“Flavorful Vegetarian Noodles”
If you are looking for a simple meal for lunch, Kalguksu is the answer.
Kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles handmade from wheat flour, translates literally to “knife noodles” in Korean. The special Jeonju Kalguksu from a restaurant called Veteran is different from regular Kalguksu. The soup is flavored with a liberal amount of deulkkae (perilla seeds), gim (dried laver), and gochutgaru (chili powder) and has added texture from eggs. Noodles are a bit chewy and smooth. And the egg broth garnished with deulkkae has a subtle nutty aroma stimulating appetite. Veteran’s Kalguksu is a nice meal for vegetarians too.
This restaurant is in the center of Hanok Village, right across Seongshim highschool. Because of the location, this restaurant has been a must-go place for students. Even a long time after they graduated, many alumni visit this place in the memory of their old school days.
The restaurant has great popularity in Jeonju to locals and tourists. Because of the popularity, the restaurant renovated into a bigger place and also has an annexed building connected to the old building. The original place had only a few tables, and the kitchen was right next to the tables so that visitors could watch the cooking process. Since this place has many visitors, you have to pay in advance.
The serving portions are mammoth-sized. One order of Kalguksu comes in a large stainless steel bowl filled to the very brim with noodles and soup. This place offers other dishes such as jjolmyeon (chewy cold noodles in a spicy sauce) and gogi mandu (meat dumplings).
I took the national college entrance exam at Seongshim highschool. My father dropped me off near the Veteran Kalguksu restaurant. In the early morning on the exam day, I was shivering because of the cold weather and also of the big exam. After the exam, my father was waiting for me at the same spot he dropped me off. As soon as I saw his face, I could feel all my strained nerves melt down. We went inside the door and shared a bowl of Kalguksu together. I just ate and ate without talking. He didn’t say anything to me either. But with this Kalguksu, I could feel the warm support and cheer from dad. Kalguksu here is not an ordinary noodle. This one bowl of noodles is a reminder of good old school days.
If you are thinking of trying many other snacks on the street, Kalguksu is a perfect choice for lunch. Brown, black, and red colored toppings on Kalguksu should be mixed well together. Try it with kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), if you would like to have an additional kick.
Veteran (베테랑 칼국수): This special kind of Kalguksu can be found only in this restaurant. This place always has a long queue.
(Opening: 11:00, Closing: 21:00, Tel: 063-285-9898, Address: 135 Gyeonggijeon-gil,
Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Price: 6,000 won)