|▲ Namdo Yaedam / CEO Sook Yoon
Teokalbi - grilled short rib patties - is one of the commonly enjoyed food by the royals and nobles in the past Korea. Then it gradually spread to commoners and eventually became one of the specialties in Gwangju, Yangju, Damyang and Hwasun. Among these regions, however, Damyang stands out by oneself and others for its 650 years of making history that has been passed down from Song Hee-gyeong also known as Nosongdang.
Damyang teokalbi is made of beef rib flesh instead of pork and the rib bone sometimes comes along with the dish. It also is unique in shape which is regular hexahedron. Taste-wise, it is gently chewy. Thanks to the fame, the price is relatively dearer than other regions. For the same reason, there are many teokalbi restaurants in Damyang and the competition is fierce as the business opens and closes constantly depending on quality and services.
Opened in April 2013 near Juknokwon (bamboo forest) in the county, Namdo Yaedam has grown one of the most talked over teokalbi restaurants in the region and over. Like its fame, teokalbi, either beef or pork, is the sole menu of this restaurant. CEO Sook Yoon uses 100% Korean cow and 100% Korean pork to keep the maximum freshness and original taste possible.
Those who have tried say that the meat is juicy and the texture is marvelous. This might ascribe to the fact that the chefs at the restaurant start to make only when an order is received. In other words, they do not use frozen. When the making is done, the chefs grills it on charcoal and the waiter servers it on the table.
It is also notable that Namdo Yaedam uses green onion only to kill the unique smell of the meat while other restaurants use various ingredients such as carrot and onion. Though the menu is one, the side dishes that come along with is many and variety. One might feel she/he is enjoying a feast after receiving the full set of table.
Taking the momentum of success, CEO Yoon recently opened the second Namdo Yaedam in Belle Foret (resort) in addition to its first branch in Jeungpyeong. Unlike the flagship in Damyang, Namdo Yaedam in Belle Foret runs various other menus such as barley rice, mixed rice, raw fish soup, seafood pie, beef rib soup and seasoned cockles to satisfy different taste of tourists and holidayers.
Namdo Yaedam is one of the three Korean teokalbi praised by the food columnist Kim Yu-jin and proved its fame on a number of radio and TV shows including Son Sook-Han Dae Soo's Happy World, MBC Live Tonight, Olive What Shell We Eat Today? and SBS Plus Dine out.
CEO Yoon has walked the single path as a teokalbi specialist for the last 20 years and won the grand prize with Damyang teokalbi at the 24th Namdo Food Festival in 2017.
She received ministerial prizes from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. She also was appointed as a master cook by the Korea Cooking Federation.
Despite her mastery skills and experience in the field, she is ever thirst for learning and currently is on the hotel and dinning management course at Hanyang Cyber University.
As a woman of good heart, she is second to none when it comes to helping people in need as she shares part of the profits for donation and scholarship in the region.
"It is my goal to make Namdo Yaedam last more than 100 years with the very quality and handmade tradition intact alongside excellent customer services" says Yoon.
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