If you’ve sampled Korean culture without a traditional Korean meal, it’s about time to try hanjeongsik, a wide variety of Korean cuisine.
Hanjeongsik, or table d’hote, French for the host’s table, is a full spread of hansik (Korean food), including rice, soup and side dishes. The culinary experience is no easy task, with much care and preparation required for each dish, presented on one table in a marriage of taste and beauty. To watch the making of hanjeongsik is an event all of its own.
Where to go eat
With a 30-year history, Seokwha is one of the city’s most well-known hanjeongsik specialty restaurants.
The eatery’s popular hansik course comes with a 36,000 won price tag. Food is served three times during the sitting, beginning with appetizer salads and chilled vegetables, followed by main courses of mushroom soup, meat, japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables) and jeon (pancake). Finely-plated side dishes, a standard meal of soup and rice with sikhye, a rice-based dessert drink, rounds out the experience. Salmon and abalone are included on the menu depending on the desired price range.
Address: 21, Jobang-ro, Dong-gu. Seokwha is a 5-10 minute walk from exit 8 of Beomil Station.
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m.
Fully-immerse yourself in a traditional Korean atmosphere at Naedang, located in a hanok (Korean traditional house) attached to Nongshim Hotel, which runs the restaurant. A roof adorned with antique tiles hangs overhead while outside, a garden pond adds tranquility to the experience.
Savor unique cuisine developed in-house, such as crab meat mixed with red pepper paste and muk (jelly), sprinkled with orange sauce, served after the appetizer salad. The restaurant offers various hansik courses, often hinging on seasonal fruits and vegetables, including suyuk (boiled pork slices), hoe (raw fish) and grilled Korean beef ribs. Every kind of broth and sauce used in the restaurant is made from scratch. Each careful meal is served on high-quality tableware and expertly-plated, another enjoyable facet to the already one-of-a-kind experience. The lunch special runs 32,000 won. Other full-course meals range from 45,000 to 100,000 won.
Address: First floor, Hotel Nongshim, 23, Geumganggongwon-ro 20 beon-gil, Dongnae-gu.
Hours: Lunch is served from noon until 3 p.m.; dinner is from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
The creative forces behind Jungrim are advocates of natural food, specializing in medicinal, herb-based cuisine, with wild herbs an integral part of their menu. For anyone who strives to uphold a healthy diet, it’s worth a visit.
Its aesthetically enticing interior design allows plenty of space for comfortable table sets. The lunch special, at 16,000 won, is a satisfying meal for a reasonable price, with a good assortment of foods served.
Jungrim’s full-course meal includes porridge, salads, ssambap (rice wrapped in greens), suyuk, japchae, jeon, bean paste stew and side dishes. The food isn’t overly-seasoned, but simple, vegetarian-oriented and low-calorie. Single dishes such as bibimbap, bean paste stew and kimchi stew are also popular.
Address: Second floor, Hyundai I’Park Busan, 38, Marine city 2-ro, Haeundae-gu.
Hours: From 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.
This specialty full-course hansik restaurant boasts a quiet atmosphere of clean flavors and tasteful simplicity. It has earned a reputation as a perfect place for formal meetings, such as the pre-wedding meeting of families.
An impressive traditional interior, modeled after hanok, encompasses rooms decorated with folksy art pieces, from pottery to patchwork.
The hansik is made from medicinal herbs and seasonal ingredients, with the full-course meal consisting of gujeolpan (nine-delicacy platter돟 nine kinds of fillings with pancake wraps), sinseollo (brass chafing dish), salads, ribs, rolls, and raw fish. Unusual foods such as deep-fried bananas in seaweed and rice cooked in bamboo are popular menu items.
Address: Eighth floor, Marina Center, 154, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu.
Hours: From 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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