Since 1960, Yeongyang Center (Myeongdong Branch) has been serving two simple specialties, samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup and (tongdak) roasted chicken.
The restaurant, its main branch, is located in Myeongdong. Myeongdong is an area packed with hundreds of restaurants along with people shopping, eating, and looking for exciting night life.
When the restaurant first opened over 50 years age, the specialty was tongdak gui, which is chicken roasted on an electric rotisserie.
Today, Yeongyang Center continues to serve up delicious plates of tongdak gui, which has become extremely popular with both local Koreans and foreign tourists. They also are famous for their samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) stuffed with wild ginseng powder.
The owners of Yeongyang Center carefully inspect and prepare ingredients at all levels of preparation and cooking. Chickens are purchased directly from a specially selected farm.
If you are walking by, you can watch some of these delicious chickens being roasted right in the front window of the restaurant.
One of the most popular items on the menu is the lunch special (9,000 won), known as the table d’hôte. This dish includes a roasted chicken, soup, salad, pickled radishes, and a bread roll.
The star of the plate is tongdak gui (roasted chicken). The best part of the chicken is that the outside skin is extremely crispy. In fact, the skin was so crispy that at first I thought the chicken was fried. Below the skin was tender white meat.
Unlike other roasted chicken dishes, the chicken at Yeongyang Center is only slightly greasy with not a lot of fat. This chicken is why both locals and tourists keep coming back for more.
The best way to eat the chicken is to simply rip it apart and dig in. The meat will literally fall right off the bone. When you are left with just the bones, toss them into the small bin found on the table.
The rest of the lunch special is simple but still quite delicious.
The soup was warm, thick, and filling with a rich taste of chicken broth. The salad was simple with cabbage and cucumbers topped with thousand island dressing, and strangely, ketchup. The roll was soft and moist and tasted great when dipped into the soup. The pickled radishes were just that, the same as though found all over Seoul.