Koreabridge Forums


 

Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

23 posts / 0 new
Last post
SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Printer-friendly version


 

There it is, folks...the finest and most authentic bowl of Japanese miso ramen in town! (because I say so)

This is easily Jangsan's best kept secret. Just think of how many unknowing and most likely VERY hungry expats are living in those Divervita and Blue Square apartments...happiness is just up the road!

 was introduced to Hotaru roughly two years ago by a friend who had perked his ears up when he heard me mention that I am crazy about authentic Japanese ramen.  I haven't stopped going since, and I usually make it a note to go there at least once a week (usually ends up being more like 2-3).

 

Now I'm guessing many of you probably settle for the typical morning/afternoon offerings prior to heading out to whatever teaching job you currently hold.  Let's face it, there's only so far you can get on the kimbab-chungook places.  Let's also be honest about one very important thing: they treat their ramen like McDonald's treats their hamburgers.

 

HIS, ladies and gents, is RAMEN!  Tonkotsu Miso boasts a rich and savory broth, complete with a palette of flavors that starts with a slightly salty and creamy pork base and finishes with just a touch of spice.  It's a harmonious amalgam of flavor, and it's certainly a welcome change from the "spicy and nothing but" taste of the instant Korean ramyun mixed up at the kimbab places.  Everything is made from scratch, the broth is simmered over several days using pork bone and soybean paste.  The noodles themselves are hand-made, hitting all the right notes being just a tad chewy, sport just the right consistency, and are the gold standard by which all other ramen noodles should be judged.

Topped with green onions, bean sprouts, half a marinated boiled egg, and two slices of pork that are so tender they literally melt in your mouth!

"What, pray tell, is the cost of admission for this monument of ramen perfection!?" you ask?  7,000won to leave your gullet brimming with the golden, authentic flavors of Japan.  Sorry folks, but if you like your "ramyun" like you like your beer, cheap, tasteless, and 3,000won...you'll have to stick to the script I'm afraid.  This bowl earns every single ship-won, and I promise nothing but pure satisfaction.

 

otaru is run by a man named Mr. Jung, and he has been a ramen chef for well over ten years.  He earned his passion for the art by training and working in Tokyo for that period of time, and even married a Japanese woman before returning to Korea to settle into a humble, modest life of making ramen as his "hobby".  He does not seek glory, or money.  He simply hopes to show you what honest-to-goodness Japanese ramen is all about.

I introduced this place to the Busan Haps magazine, and John Bocskay did a tremendous job of representing with his awesome article.  I know the article brought some traffic into the place, but I'm almost positive that a good majority of people living in Jangsan missed the boat on this one. 

Now Mr.Jung has opened for lunch, from 12:00-2:30 before taking a break and then re-opening at 6 for his nighttime clientele.  He only recently started doing this, and not many of his regulars show up for lunch so I figured this would be a great opportunity to help him to establish a new customer base for expats who find themselves scrambling for a really tasty and fortifying lunch.

The Busan Haps article's directions are as follows:


To get there: Walk north from Jangsan Station exit 4. Cross the first major intersection, keep going, The road curves right, take a left at the next light and Hotaru’s on the left.

Another way of directing you would be from the street intersection where Divervita and Blue Square are.  Stand on the corner where Divervita is and head in the opposite direction of Jangsan station.  So you'll be crossing at the light and going up that road that sports about a dozen different restaurants and samgyeopsal places.  Stay on the left side of the road and keep going up until you see the famous "Pollo Oakwood Chicken" place on your right.  You'll be reaching another small intersection, and when you do, just follow the sidewalk around the corner to your left, and you will see Hotaru there.  You'll know because a blue patio chair is sitting out front presenting the lunch menu.

If you haven't been to this place...it's time to change that!  It is definitely worth discovering, and if you live in Divervita or Blue Square, you have absolutely no excuse.  It's literally 5 minutes away.

