Thursday, April 7, 2011

Opening Weekend at 笑笑 (Wara Wara) in Myongdong

Friday night some friends and I walked around Myongdong looking for a place to grab a beer since we were in the area. We spotted a Japanese bar and figured we'd check it out. Looking at the menu it looked a little pricey (What Japanese bar isn't?) but within our budget (as long as we were drinking Korean draft beer) and decided to check it out. Trying to watch our wallets, we only ordered edamame and one oknomoyaki (Japanese style pancake thing) to accompany our beer. The establishment was interesting and we found that many of the staff were not just fluent in Japanese, they actually were Japanese and it sometimes was easier to order in Japanese than Korean.

As we went to pay our bill we expected it to be over 30,000 won since we ordered 6 beers along with our food. We were astonished to see our bill for just 15,000 won. We told them there must be some mistake, we ordered much more than 15,000 won worth of food, but we were told with a smile that it was their opening night and everything on the menu was 50% off.  We kind of felt a bit like we had won the lottery or something and we cursed ourselves for not ordering more. But, the next good news was that the 50% discount would continue until Saturday, the next day. To this we decided that we HAD to come back and take advantage of this. It's not everyday you can get good Japanese food in Seoul on the Cheap. Heck, you can't get good Japanese food in Japan on the cheap either.

Saturday night at dinnertime we went back, with 10 of our closest friends, and took full advantage. Here's what ensued.


Fried Chicken


Fried Octopus

Fermented Raw Octopus


My friend informs me that this Japanese style jjigae is eaten by sumo wrestlers to beef up. In very large quantities, of course. It seemed pretty healthy to me!

Fried rice in the bowl after finishing the sumo wrestler stew


And finally the bill. Actually it wasn't quite this long. Since it was their opening weekend they seemed to be having some trouble getting the correct orders on the correct receipts. But, believe it or not, with all that food, plus drinks plus plenty of unpictured things ordered at the other end of the table, the price was only 11,000 won each.

Now, the question comes, do I recommend it? Well, I'm not sure. The service was pretty bad, but then again it was opening weekend and waitstaff probably weren't trained yet. The food was... ok. Great for the price we paid, but, as typical with Japanese food, small portions for big prices. Had I been paying full price, I might not have been so impressed. But, it might not be a bad place to stop by once if you're craving Japanese food and happen to be in the area. If you don't feel like getting the expensive Japanese beer, Korean beer is the same price as any old HOF.

From exit 6 or 7 of Myongdong Station, enter the Myongdong Shopping area. At the first crossroads, turn left. You will see the restaurant on the third floor about 100 meters down on the left.

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