Quite a few visitors to Korea are interested in the Buddhist Temples that can be found all around the country. Many also want to experience eating real temple food. There are a few different ways to do this. You can go to the Temple Food Center in Seoul, take a class at a few temples, and can even spend a night or two at some others. The best place to look for information on this is the Temple Stay program website.
There are also multiple restaurants all around the country that specialize in temple food. After our visits to Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto our good friend Ken, our host at the Seoul House found a highly recommended restaurant just off the road from Bulguksa back to Gyeongju.
Tucked behind another restaurant basically in the middle of fields we discovered the taste and beauty of a ‘temple’ meal. Buddhists don’t eat meat so temple food is perfect for vegetarians. Not only are multiple recognizable vegetables and fruits used, but also wild herbs and plants. This wide variety provides a very healthy meal.
Only one table was available when we arrived and it was in a separate ‘room’ as were many of the other tables. Ken ordered a set meal for us so we could try a variety of things. There were so many different dishes set before us, and as soon as we finished with one course, another was set before us. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many different choices set before me.
We only took photos of a small sample of the dishes as we were too busy eating.
The one pictured above, on the right, was my favorite. It was tofu, but somehow tasted like fried chicken. It was excellent.
About 25 different dishes is the usual number you might expect at a lunch at a temple food restaurant, and we had at least that many. I didn’t think to count when we started eating. There’s no meat, no fish, no onions, garlic, or msg, yet somehow every dish was unique. Some of the flavors were a little too different for my taste, but I tried everyone of them. Most were very tasty. So if you’re looking for something different to try, temple food is a good option.
Have a great day everyone.
You may also enjoy Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, and Foodie’s Delight: The Street Food Of Korea.
Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. All photo credits to Elizabeth Marzec.
Note. I don’t know the name of the restaurant, but I took this photo of the back of their menu. Not much help I know.
lovely! I would love to visit here when I go to Korea next year!
the restaurant’s name is “SSuk bu jaeng ee” it’s hard to write Korean words in English but I tried at least 😉
Thank you for your kind words, and the restaurant name. It was very well worth a visit.