Rutherford
Offline
Joined: 11/26/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Definitely check this place out.  Great ramen!  Best I've had in Korea.
ИВАН ДРАГО
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2010
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Awesome post.  My friend has been raving about this place.  I am going to check it out this weekend.  There is also a pretty authentic and very delicious Japanese noodle restaurant in Semyeon as well, right around the corner from TGIFridaysIt even has the Japanese ordering machine.  I am not sure what the name is, but I will find out.  That slightly salty and creamy pork base  with just a touch of spice is amazing.  
ticklechicken
Offline
Joined: 12/01/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

I haven't tried this place,  but will absolutely check it out. However from the picture, it still seems to be suffering from two typical downfalls of ramen done by Koreans (besides thin soup, added kimchi etc). Firstly, they usually only give you one meager slice of pork worthy of a few feeble chews. This is what turns me off the most because its not a meal if the meat is just a decorative condiment. Secondly, the noodles themselves tend to be paler and thinner than what you find in  Japanese ramen. While this doesn't affect the taste so much, it makes the experience seem closer to instant noodles.

Like I said, I haven't tried that place yet. So, the best ramen shop that I currently know of is Niniku in Kyungsung (next to Kinoeye). This is all round great ramen, and you can get extra pork (a lot actually). The added meat option is not on the menu, so you have to ask for it. With the extra meat I think its W8,500 total.

Now, if only I could find a shop that sells tsukemen...

SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

Ticklechicken,

You REALLY have to try this.  You've actually made two very grave errors in your pre-judgment of this amazing bowl of ramen.

1. There are TWO substantial slices of pork (which are actually quite thick...did I write that they are thin?).  You actually can't tell from the pictures because they are buried in the noodles, and I usually push them to the bottom of the bowl to soak in the broth some more, saving them for the end.

2. His noodles used to be much thicker, and in fact they are MUCH better when made thinner, and I think he got a perfect thickness for his altered batches.  Once you taste this I'm sure you'll agree, these noodles share NOTHING in common with instant.  His noodles, now that they are thinner, accentuate and absorb the flavor much better.

I have been to the Japanese ramen place in Kyungsung, which is actually a chain and is also the same shop as the one in Seomyeon (the one with the Japanese style ordering machine in the front that was mentioned).  They are decent, and their noodles are pretty good...but the broth itself pales in comparison to this.

You guys have to trust me on this, I've tried virtually every known Japanese ramen place in Busan over the past two years...there is no better bowl of miso than this.

Consider I've also been to Japan 3 times, tried the Fukuoka ramen and the ramen in Shibuya, Tokyo at Kamakura...and this still wins for me. 

As of right now, I'm still on the lookout for a better bowl of ramen.  Hotaru is the Busan champ at the moment (because I say so, *^^*).

SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
You have awesome taste, Rutherford!  Glad you appreciate it as much as I do!
ang.lou.m
Offline
Joined: 01/19/2011
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
I'm finally getting comfortable in my own 'expat skin' and will DEFINITELY be visiting this place next weekend. Thanks for the post - it made my mouth water with delight.
mattsid
Offline
Joined: 09/15/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

This place is superb, I have eaten there a couple of times after reading John's article in Busan Haps. If you've had ramen in Japan, then you know this place is the real deal. Yakatori, and Ramen restaurants are springing up everywhere these days, but most just don't cut it.

Another thing you should try on the menu is the beef sashimi (I forget the name he calls it) which uses the most tender beef, I would presume it's 한우 beef, which is then seasoned and lightly seared on the outside similar to a tuna steak. It's a little expensive at about 15 bucks, if I recall correctly, but every mouthful just melts in the mouth. If you are with a friend it's a good idea to share a large bowl of ramen and get the beef as well.


