I have said many times before, and I’ll continue to shout it from the rooftops that Chinese food is my favorite cuisine. So when I heard that there are some really highly recommended Chinese restaurants in the Yeonnam-dong area of Seoul I was keen to go give one a try. After much consideration, my friend and I decided to try Ha Ha as it famous for their fried eggplant dish, which happens to be one of my favourite things to eat.
The restaurant itself is very basic, and not remotely fancy. Think of all the good Chinese meals you have had in your life though, and I bet a lot of the good meals came from restaurant with linoleum floors and cheap wooden furniture. So I took it as a sign that we would be in for a great meal.
One thing that all the local restaurants in this area seem to be famous for are the Shrimp Sandwiches (멘보샤) which are 10,000 for the small portion, and 18,000 for the large. I love prawn toast back home, a delicious fried bread topped with ground shrimp and sesame seeds. This is exactly the same minus the sesame seeds and the shrimp is topped with an extra piece of fried bread. It was very yummy, though it would have been nice to have some dipping sauce on the side.
The main course we decided on was the Fried Eggplant 가지 튀김 (15,000). I love the Chinese style eggplant dish so much, but this one was extra special as it was covered in a thick and delicious batter. The eggplants were so plump they almost looked like the chicken or prawn balls that you tend to get back in the Chinese restaurants back home. It was in a yummy sticky slightly spicy and sweet sauce. It was orgasmic and so filling. This doesn’t come with any rice, so if you want some you need to order it separately.
We rounded out our very well balanced meal with more fried food! We had both read great things about the dumplings so how could we resist. The Mandu 만두 (6,000) came boiled or fried. While these fried dumplings looked a lot like the Korean style, they had more of a Chinese pork and vegetable style filling. They came with a vinegar and soy sauce to dip in which we appreciated. While we liked these well enough, I wouldn’t say they were stand out, but if you are looking for an extra dish to make up your meal they are worth their price tag.
Overall this meal was spot on, and more akin to the style of Chinese food I have eaten in China. Between the two of us it worked out really cheap at only 15,000 each and we were perfectly full. If you wanted to try a few extra dishes, I’d suggest bringing one or two other people with you. When we visited on a Thursday afternoon it was really quiet, but I’m told it gets very busy on the weekends, so get ready to queue at peak times.
Ha Ha is located at 263 Donggyo-ro, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station (line 2) and come out of exit 3. Cross over to the other side of the street and walk straight. Take a right hen the road forks a little way down. Follow this street and take another right when you reach the next intersection. You will see Ha Ha a little way down on the left hand side next to the CU, the restaurant is on the second floor. Also beware there is no sign in English for this place. For more information you can call them on 02-337-0211. They are open from 11:30am – 10:00pm and closed on Tuesdays. They also take a break from 3pm – 5pm on Sundays.