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[Seoul] The thought about having warm, comforting Korean Porridge during the cold weathers in Seoul was always enticing.
If you have walked to this stretch at Myeongdong nearer to the cathedral side, you would notice two simultaneous queues outside this block of restaurants.
One to Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯, the other is to MiGaBon 味加本 (미가본) upstairs.
Founded in 2005, MiGaBon features Juk (죽) which is Korean porridge, along with Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) and a selection of beverages.
You know, people go to Seoul to have their Korean BBQ, stews, bingsu, street food etc… but Porridge? Wait, wait, wait.
This is quite like the perfect Korean breakfast food during autumn and winter.
Since rice porridge is a popular breakfast fare in Korea, MiGaBon opens early from 8:00am to accommodate tourists and locals who come in the morning.
The shop is opened till 9pm, so this is also for those who crave for something light during dinner.
Upon entering, I couldn’t help noticing that the entire restaurant was full of Japanese ladies. You could tell from their pastel shades of MUJI-like clothing, chatting and non-verbal facial expressions of subtle cheery nodding.
MiGaBon’s interior is predominantly white ceiling and grey flooring, with accents of green wall panels and lamps, and light beech wood chairs and tables. Décor is kept at a minimum with a few indoor plants, and some frames and floral design on the wall.
As a restaurant that specializes in Juk, MiGaBon features more than 20 kinds of porridge in its menu, from Vegetable, Mushroom, Abalone, Mushroom and Beef, Broccoli Shrimp, King Crab, Ginseng and Chicken to Aged Pollack and Bean Sprout.
Price range between 7,000 Korean Won to 20,000 Won (SGD$8.40 to SGD$24.00) for the Abalone Porridge with Intestines.
In the menu, MiGaBon calls its juk “Well-Being Porridges” since they are typically eaten by anyone who wants to get well, especially those who are recovering from sickness.
Its soft texture makes it easy to digest and even an ideal food for babies.
I think I will get well after having Porridge. Actually I did, as I was feeling kind of down, but the taste was quite life-changing.
The popular choice was the Mushroom and Beef Porridge (8,000 Won, SGD$9.59) which combined sliced shiitake mushroom with minced beef.
The first spoon sent me some chills. Perhaps because I was so used to a diet of rich and robust food, having something that looked so plain and simple yet flavourful was unexpected.
My friend remarked, ”I have porridge all my life, but this is quite out of the ordinary.”
Aside from the Juk, MiGaBon also offers Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) which consists of a whole, young chicken stuffed with sticky rice. Choose between the Boiled Chicken with Ginseng (13,000 Won, SGD$ 15.58) and Boiled Chicken with Ginseng and Wild Sesame (15,000 Won, SGD$ 17.98).
The Ginseng and Chicken Porridge (8,000 Won) was also nutritious tasting, cooked with generous strips of tender chicken meat.
An order of porridge comes with banchan (side dishes) of bean sprouts, radish, spicy octopus and burdock root.
MiGaBon is recommended for quick meals and not for leisurely, take-your-time dining. It is best to come early for breakfast as crowds start coming in even before 9 am.
English and Mandarin translations are included in the menu. Staff speaks fluent Korean, Chinese and Japanese and moderate English.
The restaurant is a 5-minute walk from Exit 8 of Myeong-dong Station, located across the Citibank beside Royal Hotel Seoul. Don’t miss the green outdoor signage as it does not have English translation, only large Chinese and small Hangul texts. Take the stairs up to the 2nd floor, right on top of Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯.
Closed on Lunar New Year’s Day and Korean Thanksgiving Day.
MiGaBon 味加本 (미가본)
2F, 2-2, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 중구 명동2가 2-23, 2F
Tel: +82 2 752 0330
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – MiGaBon Restaurant
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