치맥 – Chimeg Anyone?

Still on the first day of our most recent Korean trip and there’s more food to come! Can you believe we could still eat? Yes, if you have been following my blog, lol… 😉

Seoul Korea Day 1

Strolling after dinner at Hwago Jip.

Seoul Korea Day 1

What’s that stall selling? Errh, not greedy but just curious.

Seoul Korea Day 1

Seafood stall boasting of items we would have to pay through the nose in Singapore!

Seoul Korea Day 1

While hotel hunting, we came across Hwangudan Altar and Gate, next to a hotel we have shortlisted in the city.

Hwangudan (Wongudan) Altar and Gate refers to an altar complex for the rites of heaven. It is a 3-storey temple building used to keep tablets of the heaven gods as well as a place for sacrifices to these gods.

The first rites were performed in the Goryeo Dynasty by King Seongjong during the 2nd year of his reign. The rite was repeatedly adopted and abolished and eventually stopped at the start of the Joseon Dynasty.

The rite was revived again in 1897 when King Gojong ascended as the first emperor and proclaimed the founding of the Empire of Korea, doing away the Joseon Dynasty. This marked the end of the traditional Chinese tributary system in the Far East. By adopting the status of an empire, Korea was declaring independence from Qing China and thus implemented the “full and complete” independence of Korea as recognised in 1895.

In 1913, the Japanese destroyed most of the Hwangudan Altar complex to make way for a hotel but the altar, small gates and stone drums were left untouched.

In 2007 the main gate to this area was discovered and restored. Hwangungu Shrine and the 3 stone drums (which symbolise the instruments used for the rites) currently stand at the location of the former altar complex, in front of Seoul City Hall Plaza and facing Deoksugung Palace.

We went back to the boutique hotel and checked out several other hotels and after another hour’s of deliberation, we decided on The Shilla, Seoul.

We did not check out of this hotel immediately. We kept our luggage there, bringing only the necessities for the night. If we didn’t like the new hotel, we could always come back here. After all, this hotel had been paid in full. It’s clean but the air conditioning for the whole building was broken. If we leave the windows open, the lively night entertainment music’s would disturb our rest. So off we go, keeping our fingers crossed that the new place would give us some peaceful slumber.

Seoul Korea Day 1

The face on this flower reminded me of our schnauzer, Pepper, who had passed on.

Seoul Korea Day 1

This street, where the Don Chicken outlet we visited is located, is very lively at night.

We were walking out onto the main road to look for a cab. Everywhere we went, within a stone’s throw, we saw small and cozy Korean-style pubs serving fried or oven-baked chicken and draft beer (some are freshly brewed, too). It was already very late, after midnight and perhaps nearing 2 o’clock in the morning. We were tired but then we saw this place called Don “Chikin” & Hof.

“치맥 – Chimeg anyone?”

Jjajangmyeon would have to wait…

Seoul Korea Day 1

And then we saw Don Chicken Hof!

Some backgorund: Korea in the ’70s and ’80s – Roasted whole chicken dish called 통닭 (tongdak) was a rare treat served only during special occasions. In these modern times, fried or oven-baked chicken are coined from the English word chicken (치킨 pronounced as chikin) to differentiate this dish from tongdak.

The Germans set foot in Korea in 1832 and one theory is that the term “Hof” came from “Hofbräuhaus”, the name of a famous brewery in Germany. The second theory, as some folks are convinced, is that “Hof” is simply a mispronunciation of hops, the ingredient which gives beer its bitter flavour.

The two popular brands of beer (맥주 – pronounced as megju) in South Korea, in no particular order, are Cass and Hite. Korean beers are typically very crisp and not bitter in taste (or at least to me) so I do not think “Hof” (호프 pronounced as Hopeu) was meant as hops. In today’s context, “Hof” is your typical neighbourhood pub where beers and non-substantial bar food are served.

Another meaning for “Hof” is akin to a culture rather than just a place to eat; where regular office workers and almost anyone of age heads to after they’d had dinner to eat again (like what we are doing now) and have a few good light crisp beers before proceeding on to heavier drinks like soju, which we dare not tread into as Ryan & Valerie has to get up at 5am for their wedding photography session.

The current trend in Korean food culture, which is building its momentum quite strongly in Singapore, is “Chimeg”, the abbreviation of “chikin” and “megju”. And especially so after the launch of Korean drama series “별에서 온 그대 – You Who Come From The Star”, for those who have watched it; every depressed person wants a chimeg when their mood swings (just like the lead actress) 😉

So if someone asks “치맥 – Chimeg?” You’ll know it means “Do you want Chicken + Beer?” 😀

KFC or Korean Fried Chicken is actually crispy oven-baked chicken that has incredibly thin crusty skin even if any flour batter had been used. They are also less greasy. I don’t know how they do it in the oven but it can become addictive!

And if I ever crave for Chimeg in Singapore, “Chicken Up Korean Restaurant” is the place to go! If you don’t mind them hot, “Spicy Chicken Up” is the flavour to order. Soya Chicken is a good alternative for those who cannot handle hot stuff :p

They served oven baked instead of deep-fried but the chicken pieces were really crispy outside yet retain juiciness within.

They served oven baked instead of deep-fried but the chicken pieces were really crispy outside yet retain juiciness within.

Seoul Korea Day 1

Crackers that weren’t crunchy but rather soft.

Seoul Korea Day 1

We ordered Fresh beer (meaning fresh brewed or new beer).

Seoul Korea Day 1

Pickled mu (Korean radish) is included as a side dish.
The crunchy sweet and sour daikon radish cubes were so appetising, we asked for another.

Seoul Korea Day 1

Now do you believe me when I said the outside were REALLY crispy? 🙂

Seoul Korea Day 1

Dipping sauces, regular and spicy but I had none of that – too sweet and thick for my taste.
The chicken were quite tasty on their own but if I had to pick one, I’ll take the spicy dip anytime.

Seoul Korea Day 1

See the sign on the wall behind us?
Don Chicken.
But I cannot find the address online.

Seoul Korea Day 1

돈치킨 HOF simply means Don Chicken Pub.
Can you make out the address on the right next to the word “HOF”?

Don Chicken Hof
Seoul, South Korea.
It’s a chain restaurant and there are a few outlets across the city. I couldn’t find the address for the one we visited. I’ll try to update the address which is actually on one of the photos above with their tel number (+82) 7553647.

Chicken Up Korean Restaurant (치맥집)
Address: 48 Tanjong Pagar Rd,
Singapore 088469.

Tel:(+65) 6327 1203

Operating hours: Daily (after office hours of course!)
5:30 pm – 2:00 am

Happy discovering 🙂

P.S. After we checked into the hotel, we called for Jjajanmyeon delivery but the shopkeeper told us The Shilla does not allow outside delivery. See my previous post on The Silla, Seoul by clicking here.

You will easily find Chikin (KFC) and Chimeg available on streets and for take-outs in Korea, too.

2 Responses to “치맥 – Chimeg Anyone?”
  1. Shanice Lim says:

    Looks so yummy!! I think I’ll have KFC for dinner tomorrow night… 😛 Can I ask what camera and lens you use?? Your pictures look gorgeous 😉

    • Sam Han says:

      I dun use this gear often but I’m using 24-70mm f2.8 lens on a canon 5DMk3 coz it’s my daughter’s pre-wed trip. Enjoy your KFC. No maekju unless you qualify, lol… 🙂

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