No journey to the Canadian Embassy is complete without a little trip to 허수아비 돈까스 in Jung-gu, near Seodaemun Station. 허수아비 돈까스 is Korean for Scarecrow Donkasu. Donkasu is actually a Japanese dish (Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ), which consists of breaded pork and cheese. It is normally covered with a dark, thick sauce which is comparable to Worcestershire sauce with sesame seeds. Always a very satisfying dish, we decided to check it this chain of restaurants at the Jung-gu location.
How to get there: Not the easiest restaurant to locate, but not the hardest either. Take the subway to Seodaemun Station (Line 5) and depart from Exit 5. Walk for about 250 – 400 meters and make a right at 경향신문. Walk for about 50 meters and 허수아비 will be on your right, on the second floor above the Kimbap Cheonguk.
Service and Atmosphere: The decor of 허수아비 is very Japanese, in the sense, the oak wooden tables and chairs fill the restaurant. Although it is not a fine food establishment by any stretch of the imagination, but it still has a charming atmosphere with adjumas busy running around taking care of customers. They really go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and help your order the right food. All of the menu is in Korean, but the adjumas explain it in English fairly well. They helped us find a place for L, who is officially waiting for his Canadian citizenship. My only complaint is that the quarters are a little tight. You will be elbow to elbow with other patrons in the restaurant, so if you have at the three foot rule, you might want to consider another place of dining.
Food and Drink: Jill had the chicken donkasu, and I had the cheese donkasu. Jill drank brown rice tea, and I had a Coke.
Chicken Dunkasu (9000KRW): A crispy outside, and juicy chicken on the inside made this dish a little curious. Jill really enjoyed how the juices of the chicken complemented the donkasu sauce. Donkasu sauce has a taste which is comparable to Worcestershire sauce. This sounds like a strange combination because chicken is not a dish you would normally associate with Worcestershire sauce, but she was pleasantly surprised! A nice variety of sides including rice, radish kimchi, green salad with an apple dressing and soup.
Cheese Dunkasu (9000KRW): The cheese donkasu might end your life if you end up eating it on a daily basis, but with that said, you will meet St.Peter with a smile on your face. Unlike Korean dunkasu, Japanese-style donkasu does not flatten the pork cutlet, instead they allow it to rise. If you have ever had Korean donkasu, and compared it to Japanese donkasu, you can clearly see the difference. The cheese is allowed to rise and is not stringy and flat. In this case, the cheese did rise, and had peppers mixed with the melted cheese. Another aspect of 허수아비 that I really enjoyed was that you can mix your own sesame seeds with the donkasu sauce. I like to load up on it and dip it in.
Value: The two donkasu, and the Coke, the bill came to 21,000KRW. A nice value for a satisfying lunch with a great atmosphere and good service.
Who Should Visit 허수아비 (Scarecrow): If you are looking for a quick place for some Japanese-style donkasu, this is an excellent place to go. 허수아비 would be ideal for lunch because of the quick service and the delicious food.
Who Should Avoid 허수아비 (Scarecrow): 9000KRW is a little more than normal for donkasu, which usually runs around 5000-7000KRW at most places, such as Kimbab Cheonguk. Also, if you have a fear of people or are claustrophobic, you might want to seek larger restaurants to include your three foot radius of personal space.