The Secret Korean Foodie Life > Samcheongdong

[Samcheongdong] The Secret Korean Foodie Life #90 - Seoul-e-so Dul-jjae-ro Jal-ha-nun-jip (서울서 둘째로 잘하는집)

This is the “second best” Korean traditional café in Seoul, which I am pretty sure of since their actual name in Korean “Seoul-e-so Dul-jjae-ro Jal-ha-nun-jip” means “The Second Best Café in Seoul…” I know the name is a bit too long and weird… But I am not just here because I was super curious whether they were really the “Second Best,” and actually this café is another one of our favorite “Top Three” places in Seoul for “Dan-Pat Juk (Korean Sweet Red Bean Porridge)” and “Daechu Cha (Korean Jujube Tea).”

Now to solve your question – they say the reasoning behind the name in being the “Second Best” is because to everyone the “First” is what your mother has cooked you – so they are the best tasting after your mother’s one… (although I think their “Dan-pat Juk” was way better than the one my mother used to make me…)

All the dessert and teas are prepared in the traditional way by the grannies here, and you actually get to see a proper “Old-fashioned” Korean kitchen with even a “A-gung-ee (A old Korean furnace)” they make all of these treats if you head to the back of the café. And of course like any other “Top Three” place we ordered their signature “Dan-pat Juk” and “Daechu Cha.”

Now some more about “Dan-Pat Juk,” usually the most popular two “sweet porridges” enjoyed as a snack or a dessert in Korea are “Dan-Pat Juk” and “Hobak Juk (Sweet Pumpkin Porridge).” But what is special about “Dan-Pat Juk” is that Koreans traditionally believed that Red Bean would “woo” away ghosts and bad energy, with many theories… which are too unscientific to explain, and still the tradition to eat “Dan-Pat Juk” on the day of Winter Solstice (Dong-ji Nal in Korean) continues today. And usually in these “Dan-Pat Juk” there are small round rice-cake balls that are bland in the bottom of the porridge that are called “Sae Al (which in Korean means “Bird Egg” – the rice-cake ball does look like a small bird egg),” and it is again traditionally believed (…not scientific) that when you eat the “Sae Al” inside the “Dan-Pat Juk” you must chew each “Sae Al” one hundred times for good fortune… (and to do it the “real” original way you must eat the same amount of “Sae Al” as your age… so if you are 100 years old, you need to eat 100 “Sae Als” and chew them each 100 times… to total a 10,000 chews for good fortune… which I think you won’t be left with any teeth before you even get to have good fortune…)

Now, enough with the “believe it or not” and back to the tasting. “Dan-Pat Juk” usually can’t be too un-tasty, because it is super sweet and anything sweet is tasty according to my husband. But of course there are more tastier ones, like the “Dan-Pat Juk” at the “Second Best…” which you can taste and feel that this “Dan-Pat Juk” has been made in the traditional way, which takes a long time and lots of effort to continuously stir boiled and simmered red-bean to make it soft and porridge-like without getting it too soggy. The “Dan-Pat Juk” here has a very smooth sweet taste that just continues on endlessly, which then you find the chewy and bland “Sae Als” down below when you feel you need to balance out the sweetness for a while to enjoy more of this treat. The little spice from the ginger hidden inside also adds more taste and scent to an already perfect dessert.

The “Daechu Cha” here is also one with a very smooth sweet taste that warms you up and fills you with the scent of Korean jujube as you sip through it, but it is one that might make it too sweet if you eat it together with the “Dan-Pat Juk” at the same time, so take turns.

The “Dan-Pat Juk” here is truly something special that you keep on craving of once you are finished with it that hold a very “Korean” like smooth sweetness that is a must try for those who want to try out a Korean dessert that even defeats ghosts… but for those ones who don’t enjoy sweetness this might be a little too sweet for you altogether.


​122-1 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울 종로구 삼청로 122-1

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