I have always been curious about Seoul and South Korea itself. This time, my Asia trip allowed me to have four days in South Korea and I chose to spend all four in Seoul. I am a big fan of Korean cuisine but my awareness of it is only to the extent of what Europe and Sydney have shown me. This is therefore the perfect opportunity to be introduced to authentic Korean food.
Dine Like a Royal
We searched for restaurants that could show the Korean cuisine like it was meant to be. We found Jihwaja Seoul, which is located in the center of downtown Seoul close to Gyeongbokgung subway station. Acclaimed in the Michelin Guide Seoul, Jihwaja is a restaurant that serves Korean Royal Cuisine and is operated by the family of Hwang Hye-seong – a professor and researcher of Korean royal court cuisine, who inherited the art of preparing royal cuisine from Han Hui-sun (the last kitchen court lady who cooked meals for the last two kings of the Joseon Dynasty).
Jihwaja Seoul takes pride in serving royal cuisine and this is highly reflected in the staff´s enthusiasm when explaining about the dishes. We were greeted by the owner, Mr. Han, who is extremely service-minded and friendly. His passion for true Korean cuisine rubs off on you and I certainly acquired new knowledge such as the fact that authentic kimchi is actually not spicy! Who knew?
We tried the set menu, Gungjung Manchan (Deluxe Royal Degustation Course), which is one of the most comprehensive menus I have ever had. Although it consisted of 12 different dishes and took us around 3,5 hours to finish, it did not feel that long. Each dish was explained by Mr. Han himself or by one of the knowledgeable staff members, which made the next dish just as exciting to eat as the one before it, resulting in an incredible experience. So if you´re ever in Seoul and would like a unique cultural dining experience, then Jihwaja Seoul should definitely be on your itinerary! Oh, and did I forget to mention that all dishes at Jihwaja are made with natural ingredients? No artificial ingredients are used and veggies are not cut and prepared on beforehand for storage – they are cut right after your order has been placed to ensure freshness – this level of detailed cooking is hard to beat.
Talk you soon! xx Lynn