Located at the end of Pajeon Alley near Hoegi Station is Nakseo Pajeon, famous for its large, crispy haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) stuffed with octopus. The term “pancake” may be inaccurate as the haemul pajeon served here is thick, crispy, and crunchy.
Nakseo Pajeon has become well known for serving up some of the best pajeon in Seoul after being featured on many television shows. The restaurant, hidden away on Pajeon Alley, has been serving up the tasty dish for the past 20 years.
As you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you will notice is the tight fit and low ceiling. If you are tall, or even average height, you will have to bend over a little bit to walk.
The restaurant does have the normal table and chair option, but most people choose to remove their shoes, and sit on the floor at low tables. Unfortunately, there are no cushions which can be a little uncomfortable. If you are here in the winter when it is cold outside, you will be happy to know that the floor is heated. To make your visit more enjoyable, do as the others and order a bottle of makgeolli and relax.
You may also notice the interesting markings on the wall. Nakseo in Korean means scribble, which makes sense as there are scribbles of ink all over the walls inside the restaurant.
Most people come here for the famous haemul pajeon. One of the best things about Nakseo Pajeon is that you can hear and smell your food being fried and cooked in the back until it is nice, crispy, and hot.
If you order the haemul pajeon, be warned that this thing is massive and filling. You can easily feed about 2-3 hungry people. The crust of the pajeon is perfectly crispy with the edges being slightly burnt. If you have never had pajeon before, the crust somewhat resembles the taste of pizza crust.
Complimenting the crispy crust is the chewy inside of the pancake which is exploding at the seams with large pieces of octopus and sliced green onions. Every single bite has some pieces of octopus, which has a hint of saltiness.
To enhance the flavor of each bite, dip each piece of the pajeon into the mixture of soy sauce and diced white onions.
Nakseo Pajeon may be a little off the tourist trail, but that is what makes it great. It’s worth the trek for one of the best and crispiest haemul pajeon in all of Seoul.