Hoya (호야) – Finally, Some Fresh Sushi

There’s not much good sushi in Korea. Actually I haven’t really had any. But to be honest I’ve been spoiled by a mother who loves sushi and constantly took me to the best sushi spot in California, Sushi Ota. Wow, I just visited Ota’s website for the first time… I wonder if Ota has ever visited his website. His restaurant is gorgeous and his fish are pristine, but that website is hideous. Anyhow, I’m spoiled by good fish, so it’s hard for me to eat sushi in Korea. My mother flatly refuses to do so. But luckily my friend introduced me to Hoya here last year and it’s the only place I’ll go back to. Honestly the fish isn’t amazing, but for Korean standards, and at their price point, it is definitely worth the value. That’s not a flattering way to put it. Simply, it’s good, at a good price.

Typically there is a 15-20 minute wait, but we went at about 6:00pm on a Monday and were able to sit after a 5 minute wait. To get in line you enter the door on the right and the sushi chef will ask you how many people in your party. Then he’ll instruct you to take a magnet from the wall with a certain number, and you step back outside to wait for your table to be ready. If your Korean isn’t up to snuff just use some fingers to make sure you get the right number.

We ordered two items, the salmon sashimi plate and the special Hoya sushi mix.

Salmon Sashimi (연어회 Yun-uh hweh) 20,000

There are like four salmon fish on this plate. It’s huge. I’ve ordered this at least four times at this restaurant and me and my friends have never actually been able to finish everything. I learned my lesson this last time, and I probably won’t order it again for a table of two. Salmon is just too oily and rich to each so much of. It actually started making me feel funny when I ate about half this plate on my own. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it was just too much of one fish. This item is one of the more popular here, I usually see it on about half of the tables. Also I see a lot of people take part of it home, so that’s a good strategy.

I really like their wasabi. It has more of  a subtle flavor than the tube variety. I think they make it in house.

Hoya Special (특호야 Teok Hoya) 13,500w
Everything on here was quite good. The most important quality for fish is that its fresh. Freshness is only possible with consistent sales which allows for accurate supply ordering. Because this restaurant does so much business, their fish is top quality.

Another great part of this restaurant is that they give so many free side dishes (반찬). All of the following were totally free.

If you don’t speak Korean… good luck. :)

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A nice little spot for some great sushi at a great price.

English Name: Hoya
Korean Name: 호야
English Address: 12-36 Hwayang-dong Gwangjin-gu Seoul
Korean Address: 서울특별시 광진구 화양동 12-36
Phone Number: 02.461.3739, 010.3759.8439

Keith KimJuly 5, 2013 - 7:29 AM

I ate here! It’s famous locally. Nice fat slices of salmon. Good price too!

Matt UnruhSeptember 5, 2013 - 8:31 AM

I love this place. I was there at closing time once and the chef kept giving us free sashimi and beer.

Bau House Dog Cafe 바우하우스 애견카페

Bau House Dog Cafe. This place moved recently. This is the new location, not the old.

I first went to Bau House about 4 months ago, several days after picking up my golden retriever puppy, Toby. By the way, Toby is an amazing dog. He is always in a good mood and has absolutely no fear. He’s Doug from Up. Not many dog cafes in Seoul let you bring in a dog, so I was happy to discover Bau House not only allowed outside dogs, but had almost 20 in house dogs and a large play area. So that first day we walk into Bau House and 20 dogs, many over 30-40kgs, assault Toby’s ass for a good sniff. Toby just walks by, tail up and wagging, and ducks between legs trying to sniff right back. He then settles into a good play biting session with an adult golden.

Since that time I’ve been back to Bau House at least half a dozen times. It’s a great place where I can bring Toby and hang out with some friends, and meet some other great dogs. All of the dogs here are well balanced, non-aggressive, and really funny. There’s one golden lab there who is just so fat I’m always afraid I won’t see her the next time I come. She rolls around from table to table begging for treats, and never plays much with the other dogs.

So Bau House is a great spot. Entrance is free for one hour with the order of a drink. Supposedly they charge a bit more if you bring a dog for longer than 30 minutes or stay for longer than an hour, but they’ve never enforced this on me. I can’t speak much for the quality of their drinks. Every time I go I get the same Plain Yogurt Smoothie. It’s really good. Bau House also has dog hotel and dog daycare services, and sells ridiculously overpriced pet supplies.

As you enter there’s a smaller area for smaller dogs. If you’re hesitant to jump in with the big boys you can stay back here for a while.

Then when you’re ready, head through the gate and be prepared to have your ass nuzzled by several dozen large dogs. That’s Toby there on the left in the next photo, protesting me leaving him in there while I grab a photo.

I love the layout here. There’s a large play areas for the dogs to run around, tables on the outside, and even a counter top behind the tables for dogs to run around. Many of the smaller dogs (and some of the bigger ones) will use that counter to sneak up behind you and snatch at your treats or drinks. Keep a good lookout. Or they may even take a fat poop near your head. Poop, by the way, and piss, is always cleaned up instantly by the workers here. You’d think that this place smells like dog, but actually it smells more like bleach and cleaner.

During my last visit I ran into an 8 week old golden retriever. Toby was never this cute. He spent his first 9 weeks in an unheated hut outside in Dec and Jan and his fur was trashed by the time I got him. So it was nice to meet this gorgeous little guy. Toby there looks happy to see him too.

Here’s a list of all the dogs who call Bau House their permanent home. It must be a pretty good life for a dog. Toby spends 90% of his time locked up in my house dying of boredom.

