Or better known as ‘Jaw-se’ (Malay spelling) / ‘Jaw-sir’ (English spelling) among the locals. (Koreans usually add ‘er/ir’ at the back of certain English words because of their alphabets).
My love for this food joint began three years ago, when my uncle brought me to one of the many franchises of Jawse in Myeongdong (on my very first day in Korea!).
A brief flashback on the environment that I was in:
The first time I set foot in Korea was during winter of 2012, specifically the end of December. I stayed for 15 days until early January, and it was during the peak of winter. On that account, it was super cold. I remember having days when the temperature would reach -20°c (+ wind so it felt lower than that T__T).
To make things more interesting, I stayed at my uncle’s place in Gangnam, Seoul. Seoul usually is much colder than Busan and Okpo (according to Em). Ergo, when my uncle suggested that we should get food with hot soup, I was all in.
The first Jawse meal that I had in Myeongdong was beyond good. Ever since then, whenever we were out of idea on where to eat (new meals for me to try), we would just head to the Jawse franchise across the street of my uncle’s place.
When I was back in Malaysia, I craved for it like mad.
The second time I went to Korea was during autumn of 2013, but I headed to Busan this time. All the time I was flying, I had one thing in mind – to grab Jawse the moment I touch down. The beauty of this food joint is that they have franchises almost everywhere and they all taste the same! :’)
How many times did I have Jawse during my 10-day trip to Busan? Countless, hehe.
Now that I actually live in Korea, of course lah I have to be a good wife that cooks almost everyday because we miss Malaysian food and I have a mission to fatten the husband, lol. But every now and then, we would head to Gohyeon (15-20 mins from Okpo) to have Jawse (forgive my kampung Okpo, we only have shipyards here, lol). The beauty of Jawse is that it complements any season, even in summer the hot soup would still be refreshing. Nyums.
I craved for Jawse last weekend. So off we went to get these:
Spicy Ddeokbokki (Spicy Rice Cake)
Jawse is actually a ddeokbokki joint. According to ZenKimchi, the legend of Jaws goes like this –
“A guy quit his job and wanted to start a ddeokbokki hut. Yet he didn’t know the first thing about making it. He spent months in the kitchen perfecting his recipe. The result is a spicy and addictive ddeokbokki.”
I loveeeee anything spicy, and I love rice. So the combination of those two is a no brainer, it became my favourite in no time. So syiok okay.
Recommended serving for two people: One (Em eats a lot yet the serving is fulfilling enough, it is a ddeokbokki joint after all, so the portion is big).
Busan Omuk (Busan Fishcake)
Fishcake is also known as odeng but this one is called omuk because of some explanation that Em told me but I can’t recall because I was too busy eating so I only pretended to pay attention. The soup is so tasty. Usually Em likes to add the soup into the ddeokbokki to reduce the spiciness. Potong stim k. But sometimes they make the ddeokbokki sauce too thick so adding the soup is a good solution to dilute them. You can get free refill of the soup. Some people like to add soy sauce into the soup, some like to dip the omuk in the ddeokbokki sauce. It’s all about pleasing your own palette. As for me, I like dipping it into soy sauce, and I also like it just the way it is.
Recommended serving for two people: One (again, it’s a lot).
But on the menu it says ‘Homemade Fried‘. It’s a direct translation lol so just say twigim when ordering. Bear in mind that this tempura is not like the ones served at Japanese restaurants. This one is lighter and crunchier. And oh it’s so good. Dip this in soy sauce or the ddeokbokki sauce and you’ll experience heaven in your mouth.
Recommended serving for two people: Two.
*Soy sauce and drinking water is self-service, just like many other joints in Korea.
Most food joints here serve only plain water and/or carton fruit juices. Jawse serves both. As for restaurants, plain water will be immediately served to you but upon request, the waiter will serve you soju (local alcoholic beverage), apple cider, or carton fruit juices, depending on what they sell. But my point is, you can forget all those custom drinks such as teh o’ ais, teh tarik, and whatnot k? Lol. The alternative is to go to cafés, I’ll explain more in another post.
(Just so you know, I hate having long nails – I couldn’t cut my nails so yeah T__T)
Our total bill was 9500 (MYR30). Anything fulfilling that costs less than 10,000 is considered as affordable. Jawse only have four menus: these three and Sundae Sausage (pronounced as soondae, a Korean dish made generally by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients – in simpler words, blood sausage).
But during our last trip, I saw ‘Fried Tofu’ on the menu. I asked Em whether it’s new but he said no, they’ve always been serving it but it’s not that good. I’m not sure, I think I haven’t seen them in Seoul. Em lived in Busan before so maybe that’s where he had it. Maybe I’ll give it a try someday.
I love this food joint so much that every time (every single time) we eat it I would tell Em that I really wanna open up a Jawse franchise in Malaysia. Em took me lightly in the beginning, but seeing how determine I am, talking about the same thing every time we’re having Jawse, he has started taking me seriously! Lol. Every trip to Jawse marks a deeper conversation about the idea. He’ll ask me about the location, the size of the shop, how we’re going to take up loan etc. I don’t know if it sounds ridiculous but I really am serious about the idea.
Anyone who’s interested, let’s become partners k? Hehe.
If you have the chance to visit Korea, I’d recommend hitting this food joint. Be on the lookout for this signboard:
Picture from Moreska
I’ll end this post with a picture of Em tersalah pose. Sorry babe, you can’t delete a Polaroid picture. *Gelak sampai nangis air mata darah*