Korea, I want to run to this little ramen joint near Hongdae. The food here is not the most photogenic, but tastes the best. The famous In Ramen is made from pork bone broth and is hands down my favorite ramen broth in the world. This ramen shop is amongst my top 2 favorites, the other being Totto Ramen in New York. The restaurant is located in a little alley way in Hongdae near the Far East Broadcast Station. It’s not the easiest to find, so I would definitely rely on google maps to find it.
Normally the wait is 30-45min, but here is a tip that will save you time. Google search says it opens at 12pm, but I am pretty sure they open at 11:30AM. If you are going here try calling to confirm this in advance (+82 2-338-5536). Because not everyone knows this, you can arrive a little before 11:30 and be amongst the first diners with a shorter wait. I got there about 10min beforehand and there were already a few businessmen in line before me. There are probably less than 20 seats, with 2 tables of 4 and a small bar so you have to be amongst the first in line to be seated right away when they open. They have a little roped off area for the line in front of the restaurant, it is that good. I have even seen Japanese tourists waiting outside before the restaurant opens.
The no frills nature of this restaurant really gets me, the broth and fresh and simple condiments are the stars. The ramen is served with some great kimchee and raw peeled garlic and toasted sesame seeds. Each table has a garlic press- I like pressing in at least 3 fresh garlic cloves and grinding in toasted sesame seeds into the ramen. This is the one place I miss the most for food in Korea.
Some links with other reviews on Hakata Bunko (하카다분코)
The simple no frills interior and menu at Hakata Bunko. On the menu are 2 kinds of ramen, Een and Chung, but I have never seen anyone actually order Chung. The Een is the popular one made from pork bone broth. Ramen is W8,000, Pork Chasyu Rice is W6,000, and soda is W2,000.
Pork Chasyu Rice
The simple gratis side condiments at Hakata Bunko: fresh pressed garlic, fresh ground toasted sesame seeds, and kimchee
A short video of a meal at Hakata Bunko
An example of food looking good but not tasting good at another Hongdae Ramen joint. Went on a ramen crawl of Seoul, but could not find anything that beat Hakata Bunko!