OWL Magazine Korea

Gwanghwamun Kongnamul Gukbap Restaurant ‘SamBaekJip’ at Gyeongbokgung Station

SamBaekJip is currently operated as a franchise restaurant. The original store is located in Jeonju, and its name originates from the fact that they only sold “three hundred bowls a day.”

The founder of SamBaekJip, Grandma Lee Bongsoon, never sold more than three hundred bowls, no matter how many customers came. When three hundred bowls were sold, even if it was still morning, she would close the doors. This reputation led many to refer to this signless restaurant as “SamBaekJip.”

“Featured in Heo Young-man’s Sikgaek”

The original store of SamBaekJip, which has been in operation for over 70 years since around 1947 in Jeonju, is currently being continued by the representative of the Jeonju main store, President Cho Jeongrae, following in the footsteps of his grandmother and mother.

SamBaekJip is introduced as a traditional famous restaurant that even appeared in Heo Young-man’s Sikgaek.

“SamBaekJip Gyeongbokgung Station Branch”

As mentioned above, SamBaekJip is a restaurant operated as a franchise. While the original store is in Jeonju, you can find “SamBaekJip” in various places throughout Seoul.

The flagship menu of SamBaekJip consists of two representative dishes of Jeonju: “Kongnamul Gukbap” (Bean Sprout Rice Soup) and “Bibimbap.” Among these, SamBaekJip is more famous for its Kongnamul Gukbap.

In the case of the Gyeongbokgung Station branch, it can be found right in front of Exit 4 of Gyeongbokgung Station, near the alley where many hanbok rental shops are clustered.

The Gyeongbokgung Station branch consists of a total of two floors, and even from a distance, you can notice the building with round-shaped windows.

“Kongnamul Gukbap 8,500 KRW”

Among the two representative dishes that you can taste at SamBaekJip, this time I tried the Kongnamul Gukbap. It can be considered the representative dish of SamBaekJip.

After ordering the menu, simple side dishes of kimchi and sliced radish kimchi are served. They also provide a sheet of dried seaweed, which you can choose to put in the rice soup according to your preference. Personally, I prefer to crush the seaweed and mix it with the rice soup, so I had my meal that way this time as well.

“Enjoying SamBaekJip to the Fullest”

On one side, there is a guide on how to fully enjoy SamBaekJip, and the content is as follows:

  1. The shrimp soy sauce is clean and neat for the rice soup.
  2. The jangjorim (soy-braised beef) is generously seasoned for adjusting the rice soup.
  3. It tastes delicious when paired with moju (traditional rice wine).
  4. You get a discount when ordering a set menu.
  5. For hangover relief, haenam-ban (a type of pickled radish) is refreshing.
  6. Crush the kim into the rice soup or wrap kongnamul (bean sprouts) to eat.

“Jeonju’s Traditional Liquor, Moju”

Moju is one of the three representative foods of Jeonju. It is a traditional liquor of the Jeonju region, with an alcohol content of only about 1 to 2 degrees, making it a very mild alcoholic beverage.

Moju is made using traditional Korean medicine ingredients, including makgeolli (rice wine), fruit preserves, cinnamon, licorice, jujube, and black sugar. It is a light drink with low alcohol content and the addition of herbal ingredients, making it easy to consume even for those with a low alcohol tolerance. Since SamBaekJip is also based in Jeonju, you can taste “moju” there as well.

I didn’t try moju this time as I came for a simple lunch, but visiting later in the evening and pairing kongnamul gukbap or Jeonju bibimbap with moju can be an interesting combination.

As a place where you can taste the representative dishes of Jeonju in Seoul, it is a restaurant where you can enjoy a hearty meal without any pressure.

“Gwanghwamun, SamBaekJip Gyeongbokgung Station Branch”

  • Address: 133-3 Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Phone: 02-725-7555
  • Operating Hours: (Mon-Fri) 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM, (Sat-Sun) 7:00 AM – 10:30 PM
  • Website: http://www.300zip.com