Busan Bites: Simple Dining at Mangmidong’s Happy Jipbap
What would a Korean meal be without rice? An incomplete one, that’s what.
Rice has been throughout history an incredibly important source of sustenance for Koreans. It’s intertwined into the culture. So much so, Koreans often refer to whole meals, from soup to side dishes to, yes, rice, entirely with that one word. Because, without rice, it really wouldn’t be a meal, would it?
Rice for Koreans is not just about that white, brown or, sometimes, purple-tinged grain found in those ubiquitous metal bowls. Rice is cultural. When someone says they want “jipbap,” they don’t just mean a bowl of homemade rice. They want a homemade meal. Happy Jipbap, in Mangmi-dong, is more than happy to provide.
The dongjang (community head) recommends this humble establishment for those craving something as close to homemade Korean food one can get at a restaurant. It has remained a regular dining destination for the dongjang because of its reasonable prices and wide range of tasty home-style banchan (side dishes).
Happy Jipbap is located in a residential area down a small alley, with a green exterior and entire wall of glass, which give off a sense of simplicity and cool. It’s a small restaurant, but more than big enough to enjoy a delicious meal.
About a dozen side dishes are made fresh daily, including kimchi, grilled fish, gyeran mari (rolled omelet) and tuna tail boiled in soy sauce. A healthy and hearty selection of these is included with each 7,000 won combination meal.
A passion for food lead the restaurant’s owners to open Happy Jipbap. That passion is evident in every bite, which is planned weekly, with ingredients bought fresh daily. The dongjang has been happy to be a regular customer at Happy Jipbap; perhaps you might be, too.
Address: 7, Yeonsu-ro 310beon-gil, Suyeong-gu
How to get there: Mangmi Station (Metro line 3), exit 7. Walk straight five minutes. Find Yeonsu-ro 310beon-gil between a piano shop and furniture shop, then turn left. Walk until you see a green building.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Break time is 3 to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays.
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