Korean Eating: Deliciously Burnt 누룽지탕
Nurungji, or scorched rice soup, (누룽지탕) is one of those dishes that when it’s explained before you’ve tried it doesn’t sound appetizing.
It’s as if someone left the rice cooker on too long, rice got burnt and instead of making a new batch, they just poured water over it and said, “enjoy”. It’s not as simple as all that though. The rice has to be perfectly burnt meaning it can’t be too overcooked. Often this is eaten say after you’ve had hot bibimbap and if you hadn’t stirred continuously throughout the meal you’d have ended up with rice stuck to the bottom of the hot pot. If you had some broth to the bowl and let it sit for a moment, you’ll have scorched rice soup.
You may have also seen nurungji sold from street vendors. It’s not the soup that they are selling, but just the burnt rice that is crispy and pretty moreish once you’ve taken a bite. While down in Jeju, I came across yet another version of the dish called haemeul nurungji (해물누룽지), or seafood scorched rice soup. The broth was thicker than the standard nurungji I’d had before in Seoul, but it was delicious and filled with seafood from the nearby shores. Shin-seon Restaurant only served up two dishes, those being the nurungji and pork fillets. The two that they have stuck with are truly hits as they seem to know what they do well and were worth the stop.
Shin-seon Restaurant (신선식당)
제주특별자치도 서귀포시 대정읍 하모리 1423-21
1423-21 Hamo-ri Daejeong-eub Seogwuipo-si, Jeju, Korea
Bus: 700, 750, 900