Monday, August 23, 2010


Hanjeongsik (한정식 - 韓定食) refers to Korean prix fixe, or set price menu. Originally designed for the banquet tables of royalty and aristocrats, it comprises course after course of salads, rice, noodles, sprouts, seafood, meats, soups and drinks.

I enjoyed the best hanjeongsik meal I've had all summer for lunch today. The name of the award-winning restaurant was Pungnyeon Myeongjeol (풍년명절). Opened by celebrity chef Chu Hyang-cho, the traditional restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Hwanghaedo Province (modern-day North Korea).

Frankly, the neighborhood, in Eungam-dong, isn't one where you'd expect to find top-notch hanjeongsik; upon turning onto the street, Mother and I both assumed that we had made a wrong turn and tried at first to reset the GPS navigator. But don't be dissuaded by the surroundings—the restaurant itself provides an unexpectedly charming oasis of understated traditional architecture. And most importantly, the food itself is superb (and less expensive than most hanjeongsik restaurants).

Unfortunately, we were there for a meeting, so I couldn't take pictures of the food during the meal.