It is said that tteok galbi (Korean beef patties) originated from Damyang, Korea. To get a taste of this famous dish, my food crew and I headed over to Deokin Gwan (덕인관). After the popularity of its first establishment the restaurant opened up more locations. The particular one we went to happened to be the same spot where they shot "2 Days & 1 Night." Yup. Comedian and ex-wrestler Kang Hodong ate here.
You can't help but love the photo of the grandmother on the storefront. No doubt she's the owner. The restaurant name is in Chinese, so don't look for Korean letters and end up passing by it!
Our table was already prepared for us when we entered the room. The pan of tteok galbi was ready for action along with a colorful set of banchan (sidedishes). Expect stronger flavors in Jeollado cuisine compared to Seoul. As said by my native Korean friend, kimchi in the Jeollado Province contains more jeotgal than Seoul Kimchi. Generally speaking food in Seoul tastes sweeter than its southern counterparts. PS: Don't be too surprised about the bill placed on the table before even having your first bite.
Sizzle sizzle. The sound of tteok galbi heaven. Eat the outer parts, put the bone back on the pan, then chew off the final bits. I recommend going ssam style. Take a leaf of lettuce and place a piece of meat on top. Maybe even add in a slice of kimchi. Whatever makes your heart fly, put it all in. Wrap up the goodies and into the mouth!
The tteok galbi at the first Deokin Gwan location tastes even better I hear.
The chueotang (추어탕) looked more spicy than it actually was. The soup tasted healthy, which is a positive or negative connotation depending on your perspective on food. Being a lover of vegetables and herbal medicine, I thoroughly enjoyed the chueotang. This particular soup contained baby bamboo, which is not found in your average chueotang. Why? Many bamboo trees grow in Damyang, thus they end up using them in their cuisine.
Rice, gingko, mushroom and pumpkin seed steamed in a bamboo shoot. So magical. A vegan dream come true.
You can sit in the more open and public area or go into one of the rooms. Just remember to take your shoes off :)
Address (in Korean): 전라남도 담양군 담양읍 죽향대로 1121 (담양읍)
Address: (in English): 408-5, Baekdong-ri, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do