What is Jjigae?
Jjigae is a stew usually made with kimchi, tofu, onions, scallions, and a bit of pork or seafood to flavor it. This is one of the staples of South Korea and it can be found in most restaurants. The ingredients can vary, but most of the jjigae that you will find in Korea will be kimchi, chamchi (Mackerel), gochujang (spicy pepper) or doenjang jigae (fermented soybean paste). It can be quite spicy for some, so it’s a nice choice to eat on cold days or when you are sick.
Why is this unique?
Many people have tried the other types of jjigaes, but this is the first time in the two year period where I have found a restaurant to put in a whole chicken with the pot of jjigae. The official name for this dish is 닭한마리 김치찌개 (whole chicken kimchi jjigae). While this may have been around for a while, it seems fairly new compared to the other jjigaes that have been offered.
The pot was massive. The first time I went to this restaurant, I went with three other people and we barely finished it. Since then, my girlfriend and I have been doing quite well doing some damage with just the two of us. This is understandable because imagine a whole chicken being able to fit inside a pot. It would need to be quite large in order to fit all of the ingredients. Since this is a lot of food for two to three people, you would need to arrive hungry in order to get your money’s worth.
It’s usually about ₩18,000 or about $16.79. This is a great deal considering you would normally share this with a few people. Even in the case of two people, the price is very affordable. Another bonus about living in Korea is that most of the meals over here are cheap, so eating out becomes almost the same as cooking your own food. At times, it can even be cheaper depending on the dish you are planning on making.
We went to a chain restaurant called Myeong-Dong Jjigae Maeul 명동 찌개 마을 in Sang-Dong. There are other locations so look it up on Google Maps or Naver for the nearest one to you. As far as I know this dish is either fairly new, or I am just late to the jjigae game and I have been only picking up on it recently. Either way, it’s worth a shot.
This dish is best eaten or shared with other people. I recommend that if one were to share this among four people with some beer and soju, this would be the perfect amount. For those of you who have dietary restrictions regarding religion, eating regimens, allergies, or other issues, having chicken and veggies is a nice alternative. Check out the video on youtube to see what it looks like first hand on Talks Eats Jams!