When you visit Jeju Island you can’t just eat our popular black pork and raw seafood dishes. There are other dishes out there to try and there is one restaurant in particular I want to recommend.
It is a restaurant that uses Jeju ingredients and a traditional Jeju cooking style.
Its name is Deoksung.
You’ll find Deoksung at two locations on the island. The first, which opened in 1975, is in Molseupo and the other is in Jeju City’s Yeondong area.
I met with a friend who I had not seen in a while and went to try the signature dish – okdom soup filled up with lots of fresh radish.
While okdom might be common these days, long ago it was considered precious enough for kings.
In Jeju dialect okdom is known as “geguk”.
The recipe varies slightly from restaurant to restaurant on the island. Let me explain.
On the east-side you’ll find it served with seaweed. On the west-side you’ll find it with radish.
Thus you should be able to guess which side of the island this family is from.
“How did you know that?” will come the surprised reaction of the restaurant owner if you ask them.
It is kind of surprising that such a small island has a recipe variation like this. But it gets more varied when Jeju dialect is considered. On the east-side it is known as “solrani”, on the west-side it is “saengseon”, and on the south-side of Hallasan it prefers the name “solragi”.
Perhaps Jeju isn’t so small after all?
The best seller is the okdom soup.
However here’s the extra kilometer about Deoksung which really impresses me: every day the owner drives 80km to Pyoseon and back for the fish. According to him catches from that area of the island are the best.
What a special same-day okdom taste?
It is very tender, but if you do cook okdom with red pepper you’ll get a spicy soup instead which is agreeable.
Actually in this restaurant you should really only look at the menu as a price reference.
You need to be looking at the white board because that’s where you’ll see what’s available for the day.
When I went you could get jogi (croaker or yellow corvina), wooleok (soft shell clam), bollak (rockfish), and gaori (ray).
From opening time items will slowly be erased and if you go around 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. you’re likely to see a completely white board.
Thing is if the weather turns bad the menu is influenced accordingly. During typhoon Samba there was a 4 day weather-enforced holiday and during Bolaven the restaurant closed for one week.
So if the weather is bad the fishermen can’t get their fish and Deoksung can’t get its delicious menu.
Address: Jeju-si, Yeondong 293-24 (on a small road behind the KBS TV building)