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Review: Seoul Soulongtang

Soulongtang may seem small and underwhelming, but it is anything but that. This restaurant cures my craving for the flavors of home and is a must try.


By Nicole Lee


Photo By Haley Krawczyk

Last winter break, I went on a culinary journey. My playing field? Seoul, South Korea. From sweet and spicy sauces to savory umami-filled stews, my palette was incited, enlightened, and invigorated after weeks of eating the same chicken Mexican bowl from the dining hall. 


Growing up half Korean, Asian flavors have always felt like home to me. Living in Boston, I was in search of a restaurant that would remind me of home. I didn’t need something fancy or Michelin-rated; rather, I needed a homey joint I could go back to time and time again. I found it. Its name? Seoul Soulongtang. My second home, my north star, and my saving grace during the bleak, chilly depths of Boston Winter. 


The institution is small, nothing flowery. There are no intricate paintings on the wall or extra expenses spent on moody lighting; the restaurant is lined modestly with deep mahogany wooden tables. The tables nearing the front are family-style, long, and communal, meant to be shared, while the back room boasts seating for smaller parties. To the left of the entrance lay a long charcoal-style grill, wafting mouth-watering smells of grilled meats that filled the restaurant’s walls. 


While the menu boasts popular Korean dishes like Japchae and Bibimbap, regulars know to come for one thing in particular: the soups. Their specialty? Soulongtang, of course. A milky white soup whose color is due to the collagen in stewed beef bones.


The service is quick and sharp, typical of any fast-paced Asian institution. Minutes after sitting down, five varieties of Korean side dishes, or banchan, are laid in front of me: cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, pickled radish, fish cake, and tofu. It’s a modest spread, but I’m eager to dig in. 

I place my order: a pot of soulongtang, and minutes later, I receive my pot of gold, bubbling, bursting, and wafting into the air layers of swirling steam. The earthenware pot is laid in front of me, and my mouth practically spills saliva, watering in anticipation. Embellishing my dish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a hefty scoop of green onions, I’m ready to dive into the world of flavors in front of me. 


The soup is rich and indulgent, nothing like American broccoli cheddar soup, yet the flavors are still creamy and complex. The pungent green onion cuts through the milky fat, and the black pepper adds a perfect woody aroma. 


My chopsticks lead to grab a bite of the radish kimchi; it’s well fermented, almost too acidic on its own, but a perfect match for the depth of the soulongtang. My spoon leads back to the pot, reaching to the bottom of the cloudy mass, picking up a ladle topped with brisket and thin white noodles. The meat is soft, delicate, practically melting in my mouth; the noodles are slippery and add a textural level of complexity, a bite in my mouth. 


Each morsel leads to the next, each spoonful to another: My palette is insatiable, and I keep wanting more.


My mere hour at Seoul Soulongtang transported me home once again; you feel safe within its tight walls amidst the bustling ebb and flow of customers; they serve food that soothes your soul. 

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