The Secret Korean Foodie Life > Hongdae

[Hongdae] The Secret Korean Foodie Life #81 - Darak Two (다락투)

“Darak Two” is a bit of an outsider in terms of being a diner in the “super-trendy” Hong-dae, and especially located right in front of “Hong-ik University,” you get to think how do these all get along…? Well, in fact they do… and “Darak Two” is packed with people everyday, but why have I said it is an outsider…? They sell Korean traditional “Dak Gom-tang,” which is a chicken soup made in the same way as “Gom-tang (Beef Bone Soup)” is made, which is a clear soup that is made by boiling beef bone for hours, usually considered as a stamina-food for Koreans.

Now while “Gom-tang” is beef bone soup, how come a chicken soup is “Dak Gom-tang…?” Then isn’t it supposed to be chicken-beef bone soup…? Well…No, but let me explain. “Gom-tang” today is still considered to be quite expensive and luxurious dish, since first beef bones are relatively expensive compared to other bones and it takes a lot of time and effort to boil a proper clear soup that takes hours and hours of waiting and precise control of the fire. Then “Gom-tang” must have been an even rarer and luxurious dish back in the days 100 or 200 years ago, where there wasn’t as many cows as today and didn’t have fancy induction ranges we get to use today. So “Dak Gom-tang” was born, chicken was a much cheaper and widely available alternative to beef, and the “normal” civilians cooked chicken bones in the same way as they would have done with beef bones and that was “Dak Gom-tang.” Now then isn’t that kind of a “Samgyetang…?” No. To become a “Samgyetang” there must be Korean ginseng (this is where the “Sam” comes from) inside the soup, which obviously was an even more scarce piece of ingredient then and it also need a whole chicken (this is where the “Gye” comes from), while “Dak Gom-tang” only needed the bones and little pieces of meat on the bones…

But now back to the 21st century Korea, actually today “Dak Gom-tang” is an even harder dish to cook and find, since it requires a lot more of manual labor after the tiring boiling process, because now they don’t just sell chicken bones and you need to boil a whole chicken and then separate all the bones out of the soup and serve the soup with only thinly torn chicken meat. And actually boiling a chicken soup is naturally harder than boiling beef soup, since if not boiled properly by adding the right spices and washing the chicken properly; you end up with a soup that has a “fishy” smell. So actually “Dak Gom-tang” is considered a rarer and special dish to Koreans and “Darak Two” is one place that is again one of the “Top Three” places to enjoy “Dak Gom-tang” in Seoul…

And how does it taste…? Well can’t be better… super tasty…! For those who think this must taste similar to “Samgyetang” you are wrong. “Dak Gom-tang” has a more clear soup to start off with and of course a milder taste than “Samgyetang” but again a very deep taste from the relentlessly boiled chicken. And for those who don’t like “Samgyetang” like my husband (not just a preference, but in Oriental Korean Medicine Korean ginseng is known to have a “warming” character and people like my husband who are already warm inside with a lot of body heat, ginseng is not good for them, since it heats them up even more – like throwing fire inside a fire…) this is your chicken soup. The rice is already inside the soup so you just need to keep spooning to taste the mild and deep taste of the heart-warming Korean chicken soup. This dish must be always tasty, but probably even more when the weather gets a bit colder, and probably I will be sitting here warming my body and heart with this “Dak Gom-tang” then.


​4-3, Wausanro 21-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울 마포구 와우산로21길 4-3

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