Today’s feature is a hit 맛집 (Taste House) in Seoul with all the young people~ a small hole in the wall around Hapjeong 합정 that specializes in fun flavors of croquettes and American-style chilli, 길모퉁이 칠리차차 aka Cornerside Chilli Cha Cha!
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If you love croquettes or just munching on fried Korean street food with beer, this is definitely a place you need to visit!
One treat that captured my heart from the moment I moved to Japan and started shoving my face was the croquette. This little fried ball sat on my plate and I bit into it nervously wondering just what was inside… potato and vegetables in a crispy package? amazing!!! As you can tell buy its name, croquettes are not originally an Asian food~ they are a treat that was introduced to Japan originally sometime in the Meiji era (1869-1912) and slowly over the years it found a permanent home in the heart of the Japanese tummy.
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Just like Japanese tonkatsu fried pork cutlet, this is a common cross-over food to find in Korea nowadays~ namely at Japanese izakaya restaurants although (like tonkatsu) I do not think Koreans view this as a Japanese or foreign food per say. Anyway, it is delicious and the more croquettes I can get my hands on in Korea, the better! The most common ones in Korea are the standard potato filled kind, or occasionally you can find curry versions at places like Paris Baguette, but today’s place goes above and beyond that…
길모퉁이 칠리차차 Chilli Cha Cha is a small little location that opened a few years ago and appears to be family run. Depending on the day you go it can get crowded, so it is best to avoid times that students would be able to visit~ when we went it was a steady flow of just young people coming in and out!
You can sit down and order or you can get croquettes to go if you are in a rush!
Once you find a seat you will get a menu (much like a sushi place) where you can tick off the items you wish to order and note the amount~ next to each name is the price naturally. This is where it can be a little tricky for tourists if you are unable to read Korean, but Cute in Korea is here to help~
Here is an easy English cheat-sheet for you!! As you can see, the menu is fairly basic and pretty much everything is fried haha!! If they add any additions/new flavors to the menu and we do not catch it, please feel free to send me a mail with a photo and I will translate any new items for you guys.
BTW 깡장 was really hard to translate, I had to ask 4 Korean friends but it is kinda a made up word apparently so if you try this flavor and care to share your exp of what it is please do comment below! I have not ordered it yet XD
When you are done you can bring your slip to the back area to place your order! Seems like everything is cooked to order, or at least quickly fried again to make them warm and crispy!
one basket please!
Like most hole-in-the-wall places, the water is self serve!
I went ahead and ordered a cider because I was paranoid about the spice level of a few things, little places like this in Korea always make things super spicy! 11 years eating Korean food and I am still breaking my tongue in. Our freshly fried croquettes came out a few moments later~ nice and hot along with some 떡볶이!!
To make the meal overkill I also ordered some chilli!! The place is called CHILLI CHA CHA after all, this must be why! haha! You can NOT find chilli soup easily in Korea, so I was super excited and surprised to see it on the menu my first visit! I had to confirm with Nara that I was reading it correctly XD
The chilli bowl is REALLY good, one of my favorites and totally something I make sure to order when I visit now!! Medium spice level, lots of meat, pile of cheese, and even some fried rice cakes! Well done Chilli Cha Cha, you are worthy of the name! The 떡 in the chilli actually tasted really awesome~ I highly recommend ordering it to accompany your croquettes.
So now on to the stars of the show at Chilli Cha Cha, the croquettes of course!!
First up was the Basil Cream croquette, my favorite~ nice and creamy!! One thing you may notice right away in the photo is the grains/barley mixed in~ Chilli Cha Cha mixes these in to a lot of the flavors they offer vs just potato bases. It is interesting, the result is almost like you are eating a risotto croquette!
Next up was the Corn Croquette! This is a standard flavor, but you can not go wrong with it! Sweet corn and potato, stuffed full in a crispy shell.
One of the unusual croquettes we ordered was the 과일 Fruit Croquette. This one I think some people would like, but it was not for me personally. Its a bit like eating an apple pie, but with fried breading so its a bit of a mish-mash of flavors. It had a few sweet fruits inside like apple and raisin.
The curry croquette was a disappointment for me, especially since I normally love this flavor at other shops! This flavor is mixed with the barley as well, but I wish it was a potato base because the result was too much curry paste and dry to eat. Maybe I had it on a bad day, but yeah~ needs something else in it to cut that curry up a bit!
At the very end I caved in and ordered one more to try out of curiosity~ the Tomato flavored croquette! This is also a barley grain base mixed with a kind of pasta sauce, but it was a but too saucy for me~ and more like a cheaper sweet canned sauce. Once again I was hoping it would be more of a potato base with tomato sauce mixed in, but this is more like eating a saucy sweet risotto…or spagetti o’s lol. One bite was enough, but eating the whole thing was too much sauce for me.
Final verdict~ Creamy basil and corn flavor YUM! Rest~ meh
Although many k-bloggers loved the 떡볶이 here I found it very standard..Korean teenagers like this dish, so I guess they are easy to please lol. It was good, but nothing OMG special or unique like the chilli bowl~ so if you are torn between the two I recommend the chilli! That being said, the dukboki was yummy to eat with the croquettes~ dunk them in the sauce!
Nothing like a blinding light pouring in while you try to scarf down fried food! ANGELIC!
Directions to Croquette Chilli Cha Cha 길모퉁이 칠리차차
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 400-11 1F
Monday-Friday 12:00-2:00pm 3:30pm- 10:30Saturday 3:00-10:30pmSunday/Holidays 3:00-10:00pm2,4, 5th Tuesday of every month is closed.
Tues gets a bit confusing so I just pretend they are always closed that day. lol
If you are coming by the Seoul metro, the best place to get off will be Hapjeong Station. Both Green Line #2 and Brown Line #6 are connected and share the same station, so the best exit for Chilli Cha Cha will be exit #5 around the brown line.
Head out straight and you are going to go into a small side street to your right and stay on it as it twists a bit
A bit down it will split slightly and just keep on walking straight for a little bit!
Finally you will hit an intersection with an eye-catching sort of bar on your left (they have a lot of wood and things hanging usually plus red large flowers or something all over the side of the building ) so that will be your cue to turn left down that road!
Chilli Cha-Cha is right next door, just look for the wooden deck and blue sign~if you can not read Korean you will notice the little red chilli peppers and “Fingerfood Bar” in English!
Have you visited Chilli Cha Cha in Hapjeong before? What did you order, what is your favorite?? Did you check them out after reading this post? Do you like croquettes? Comment below and share with others!!