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“Heavenly food in a "divine" place”
Review of Balwoo Gongyang

Balwoo Gongyang
Ranked #228 of 123,068 Restaurants in Seoul
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Korean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Insadong
Reviewed April 17, 2012

My travel guide informed us of this place, serving nothing but vegetarian food. Korean & Vegetarian was like a match made in heaven for us and we decided to finish off our tour of Korea this way.

They have an a la carte menu and two tasting menus, one with 12 and one with 15 dishes. We opted for the bigger one as we thought we were hungry.

And we dug our heels into the delicacies brought forward. I don't remember the names, but boy, that food was delicious, always with the traditional trimmings to go along. Delicate flavors, food you'd never think of eating (e.g. 4 year old ginger roots, tiny but savory)

You don't have to be vegetarian to appreciate this place and give it a try. It's Korean food like you've never had before. One of the absolute highlights of our trip!

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Thank Hans H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 - 59 of 101 reviews

Reviewed December 21, 2011

I went with a customer in this place, after visiting the Buddhist temple across the street.
we were explained the significance of the several symbols, artifacts and other features that are Buddhist signatures and went in this small elevator, almost not noticeable at all.
While arrived at the top, the place looked nice and small, relatively intimate and stripped of any form of unnecessary tourist type of deco that make the experience more exotic visually but less genuine taste pods wise...
A Polaroid picture of Richard Gere with the owner at the bar, displayed a sense of mundane to the place, while keeping it simple.
The plates, cutlery and all dishes are in balsa and the crockery is nice but intimate and minimalist. The place is run by Buddhists, who are trained by monks and cook to the public the same ingredients and the same food the monks cook for themselves, with centuries worth of tradition.
All of it is vegetarian and i started a bit skeptical to the idea, until i completely realize that i would be fed beyond reason.
We tried the 15 course meal! We drunk all possible tea and fermented beverages you could dream of, without alcohol. Actually, with the inspired discipline of the place, it would be sacrilegious to order alcohol...
the food was simply divine! well prepared, with the perfect sequencing (wondering if the waitress read my mind at some point, as i was pausing and she did notice it without keeping on bring the next course, nor saying a word). The ingredients were all prepared with minutia, very thinly sliced, and i was wondering how it was possible to slice vegetable that thinly, without making a butchery of the job. the flavors were sometime strange, but always within reason and we actually made the remark, when was the last time you tasted something that you had never tasted before. (as in NOT saying, it taste almost like chicken, Parmesan or else..). The very religious process in serving, eating and trying all those dishes was very impressive and i must say i left the table with the same feeling of satiety as if i had eaten a T bone + sides in a south African steak house.
While writing those line, i am wondering whether success is not going to play against them, as they have kept a level of simplicity and authenticity that you will have a hard time to find in nowadays society. Anyway, by humble and give it a try... discretely.

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2  Thank ktulu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 days ago
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    • Value
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Thank verysweet2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago
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Thank 黏菌
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2017
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Thank 하얀구름
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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