Address: 265-22, Jongno 5-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Located in an inconspicuous alley in the Dongdaemun district, Jin Ok Hwa Original Chicken Restaurant is certainly not easy to find – we keep going around in circles in the area before we finally find this restaurant, but it turns out to be completely worthwhile.
Opened in 1978, Jin Ok Hwa is one of the most famous restaurants in Seoul that specialise in chicken pot. Only fresh young chickens, about 35 days old, and minimal seasoning is used to produce their signature chicken chicken broth, which is deeply flavourful, clean tasting and completely satisfying. The service is not too enthusiastic but fortunately very efficient, and there are also many Mandarin speaking staff to serve Chinese tourists.
One chicken soup pot is suitable for 2-3 persons. A waiter brings us a metal pot containing clear soup, a barely cooked baby chicken and some ginger and chives.
The waiter then uses a pair of scissors to cut the chicken into smaller, edible pieces and the whole pot is then boiled in order to fully cook the chicken.
We can start eating the chicken once it is fully cooked. Now, we can also add some Korean rice cakes, which are deliciously gelatinous and chewy. The rice cakes should be added before the noodles as these take longer to cook.
After adding the rice rolls, we can add the restaurant’s house made noodles, which are smooth and soft and are perfect for absorbing the intense chicken broth flavours.
You can have a plain chicken broth pot, or you can add the restaurant’s homemade kimchi to the pot. The kimchi here is quite watery compared with kimchi at other restaurants, but works very well when added to the chicken pot.
If you wish, you can add rice to the chicken pot at the end to make a thick chicken congee, but we are way too stuffed for that. This is what the chicken pot looks like when we finish. It doesn’t look too pretty, but we have such a great time eating it.
This restaurant pretty much serves chicken pots and nothing else, so there are no desserts. There are some soft drinks and alcohol available, and we like this Korean canned tea.
This feast only costs around HK$250 per head, which is very reasonable. The chicken pot completely satisfies us from the stomach to the soul, particularly so as Seoul can get quite cold at night and the hot, steaming chicken pot just completely hits the spot.