There are also a ton of other items on the menu including various yakitori and dumplings (gyoza) which I would guess are probably equally as good. 
SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

"Another thing you should try on the menu is the beef sashimi (I forget the name he calls it) which uses the most tender beef, I would presume it's 한우 beef, which is then seasoned and lightly seared on the outside similar to a tuna steak. It's a little expensive at about 15 bucks, if I recall correctly, but every mouthful just melts in the mouth. If you are with a friend it's a good idea to share a large bowl of ramen and get the beef as well."

Yes!  You are spot-on in this recommendation!  This is the PERFECT appetizer at Hotaru, and it is a very substantial portion he serves for 15,000won (bring your friends as an excuse to order, because that's what I have to do).  He calls it "Tataki", and when it's coupled with thin onions and dipped in soya...it is TO DIE FOR!

It's more than enough for 2 people (it's addicting, you could demolish it easily), and 4-6 people can share it totaling a slice or two each.

I went there with 7 friends last night and was very pleased to see a foreigner couple just finishing up as we were entering, and then two more foreigners showing up later as we were finishing.  Place was packed, he had a steady stream of customers, some of which couldn't get a seat and ended up leaving.

Nighttime on weekends are his busiest hours, and going around 8pm or later might end up in disappointment.  Great times to go are either just after he opens at 6pm on a Friday/Saturday, or earlier in the week.


Peppie
Offline
Joined: 02/22/2010
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
I highly recommend this place. Went tonight and had the Tonkotsu  Miso.  It was excellent and I plan to return on a weekly basis as it's in my neck of the woods. Turns out I was there in April, or May as the last stop of a night out with the Korean teachers at my school.  I was fairly inebriated by this point and had forgotten about the place. We used the back entrance that is beside the kitchen, so I didn't recognize the photo of the front.  The owner is super friendly as well, so don't waste another opportunity to fill up your maw with this excellent grub by putting it at the top of your list of eateries to patronize!
InLehmansTerms
Offline
Joined: 09/16/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Thanks for reminding me about this place!  I lived in Japan for awhile when I was a kid and one of my favorite parts was the incredible ramen!  The place in Kyunsung is pretty dang good, so if this is better, I must try it!  I read about it in Busan Haps and always had intentions to go but never made it out there!  I can't wait to try it! 
ang.lou.m
Offline
Joined: 01/19/2011
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

Does anyone know what happened? I haven't been to Hotaru in months but tried going there last Saturday only to find some guy painting the exterior of the restaurant and putting up a different sign outside. Did Hotaru move or is it closed?

Rutherford
Offline
Joined: 11/26/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

I was walking down a street in Gwangan a week ago and saw a sign for a new ramen place called Hotaru opening soon.  It's possible that the old owner is changing locations.  This one was very close to the beach and on the same street as a really great udon restaurant.

Here's a photo of the sign.  Someone who speaks Korean should give them a call and find out if it's the same owner.  http://i.imgur.com/ouQ6D.jpg

Here's a google map showing the approximate location

busanfoodguy
Offline
Joined: 09/18/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

Don't leave us in SUSPENSE! Did they move or not? I used your Google Maps to look around, but there were NO restaurants serving Japanese food on this main road!

Maybe they didn't move?

Please, I love Japanese ramein.... I want to try this restaurant. Do I go to Jangsan or to Kwanganli?

As an alternative, would someone please give us directions to the ramien place near Kyoungsundae?  Please pretend that you have NEVER been here. Give your directions from the nearest subway exit.

mattsid
Offline
Joined: 09/15/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

Here is exact location using Naver maps. Exit 4 and go straight pretty much.
http://maps.naver.com/?dlevel=12&lat=35.1749272&lng=129.1750154&menu=loc...

you can zoom in and out with the mouse or click on the X in the top right hand corner for the map view.

