If you're walking down 어울마당로 (Eoulmadang-ro) in Hongdae, (you know, that popular street full of restaurants and shops with parking in between lanes of traffic) and you see a queue of people lined up in front of a small wooded entrance, then you may have just found 돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり).
First off, do not be discouraged by the line. Let me repeat that, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT be discouraged by the line. All of these people are eagerly awaiting a table since this small, busy Japanese restaurant. It doesn't seem to matter when you go, there will always probably be so escort of wait. Menus will be distributed while you wait in line, and when you sit down, your food will be there, hot and ready to be devoured.
Good luck making a decision on what you're going to order. Everything sounds delicious, and the price is very affordable as well. If there's a wait in line, I wouldn't suggest ordering an appetizer. I did when I went there, and it was delivered with our entrees. To start off we chose the Karaage, a Japanese friend chicken appetizer. The chicken, served in the form of breaded chicken balls, is juicy and moist.
The rice bowls at 돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり) are what they're famous for. They're so damn tasty--and filling, as well! If you're a fan of caramelized onions, then the Kakiagedon is for you. It's described on their menu as having lots of onions, seven or four small lightly battered and fried shrimp (depending on whether you order a medium or large), a half cooked egg and donburi sauce. I don't know if I've had anything as delicious as the caramelized onions in this dish, in all of Seoul. The large size is super filling, and it'll make you forget every second you waited in line--and for only ₩9,000!
Another solid choice for a rice bowl is the Katsudon. Pork sirloin, sliced onions, two half cooked eggs and donburi sauce--if shrimp or seafood isn't your jam, you can't go wrong with the Katsudon. It's served in three different sizes, deepening on how many eggs your little heart desires. The largest size, the Double Katsudon will only set you back ₩9,500.
돈부리 (弘大 どんぶり) very well could be the best Japanese spot in Seoul that isn't sushi oriented. Teppen, also in Hongdae, is a close second, but I'll leave that for another day. It's cheap, delicious, and well worth that wait in line.
Address: 마포구 서교동 366-18 (홍대본점)