OWL Magazine Korea

Gongdeok Culinary Gem: Heungseon Daewongun’s Retreat ‘Asojeong’

Asojeong served as the retreat for Heungseon Daewongun. Located in what is now Yeomni-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, at the current site of Dongdo Middle School and Seoul Design High School.

Asodang, a mansion with seventy-nine rooms, including Aso Hall, was partially relocated to Bongwonsa in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul (near Yonsei University) due to the expansion of Dongdo Middle and Industrial High School (the former name of Seoul Design High School) after the Korean War. Now, only the cornerstone of the well attached to Aso Hall remains in a corner of the schoolyard.

“Asojeong: Mocking Myself.”

It is known that Heungseon Daewongun, who spent his final days at Asojeong, reflected on the impermanence of his life. When his grandson Junyong was also exiled during Emperor Gwangmu’s reign in April 1985, due to the influence of Empress Myeongseong, Heungseon Daewongun, enraged and planning to leave the city, was prohibited and ended up staying at Asojeong.

Here, Daewongun, who essentially began a life of seclusion, named it “Asojeong: Mocking Myself,” meaning he ridicules himself, looking back on the transient nature of his life. The aged and ailing Daewongun received the news of Lady Min’s death here and he, too, passed away at Asojeong in February 1902.

“Gongdeok Station Vicinity Eatery: Asojeong”

You can find a restaurant named “Asojeong,” which was the name of Heungseon Daewongun’s retreat, in the vicinity of Gongdeok. It is a restaurant located near the previous site of Asojeong, known for its Gungjung Galbi Jjim (royal court-style braised short ribs) and Hamheung Naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles).

Nearby, there is a place called “Eulmil-dae,” which is famous for Pyongyang Naengmyeon (Pyongyang-style cold buckwheat noodles). Asojeong is renowned for its Bibim Naengmyeon (spicy cold buckwheat noodles) rather than Pyongyang Naengmyeon, so if you visit, trying both the Galbi Jjim and Hamheung Naengmyeon is a must.

“A Traditional Hanok Space, Ideal for Gatherings with Atmosphere”

Asojeong is a space renovated from a traditional Hanok (Korean-style house). It is structured in the shape of the Korean character “ㅁ.” In the past, there was a table for sitting and dining, but upon revisiting after a long time, I found that it had been changed to a table setting. As a result, in the past, you had to remove your shoes before entering, but now you can enter without taking off your shoes.

During this visit, I ordered Galbitang (short rib soup) and Bibim Naengmyeon to taste. Even though it was a place I visited again after a long time, the taste remained the same. Due to recent inflation, the prices have become somewhat burdensome, with Bibim Naengmyeon priced at 10,000 KRW and Galbitang at 13,000 KRW, but it is a place where you can have a hearty meal.

“Seoul Gongdeok Culinary Gem: Heungseon Daewongun’s Retreat, Asojeong”

  • Address: 9 Baekbeom-ro 25-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-703-5959
  • Operating Hours: (Daily) 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM (Break Time) 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM