Gobchang Gui — Revisited

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Gobchang

I talked about Gobchang Gui 곱창 구이 in one of the ZKFJ’s first posts. It’s so good that I need to talk about it again.

I have had it a few times, and no place beat the little place I used to go to in Ansan until now. A new restaurant has opened at the end of the strip in Beomgye that has quickly grown popular. Friday night, Eun Jeong had me wait for her while she talked serious business with a co-worker. She said she’d be just an hour. It ended up being two. Most of the restaurants had closed or were closing when we met each other. She was also apologetic and very hungry. So she was quite receptive when I suggested having Gobchang for dinner.

It’s not that she doesn’t like Gobchang. She just considers it man food.

We entered the restaurant, and the worried waitress met us at the door. I heard her telling Eun Jeong in Korean that foreigners would be too scared of Gobchang to eat it. Eun Jeong reassured her that I not only knew what I was in for, I actually was a big fan of the little cow intestines.

She was so thrilled that she spent a lot of time prepping our meal in front of us and made little packets of meat wrapped in Korean chives individually for us to eat. She talked and talked about how her restaurant’s Gobchang was the best.

Beef Heart wrapped in Korean Chives

And we agree.

It was the first time I had seen Eun Jeong get excited about the flavors exploding in her mouth while eating Gobchang. This particular restaurant has a really good tangy marinade, and the intestines themselves taste squeaky clean with bacony overtones.

Accompanying the Gobchang in the pan were Makchang (slice large intestine), beef heart, and tripe. If you’ve never had beef heart, you’re missing out. It has a beefier flavor than steak and is as tender as filet mignon. The Makchang was a first for me. The texture was a bit squeaky, but it still had that fried fat flavor that I was in the mood for.

As mentioned before, the method at this particular restaurant was to put some marinated Korean chives in the pan to cook them a bit. Then wrap a morsel of meat in the chives, dip in a sweet vinegar sauce, and eat. The potatoes came out perfectly crispy, having been frying in the fat from the meatier ingredients.

Again, there is no reason to fear Gobchang. If you’ve ever had a really good sausage with trademark *snap*, then you’ve eaten intestines. Love to break it to you. And this place has to be good to get Eun Jeong raving about the meal days later, saying that she wants to go back some day.

ADDENDUM: Per request I took a picture of the restaurant’s sign recently when I was in the area for those of you wanting to track it down.

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10 thoughts on “Gobchang Gui — Revisited”

  1. Well, as a someone raised on Soul Food, we know that poor folks have had to use every part of the animal possible. That means the intestines and other organs too. I love Southern chitlins and hog maws. My mom prepped them in a way that they’re as clean as any other part of the animal. That “ewwwwwww” reaction people have is just well, tired. Once it’s done, the taste is pretty amazing.

    “She just considers it man food.” Food is gender-specific? I guess the equivalent could be the “meat and potatoes” idea of a man back in the States, but, beyond that, I’m completely perplexed.

    I gotta say the one thing that irks me about Koreans sometimes is this lumping of all foreigners together. So reading this bugs me, “I heard her telling Eun Jeong in Korean that foreigners would be too scared of Gobchang to eat it.”

    Yes, I know folks back home (hell, foreigners even here) do it. I’ve got relatives that refuse to distinguish Korean, from Japanese, from Chinese. That was infuriating to me before I’d lived here or traveled anywhere at length, so maybe I’ve always been wired to be a bit more sensitive to it.

    But back to Koreans doing it. I know that in some situations they’re trying to avoid some disappointment or displeasure. But the flip side is they assume that we’re all alike.

    I guess it’s easy to do as they’re part of a homogeneous society, so others must be too. But a foreigner from the US midwest is probably going to be very different from someone raised in a bustling city with ethnic groups from all over or someone raised in a or family that relocated and traveled for the military or business a lot. Likewise, they’re going to have differing capacities to appreciate food.

    I just find the shock to be so ignorant that a foreign palette can not only appreciate but even like their food beyond boring ass bimbimbap (I like it but, gah, yes I “know” bi fucking bimbap). Maybe it’s due to a generation interacting primarily with only a small selection of foreigners after the Korean War from military, business or aid organizations.

    Simply put, not every foreigner has white bread tastes in food. Those that do I’m not hanging with for long, to be honest.

    :::stepping down from the ‘not again’ soapbox:::

    Anyway, I’m glad you found a new great place. Since this one sounds great, I hope that “curse” you’ve mentioned before doesn’t impact this lady’s business.

    Reply
  2. Yes, there are some things that I would classify as “man food.” It’s not that only men eat it, but it’s a class of food that is signified by testosterone-driven one-upmanship, non-pretentious messy presentation, and most always unhealthy — inducing one to drink beers and liquors without paper umbrellas and watch violent sports on TV.

    Think of Superbowl food, and that’s man food in America. Sliders, Buffalo wings, messy Beef-on-Weck.

    In Korea, I’ve noticed that there are some restaurants that are heavily customed by men, and the food has similar qualities to Superbowl food. So as a shorthand, I call it “man food.”

    Also, the lady made the comment about foreigners because a female English teacher came into the restaurant and ran out when she realized what they were serving.

    Reply

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