Temple Food - Balwoo Gongyang

For our trip in Seoul, I made sure that our itinerary were more focused on new experiences. I have always admired travel shows where they show you how to prepare Buddhist temple food from scratch. They seem to be pain staking since they made it by hand and no short cuts.

All reviews for Balwoo Gongyang seem consistent. They were all good and well recommended. It is walking distance on the main Insadong area. Convenient enough that we booked lunch reservations earlier through email. They were accommodating and had us on the list on the day and time we wanted.

We did not know much about temple food except they were vegan, they don't contain garlic, green onions or chives. I would not have any idea on how the food would taste. But I came with an open mind and took the plunge. Worse comes to worst they might serve a whole bowl of salad greens.

We were a group of 6 with 4 women and 2 men. The women voted to try this place while the men (such babies!) were complaining about the vegan option. They complied with us when we promised them steak and beer meals for dinner.

We decided to pick the pre-fix lunch menu called Seon, it translates to Meditation.

They started with marinated cherry tomatoes with fermented sauce, water kimchi, porridge with mugwort and bean. The marinated cherry tomatoes tasted good and the water kimchi wasn't as spicy but the porridge was bland.

Next, they served salad which consists of spring vegetable kimchi, glass noodle salad (japchae) and mungbean jelly. They seasoned them with a course soy sauce and soy bean paste.

I had a second serving of the mungbean jelly.

Then they sent the main course, deep fried mushrooms and vegetables with gochujang (red chili paste). The mushrooms must have been fried twice since it was dry. If I wasn't told what it was I would have guessed it was General Tso's chicken. Yes, it was good and actually tasted like chicken.

The main course was served with yellow rice, soy bean paste stew (jiggae), kimchi and spring vegetables.

At this point, we were full and wasn't able to finish some of the dishes.

For dessert, we had sweet rice punch and mugwort rice cake. The rice punch taste refreshing as they served it cold. It's like drinking iced tea.

I would recommend this place if you want to try temple food.

Would I come back again? Maybe.

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