With regard to the Kyungsung place. There are two. First one is pretty cool as they even have the vending machine where you buy your ticket for food from. Exit one, take first left at Outback Steakhouse and it's on the corner on the left after that first block across from 7-11. The other take exit 3 go straight and take your first right down to where the main bar district is. Take the next right again at another 7-11 and it's the second building on your right next to Kino eye entrance and a yakitori place. It's a wooden style building with loads of 꽃 shrimp in the tanks and tables outside. It also sells yakitori, but for the best yakitori around here you want to keep going straight after that intial right for two blocks and the place next to Vinyl Underground, Shinohogun or something like that is pretty damn excellent.

As an aside though neither of these places come close to Jangsan place, but they do a fair job of Japanese ramen all the same.

SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Yes, how lazy of me to not update this page. Hotaru (the one and only, as far as I'm concerned) has unfortunately moved. Used to be a 5-10 minute walk from my place...needless to say, I will miss the charms of the old shop and the convenience of having it right in my area. He is now in the Gwangan area, though not by the beach. He's in that little intersection of side streets, to the left of where the Popeye's chicken place is (if you know where that is, you can't miss it). This side street intersection connected to the main road, there's a Paris Baguette there and a Dunkin Donuts. It's a bit tricky to get to if you're coming from any one subway station. Namcheon is quite a distance, Kyungsung is even farther. Two closest stops are Geumnyeonsan or Gwangan (I find my way left down the first side street after I exit gate #5 out of Geumnyeonsan, it's going to take some getting used to for me). It's a bit of a trip, but so very worth it for me. He now has Asahi on tap for 7,000won a pop (though most of you will probably want to stick to your 3,000won crap :P). People living in Gwangan have a reason to rejoice...they scored big time with this.
SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
P.S. If anyone knows of the Popeye's chicken that I'm referring to, would you kindly mark it on a Google/Naver map and post it here? It would be greatly appreciated, and you'd be doing everyone a massive favor. Cheers!
SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Rutherford got the picture right (that is the design for the new Hotaru sign), but marked the location wrong. Pop eye's chicken, people. That's the landmark you're looking for. Down the street to the left of Popeye's, best Japanese ramen in town.
mattsid
Offline
Joined: 09/15/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

I don't think he was that far off. Popeyes is a only a few shops up from where he marked

http://maps.naver.com/?dlevel=13&lat=35.1467434&lng=129.1127721&menu=rou...

Best directions I could give to Popeyes is if you are on the beach walk towards the Samik beach apartments and you pass the street that has the Starbucks and Saigon Vietmanese restaurant (also worth a visit!) Walk past this street and go straight and take your next right.

Also near Popeyes is the Singapore restaurant and next to that on the second floor is a superb shabu shabu place. There's also a pretty damn superb wood fired chicken restaurant shortly after that right!

SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

It's quite the little sidestreet intersection, and somewhat superior to the food offerings along the Gwangali beach strip.

bosmosis
Offline
Joined: 08/23/2011
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!

Sorry, Jangsaners, but I was happy to hear that he moved a little closer to my hood. That place is fantastic. Here's a link to the piece I did about him (though Solid Champ has already nailed it better than I did): http://busanhaps.com/article/hotaru-mother-wavy-yellow-brick

To those who haven't been there, the only other thing I will say is this: Go.

SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
Really glad you bumped this up, John. I feel like I should remind people that Hotaru has indeed moved to Gwangali (directions can be found in the comments above). He opens for lunch from 12-3pm, then takes a three hour break before opening at 6pm until late into the evening. If you live in Gwangali, I am DAMN jealous! If you live in that area and haven't been yet...shame on you!
SolidChamp
Offline
Joined: 08/06/2009
Re: Attention fellow Jangsaners: Hotaru is now open for lunch!
P.S. Your article nailed it long before I did...I remember when Hotaru was in Jangsan and foreigners would pile in, 3 or 4 at a time and I'd ask them how they heard about the place...it was all your doing, sir.
Login or register to post comments

Koreabridge - RSS Feeds
Features @koreabridge     Blogs  @koreablogs
Jobs @koreabridgejobs  Classifieds @kb_classifieds

Koreabridge - Facebook Group

Koreabridge - Googe+ Group