The Korean Curry Quest: Everest
Everest has long been my favorite Indian restaurant in the city, and most expats who’ve been here for any length of time have ventured to Dongdaemun for the experience. Everest has many things going for it: cheap and delicious food, cheap and abundant beer, unique décor, and Bollywood on loop.
Anyone who has been to Everest will remember its mint-green walls and copious Nepali-themed decorations. The restaurant is a museum of Nepali culture. The walls are covered with panoramic photos of the Himalayas, a huge mural of rural Nepal, Tibetan prayer flags, dolls, statues, prayer wheels and thangka paintings. The smell of incense is thick. The restaurant is (thankfully) laid out in a way that no matter where you are, you can get a view of the big-screen TV playing Bollywood movies. The music and dancing complete the illusion; you might as well be chowing down in a tourist restaurant in Pokhara. The Guru family of Nepal has owned and operated the restaurant since 2002, and their patriotism is evident.
Everest’s prices are slightly lower than most other Indian restaurants in town, and the quality of their food is higher. For this article, I had pakoras, mutton vindaloo, plain naan, and a banana lassi. I know that the mutton vindaloo at Everest is punishingly spicy, but I couldn’t resist ordering it. The lassi came first, and I saved it for the mutton. The pakoras came out fried crunchy and brown. Mmm… deep-fried onion patties. (On a side note, the samosas at Everest are excellent. They’re the biggest I’ve run across in Seoul, and come with two spicy sauces.). Finally the mutton vindaloo arrived with a giant teardrop-shaped piece of naan. The vindaloo was a deep red color and had little pieces of raw green chili sprinkled on top (garnish or warning sign?).
I dug into it with a piece of the naan. It was thick; I fished out a chunk of potato and took a bite.
The spiciness was cumulative. By the third bite I was sweating and my nose was running. My lassi disappeared. The mutton was chewy and had a strong taste. The curry was tomatoey and pungent and delicious. By the end I thought anaphylactic shock was a real risk. I finished it in a state of euphoria.
Everest is a great place for a Friday or Saturday night with friends. Padma, a long-time server, pours water out of her brass pitcher with a flourish, and has a talent for remembering and repeating the most complex orders. Pints of Max are 2,500 won, and the packed, lively atmosphere of the place is guaranteed to put even the most Seoul-hardened expat in high spirits.
Getting there: Walk straight out of Dongdaemun Station, exit 3. Turn left at the pharmacy, into an alley. Turn right at the first alley after that. Everest is on the second floor of the building straight ahead. Don’t be fooled by the many Indian/Nepali restaurants that have sprung up literally right next to the restaurant; there’s only one Everest.
Walk straight out of Dongdaemun Station, exit 3. Turn left at the pharmacy, into an alley. Turn right at the first alley after that. Everest is on the second floor of the building straight ahead.
We suggest making a reservation. Call (02) 766-8850.