Thursday, April 21, 2011

닭한마리, Dak Hanmari; Must Eat Chicken Meal In Korea!!

We arrived in Seoul on a cold and rainy day. My Korean friend even warned us about the possibility of the rain being radioactive due to the Japan Fukushima Nuclear Plant situation.

By the time, we reached our hotel at around 6pm, it was dark, wet and gloomy.

We quickly got changed and ventured out for a hot meal. We thought that there must be food around Dongdaemun area so took the train 2 stops to Dongdaemun Station. When we exited, it was deserted except for a few roadside stores that didn't seem very appealing.

We just followed the lights and saw an alley that looked bustling and boy, were we lucky! We found the extremely yummy 닭한마리, DakHanmari on our first night in Seoul. A must eat when in Korea!! It's left such good memories for me that I've decided to dedicated 1 post to DakHanmari, which literally means "One Whole Chicken".

Enjoying A Hot Steamy & Soupy Meal On A Cold Night

The restaurant that we chose was served by a few Chinese speaking staff which weren't exactly the most friendly restaurant staff. Between the 4 of us, she insisted that we take 2 whole chickens! We kept rejecting 'til she finally relented with 1 and 1/2 chicken instead.

To eat this dish, it's really simply although there's quite a few steps:

1) Let the staff know how may chicken you want and the whole chicken will be served with potato slices in a soup base.

2) Cut the chicken up to cook with the scissors provided.

3) Put in all ingredients mentioned below (except soju and beer of course ;)) together with the Korean Red Pepper Paste available on every table into the pot of chicken soup. If you prefer the soup to be more spicy, just add more of the Korean Red Pepper Paste. 

4) While waiting for the chicken to cook, mix all the ingredients below that will form the marinade / dipping sauce.

Final Product: The Yummilicious Dipping Sauce

5) Put in the handmade noodle that has to be ordered separately into the boiling soup below.

6) Tuck in and feast away!!

Everything can be dipped into the dipping sauce before eating.

Best Rice Cake I've Ever Eaten

The rice cake is the only one I like after trying so many time in Singapore and Korea. It's the softest ones that I've came across and it tasted like the handmade noodles. I don't like Korean Rice Cake but I really think the ones here are nice!

The restaurant also serves very good Gingseng Chicken Soup aka Samgyetang.

2 Different Kinds of Seating

The place is usually packed but we went close to 10.30pm, the closing time. Which explains why the picture  shows a pretty empty place.

The Restaurant We Went to Twice

We enjoyed the dinner there so much that we went back a second time to the same restaurant before we left Seoul.

Supposedly Famous Restaurant, I Guess

Both Times, We Emptied Everything

For those interested as to how to get to this DakHanmari Restaurant, here's the name card for you to show the locals or the cab drivers. You'll be spoilt for choice with the many DakHanmari restaurants in the same area.

If you prefer to take the train, take Exit 10 of Dongdaemun Station on Subway Line 4 (Blue). After exiting, just walk straight until you come to a big T junction, the DakHanmari alley is situated diagonally across where the subway exit is.

Just walk into the unsuspecting 2nd alley after crossing the road and continue on, before you know it, it'll be a bustling place with lots of locals enjoying their whole chicken meal.

Hope you'll enjoy the meal as much as I did! =)


theblackshop said...

hi there! im just a passerby who happen to chance upon this blog. i would be backpacking soon and hopping that i could get some insight from you. could i ask for our itinerary? and do you know if there is any prepaid card available in korea? hope im not asking too much but u can drop me a email. tks alot!

Mei said...

Hi there,

You can find my itinerary below. they don't sell prepaid phone cards in Korea but they do phone rental which isn't that pricey.

Maybe i can scan a copy of the brochure for you? just drop me your email yah?

Alternately, make use of their free wifi. It's available almost everywhere in Ssoul for free. But you may need to enter some cafes etc for stronger signal. Sometimes, it's not so strong on the streets.

