Sutong-gol (수통골) in Yuseong, Daejeon is one of my favorite places in the city. The edge of Mt. Gyeryongsan (계룡산) offers number of great hiking courses. After the hike you can enjoy a cup of coffee or have a tasty meal at one of the cafes or restaurants near the base of the mountain. My parents used to live in Yuseong a few years ago and back then Sutong-gol was not as busy as it is today. Nowadays, the area is so popular that it is always crowed with hikers and foodies from around the city.
Our family planned a dinner with old family friends and decided to meet up at Sutong-gol. We took a risk and tried a restaurant that we never went before – a place called Damiwon (다미원). Once we arrived, I immediately recognized the old building. I used to come here regularly when the building was operating under the name of Heukryongsan Chondubu. The famous handmade tofu restaurant was so popular that they bought a huge building nearby and moved out. The old building was left for a new restaurant owner to start their journey and Damiwon opened with their signature grilled bulgogi.
I looked up Damiwon on Korean blogs and learned that the place is famous for seoksoe bulgogi (석쇠불고기: sliced and seasoned BBQ beef) and makgeolli (막걸리: Korean rice wine). The bulgogi is pre-grilled outside and placed on charcoal to keep it warm on the table. Like beef patties of Damyang, the meat was very soft and tender. It was also well-seasoned and I enjoyed it as I never had seoksoe bulgogi before. However, mom told me afterwards that she has had better version of soeksoe bulgogi in Daejeon and promised to take me one day.
I love traditional Korean rice wine and I had my hopes up because there were several different rice wines available on the menu. However, I was soon disappointed to find out that all of the rice wines were store-bought bottled wine. I once saw a Korean documentary showing a traditional rice wine being made and served right on the spot. I guess I had a hope that maybe I could try handmade makgeolli but of course that place on TV was more like a local winery than a restaurant and I should not expect handmade wine at a barbeque place.
We tried two different kinds of rice wine – Won makgeolli of Daejeon and Namwon makgeolli. Namwon makgeolli was a bit sweeter but I like the one from Daejeon as I am more used to the taste, I guess. Korean rice wine goes great with almost all Korean dishes. I wonder if there is wine pairing in Korea as well. If there is, then I would sure like to learn more about different types of Korean wine and foods that go with it.