Mapo-Ok & Korean Seolleongtang

Mapo-Ok is a located a few blocks from the Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea.  It’s one of the long standing Korean restaurants in Seoul.

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Mapo-Ok stems from over 60 years of tradition and history all crammed in a little bowl soup.   The restaurant is a humble little shop on the second floor in Seoul’s Yonggang-dong district.  It’s filled with old Korean men enjoying a bowl of soup and they all look hungover.  It’s a few blocks from the Mapo stop on line 5, so it’s very accessible like a late night booty call.

Mapo-Ok's Kimchi
Mapo-Ok’s Kimchi

Mapo-Ok was on my list of things to eat.  It was one of the million things on the Korean culinary list I wanted to stuff my face with; unfortunately, as my trip progressed, my ambitious list started to get smaller and smaller until I was a broken man who couldn’t fulfill his life long dream of eating a thousand pounds of food in 5 days.  It was heartbreaking like when your booty call decides to go home cause you spent all your money on food.

Mapo-Ok is a humble restaurant.  The service is fantastic and it has the signature service bell.  Also, it has the typical local Korean restaurant vibe with older Korean women serving older Korean men then walking away mumbling something and rolling their eyes.  It’s like every marriage in the States before equal rights.

Mapo-Ok is known for one thing — ox bone soup.  The ox bone soup (i.e., Seolleongtang) is a hearty bowl serve year round.  It comes with tender meat chunks and glass noodles; the two are paired into a soothing milky broth that has been boiled for a few hours.  The comforting taste resembles Vietnamese pho; however, the main difference is the milky color due from the bone marrow.  The Koreans do know how to live it up.  Where can you go in the world to drink all night at Itaewon then wake up to a bone marrow soup?   Only in Seoul cause Itaewon is located in Seoul.

Mapo-Ok's Ox Bone Soupe
Mapo-Ok’s Ox Bone Soupe

Mapo-Ok is definitely must visit.  The comforting taste is perfect for the morning after a night of drinking like Plan B.   It’s only about 7 USD, which is cheaper than a drink in Itaewon.   It’s hard to resist like a late night booty call unless you have better options.

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  • 6.5/10
    Service - 6.5/10
  • 6/10
    Presentation - 6/10
  • 8.5/10
    Flavors - 8.5/10
  • 6/10
    Decor - 6/10
  • 5/10
    Ambiance - 5/10
6.4/10

Summary

Mapo-Ok’s ox bone soup is the best in the business. The restaurant has been in business for more than 60 years and it’s the only place to get the milky broth in Seoul. In addition, it’s fun to watch the women roll their eyes at the older men.

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