Buffet, Korean-style

decor
The writing on the right is the name of the restaurant, based on a poem (writing on the left)
decorative pots
Decorative pots
seatig
Some of the seating

One evening Rod and I went out to dinner with Dr Baik and friend Kim Chang, to a Korean buffet restaurant in the Gwanak-gu area of SW Seoul (not too far from SNU). It’s an enormous place, with tables set out in separate sections around a central food station.

The decorations are lovely—flowers and bushes in large brown pots; a small pool with stones and green water plants; large brown jars like kimchi jars; jar lids hanging on the wall telling the story of rice, of soybean paste and red pepper paste; a great display of teas etc. Two of the lids that I noted were:

gochujang

Gochujang is a savory, spicy fermented Korean hot pepper paste, with chilis, glutinous rice and fermented soy beans.

doenjang

Doenjang is a fermented soybean paste.

poet
The poet/calligrapher
cookstation
Part of the cooking station

The name of the restaurant is Jayeonbyeolkok, which translates into something roughly like “Natural Harmony, Natural Melody”. It’s based on a poem associated with a traditional poet and artist (1786-1856), whose picture we saw on the wall. I believe his name was Kim Jong-hui, and he was one of the most famous calligraphers of his time, penning a number of Zen poems. (If I have the name wrong, I welcome corrections).

It’s quite a place, and very popular. Dr Baik told us that local people like to come here. It’s always amazing to us how people anywhere in the world generally like the concept of a buffet (=lots of food).

cookstation2

food
A small selection of some of the foods offered
beefstone
Beef cooking on the hot stone

There was a vast selection of foods, from salads, to noodles, to rice dishes, to kimchi, to cooked meats, many kinds of cooked vegetables, fruit, icecream, to name a few. We filled plates from the buffet, but we also had beef slices (beef from Australia), enoki mushrooms and garlic slices cooked on a hot stone that was brought to our table. Delicious!

No alcohol is served except a Korean sweet red wild strawberry wine—we tried it, and it has an interesting, rather syrupy taste.

Rod chatting
Rod M chats to Chang and Dr Baik
water
Decorative water feature

Another great meal in Korea, and for us a new experience to try this style of Korean buffet.

 

tea
A great selection of teas
tea
A great selection of teas
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