And when we finally left Toby needed to take a rest outside.

English Name: Bau House Dog Cafe
Korean Name: 바우하우스 애견카페
English Address: 394-44 Sukyodong Mapogu Seoul
Korean Address: 서울시 마포구 서교동 394-44
Phone Number: 02.334.5152
Hours: Weekdays: 13:30-23:00 Weekends+Holidays: 12:30-23:00
Website: http://cafe.daum.net/BAUhouse/

Exit Hapjeong Station (합정역) exit 3 and turn around, then make an immediate left into the alley. Then look to the right after 20 seconds.
Or, find this cafe on the map.

Kirsty Louise StevensonMarch 31, 2014 - 7:46 AM


I saw the same golden retriever when I visited the cafe in July, too cute! Your Toby looks lovely, by the way.

HongCho (홍초) – My New Addiction

I have a new addiction: Hongcho, a pomegranate and vinegar concentrate. It’s hot these days and I’m sweating constantly. Last night I woke up every few hours in pools of my own sweat after my dog kept nudging my fan away from me. Little brat. It’s hot, and will only get hotter, and I’m drinking a lot of water to make up for it. Recently I found this drink at my local super market and it’s a great addition to water. It’s easily found at any supermarket and I’ve seen it at some convenient stores as well. It’s also made in blueberry and raspberry I think.


New Village Restaurant (새마을식당)

새마을식당 aka… pure awesome. This is my go-to restaurant when my friends visit from America. Should you doubt it’s supremacy simply type 새마을식당 into Google Maps and see the multitude of dots. It looks like chicken pox has taken over Korea. A delicious chicken pox. I’m fairly certain it is the most numerous chain in Korea; I seem to find a new one every week.

I’m a fan of restaurants that have limited menu options but do those few items well. That’s what 새마을식당 does. By far they’re most famous for their Pork 불고기 (bulgogi). Although bulgogi is usually made by boiling meat with soy sauce and sugar, 새마을식당 has totally redone theirs by cooking it on a grill with their unique special sauce. The sauce is magical. Spicy, but not too much. Slightly tangy. It has that unique sauce quality that is very flavorful but you can eat for hours.

열탄불고기 – Coal Bulgogi 7,000₩

The port neck meat was just as good as it looks. Unmarinated. Just dip in a little sugar and enjoy.

항정살 – Pork Neck Meat 10,000₩

Next up is the Kimchi Jjigae (김치찌개) and Doenjang JJigae (된장찌개). I’ve had lots of kimchee jjigaes (korean stews) in my life. Kimchi Jjigae a staple in my family and my grandmother makes me about a gallon every few months. But as awesome as my grandmother’s is, she can’t hold a candle to this bonfire. Lots of people come here for lunch just for these. The style served here is unique. Take the jjigae and mix it with rice and geem (seaweed).

7분돼지김치 – Kimchee Chigae 6,000₩

새마을된장찌개 – Doenjang Jjigae

It’s traditional practice to finish a meaty meal with either a rice or noodle dish. So either you can order one of the above jjigaes, or go for my favorite, Cold Kimchi Noodle Soup.

Cold Kimchee Noodle Soup (냉김치말이국수 naeng kimchi mal-ee guk-su) 4,000₩

A unique and wonderful take on bulgogi and jjigae. Everything on the menu is amazing.

English Name: New Village Restaurant
Korean Name: 새마을식당
Phone Number: 031.204.0778
Website: http://www.newmaul.com/

To find it in your neighborhood, type in 새마을식당 in the map.

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Alice ChoiJuly 9, 2013 - 4:02 AM

OMG, your photos are amazing! Beautiful.

Guide to the Best Korean-Style Noodles | Seoulistic – Korea SimplifiedJuly 9, 2013 - 10:00 AM

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There’s only one thing on the menu… MEAT. Galbi. Just lightly marinated galbi served with some dipping sauce, garlic and peppers. There’s nothing to distract you here. Not even chairs. The name of this place is 서서갈비, which literally translates to Standing Meat. Love it. Why not. Actually when we asked for rice we were told they don’t serve it and when we asked why the couple next to us had some we were told they had brought it yourself. So… take note… if you want to eat rice with that meat, bring some yourself.

We went there on a Tuesday afternoon around 2pm and the place still had a good crowd, but more notably, it had a drinking crowd. The old business men in suits next to us were tossing back the soju, as were several other people around. I’m really curious what this place looks like on a Fri/Sat night, but I’m guessing it’s lines out the doors with people throwing up around the corner.

So when we came in, no menu was given, nor even an order. Literally about 5 seconds after walking up to a ‘table’ a lady just came up and threw two portions of meat on the grill. No words, exchanged, not even eye contact. So if you’re a foreigner with a phobia of language barrier… fear not.

The decor is simple… and old actually. It’s definitely not a sexy place to bring a first date, but it is what it is. And it’s successful, and delicious. Unfortunately because they only serve Korean meat, it’s 14,000 a person at a minimum, and I still felt a little hungry afterwards.

Simple, delicious galbi joint with the quark of having standing room only. One thing on the menu:

English Name: Standing Meat
Korean Name: 서서갈비
English Address: 109-69 Nogosan-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul
Korean Address: 서울시 마포구 노고산동 109-69
Phone Number: 02.716.2520
Price: Galbi 14,000₩ each
Hours: 12:00PM-8:00PM

From Shinchon Station (신촌역) take exit 7 and… actually just follow this map.

Or find this place on the map.

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