--My Seoul Trip Itinerary--

Day 1 -
arrived in evening: Dongdeamum ( for dinner
late night: walked wholesale area a short while

Day 2 -
am: Dongdeamum Shopping, Gangnam for
pm: shopping and dinner and drinks

Day 3 -
am: Nandeamum Market Shopping
pm: at Ehwa University shopping
evening: Hongdea for Korean BBQ dinner and Hyatt JJ Mahoney's for clubbing and drinks

Day 4 -
am: Korean Folk Village
pm: wanted to go Han River cruise but went to friend's place for dinner instead

Day 5 - to Damyang (

Day 6 -
am: return from Damyang
pm: Myeon-dong shopping
late night: Dongdeamum night shopping and Dakhanmari dinner again!

Day 7 -
am: Insadong shopping
pm: Jimjibang at Siloam Spa (Seoul Statin)
late pm: Yeoksam Station near Gangnam for dinner and drinks
midnight: wholesale shopping at Dongdeamum (

Day 8 -
am: last min shoppping at Myeon-Dong
pm: head back to Singapore

Basically, if there's nothing much to do for you at night, you can always head to the endless and sleepless Dongdeamum area for shopping.

Hope this helps!


KI said...

hi mei,

obviously, you have much better grasp of this dish than i do and certainly your post is much more helpful than mine (!

i'll be sure to visit this restaurant per your recommendation the next time i'm in the area.

KI said...

incidentally, the neighborhood is "dong-dae-mun" (from the chinese for "east" "great" "gate"). sorry to nitpick, but the proper spelling may be helpful to your readers!!

Mei said...

Hi KI,

Thanks for highlighting. I was a little confused with the spelling initially too and got everything changed now. I hope.

Cheers! =)

Rin said...

maybe i cant sleep whole night if i see the whole chicken in my table then cut it LOL

Mei said...

Hi Rin,

Haha... it's definitely a different way of eating chicken in a very casual ambiance.

You should try it if you do get the chance to in Korea. ;)

Rin said...

*shocking face*
no Mei, if I have opportunity to go there I dont want to try it..absolutely no haha

stephanie said...

chanced upon your blog while looking for info on korea as I'll be going in Dec and must say that yr blog is v informative; I decided to book Astoria Hotel after reading your review; thanks for the great info

cheeh said...

hello Mei,

I happen to read your blog before I went to Korea last Sept17 and I took note of your experience eating this whole chicken. My friend and I look for this place, we ask twice after exiting Dongdaemun Station, the second person, instead of telling us the direction, took us in Dakhanmari. But I notice that they pronounced it as Tak-kha-mari. The place was really packed and I don't know if it's the same restaurant because the table arrangement is different but anyway, the whole chiken is really big and yummy!

Thanks a lot♥ for the information you shared that I was able to experience this!

Mei said...

Hi there,

Yes, the Koreans can be pretty friendly bringing you the right place you're looking for. I guess it's hard if you don't know where the eateries are as they're located in the back alley. And the look so unsuspecting right? Hehe...

Glad you enjoyed your meal! ;)

VW said...

Hi there!
I chanced upon ur blog and went to hunt for the dakhanmari restaurant. Din realised that it's behind the Pyeonghwa clothing market and the Cheonggyecheon canal.

I have my experienced blogged here ( We went to the restaurant in red on the name card :)

Mei said...

Hi VW,

I love the ricecake in soup, it's extremely soft!

Anonymous said...

Hi I intend to go Korea this coming march.your guide seems to be useful to me as I will be staying the same hotel as you too:) do u mind to send me a copied of your compile Korea guide as well? Thanks
Email address :

Mei said...

Hi, the bulk of the information is actually on my blog:

But I've sent you some other info I have too.


mike c said...

They insisted that you order 2 chickens because there is a half chicken minimum per person when you go to those places, just like any other place in korea where you order meat by the person. Four people = Four oders of meat. It is nothing new.