Heerak Sikdang has been open for over 50 years and lays claim to being the first galchi restaurant in Namdaemun Market. Galchi, known in English as cutlassfish, is a long, skinny fish native to Korean waters that can grow up to 30 centimeters long. Heerak Sikdang serves both lightly seasoned grilled cutlassfish and a stew of cutlassfish braised in a savory, spicy sauce known as galchi jorim. When it first opened over 50 years ago, it quickly became one of the most popular restaurants in Namdaemun Market. According to its manager, Heerak Sikdang's popularity led many restaurants in the alley to change their menus and also start serving galchi, leading to the birth of Galchi Alley.
The menu at Heerak Sikdang is reasonably priced and the portions they serve are quite big, with each order served with a side of steamed egg, rice, and various side dishes. The restaurant has a very classic style interior, with old metal sliding doors and minimal decorating, and the clientele is a bit on the older side. During lunch hours the place is packed and you may have to wait for a table, but by the early afternoon it calms down, although there's still a steady flow of people coming in and out. Its popularity increased steadily after appearing on a variety of television programs on major networks such as KBS, SBS, MBC, and MBN.
The grilled fish comes out on a large plate with a side of soy sauce and wasabi, and even though it's an individual meal, it's incredibly filling. You can choose from godeungeo (mackerel), samchi (Spanish mackerel), or the modeum set, which means a combination of everything, including grilled galchi. The galchi jorim comes out in a brass bowl that's filled to the brim with deliciously braised galchi, with the meat sliding right off the spine of the fish with ease. It's twice as expensive as the grilled fish, but that's because it's meant for two people.
|Company Name||Heerak Sikdang (희락식당)|
|Category||Food, Drink & Nightlife|
|Opening Hours||04:00 - 21:00|
22-6 Namdaemunsijang-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea 22-6
Take Line 4 to Hoehyeon Station and go out Exit 5. -> Make a right and walk straight for about 120 meters. -> Turn left and then make a right down the first alleyway. -> Walk about 35 meters straight. Heerak Sikdang will be on your left.