Dwaeji gukbap is one of the most popular answers for many online searches on what to do when visiting Busan. While variations of this boiled pork, long-simmered soup and rice meal can be found in surrounding regions, it truly is a Busan local food.
Dwaeji gukbap is believed to have gotten its inauspicious start during the Korean War when food was scarce and families sought to provide sustenance by boiling pork bones for a very long time. What started as a necessity became one of Korea’s most comforting of comfort foods.
Served hot and simple, it is up to diners to decide how much buchu (chives) to add or whether to season their soup with salt or saeu jeot (brined baby shrimp). Some restaurants serve their dwaeji gukbap with rice already in the soup, many opt to keep them separated.
When it comes to dwaeji gukbap, opinions and preferences are passionate and plentiful. Fortunately, so are the number of locations. Here is one of our favorites.
Songjeong Samdae Gukbap (송정 3대 국밥)
What has locally become known as “Dwaeji Gukbap Alley” in Seomyeon still harbors historical reminders of sadness and nostalgia from the refugees of the Korean War. It also has a dizzying number of dwaeji gukbap restaurants.
Songjeong Samdae Gukbap stands out from the pack for its milky white broth, which is made by cooking beef leg bones instead of pork. Similar to the broth in seolleongtang (ox bone soup), this dwaeji gukbap’s light flavor is immediately accessible to even first-time gukbap diners.
Address: 29, Seomyeon-ro 68beon-gil, Busanjin-gu
How to get there: Seomyeon Station (Metro lines 1 and 2), exit 1. Walk straight, then turn right at Starbucks. Walk one more block and turn right.
Hours: Open 24 hours