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Vegan Bonus! Business Lunch at Gam Ro Dang Temple Food

May 27, 2011

We’ve been so busy with professional activities since coming to Seoul that we’re way behind on our vegan noms. I really really like bibambap, but I’m telling you, having frequent business lunches and dinners at non-veggie restaurants has resulted in seemingly endless servings of bibimbap this first week-and-a-half in Seoul. Thus, Sunnie and I were super excited and surprised when on a recent business lunch, our party marched right past the bbq restaurants and up to Gam Ro Dang, a temple food restaurant. Gam Ro Dang was located in a small back street area, in the area right around Kyungokgoong Palace station. It looked like it was previously a house, and they had remodeled it into a restaurant. It had a very cute little front yard and it was pretty cozy. And you know what temple food means, right? It means vegan!

Because we weren’t expecting a vegan lunch, we were a bit unprepared and had to rely on my ipod for the pictures, so it’s too bad that their quality aren’t up to par, because it was a beautifully presented meal!

Gam Ro Dang vegan temple food

There was a pretty consistent lotus motif with much of the serving ware throughout the meal, reflecting the Buddhist temple fare.

Gam Ro Dang salad

We started with a simple, fresh salad of a variety of greens, including mustard greens.

Gam Ro Dang banchan

The salad was accompanied with a water kimchi made of cabbage.

Gam Ro Dang vegan temple food

They also served grilled mushroom, lotus root, and ma, a Korean root vegetable. Isn’t it beautiful served on a bed of pine needles? To accompany these simply grilled food was a pink sulfuric salt to dip them in, giving a slight egg-y flavor.

Gam Ro Dang tofu

The next course was a fried tofu dish tossed in a mild, spicy sauce.

Gam Ro Dang flower pancakes

This beautiful dish was a variety of pancakes, including carrot, potato, radish, and seaweed. The carrot pancakes in particular were really, really good.

Gam Ro Dang radish top kimchi

Each course came out separately, so we were always eating something new but also several dishes at once as they would clear away dishes we finished and promptly bring out a new one. This was a kimchi dish of radish leaves and lotus root.

Gam Ro Dang banchan

And this sangchae dish, served on a kkaenip leaf, had Korean pear, cucumber, pine nut, cucumber, as well as deodeok, another root vegetable.

Gam Ro Dang bibambap

And despite the abundance of bibambap we’ve been eating, I was happy to finish up the meal with a small portion.

Gam Ro Dang gochujang

Well presented and served with gochujang.

Gam Ro Dang doenjang jigae

As well as a small bowl of doenjang jigae.

Gam Ro Dang sik hae

For dessert, we had sik hae, the yummy rice drink.

Gam Ro Dang dessert

And these simple pastries served with a ginger paste.

We were so pleasantly surprised and looking forward to our next temple food experience!

Gam Ro Dang – Temple Food
35-106 Tong Uidong, Jongrogu, Seoul, Korea
Tel. 82-2-3210-3397

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2011 5:27 am

    It all looks so beautiful! You must share the recipes for the pancakes and the various kimchis.


    • Bill permalink*
      May 28, 2011 8:09 pm

      Well, we don’t have their recipes, but we’ll give it a go on trying to figure them out! 🙂

  2. May 27, 2011 5:52 pm

    It looks lovely and a little challenging to me. Beautifully presented, but some of it is the kind of food that I can’t really sink my teeth into, and so I feel like I’m failing. LOL. The mushrooms and lotus root in particular. Are these dishes for sharing, or individual portions? Some of it seems austere, and some of it overabundant. I just love the way everything looks so fresh and colorful, though. The salad of radish leaves and lotus root and the pear/cucumber dish following it are just so appetizing to me. And what cute, pretty pancakes. Yum.

    I’m going over to my Korean-cooking friends’ again this weekend and we are going to make a whole bunch of stuff, including kimchi (mmmmkkakdugi) and flower cookies; not yakgwa, but the kind that have edible flowers on top. Hwajeon.

    • Bill permalink*
      May 28, 2011 8:11 pm

      Hi, Lu! We’re so impressed with your Korean cuisine knowledge! These dishes were all for sharing, with the exception of the doenjang jigae, bap, and the water kimchi. It was definitely a meal of more simple, as you say, austere, flavors. Even the doenjang jigae was a more simple flavor than you typically find. Hope you enjoy your weekend, sounds like fun!

  3. May 31, 2011 10:40 am

    Hi, Bill and Sunnie! I see you have a new post up, but I’ll respond here where it’s on topic. Thanks for your reply! The kimchi-making went great. I think it’s even better this time, except it needs more salt. I think I’ll add some today. It should probably be okay since it’s only one day since we made it. Whatcha think?

    The hwajeon were not very good, possibly because we’d never made them before and none of us had ever even eaten them, so we didn’t know what they were supposed to taste like. As non-Korean Americans, we’re not used to cooking with chapssal-garu, so who knows if the texture was supposed to be so gummy. LOL.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 31, 2011 9:10 pm

      Hey, Lu!

      I think it’ll be okay to add some salt, just be aware that you might have more water come out than normal. You might want to make sure to keep it in the fridge just in case!

      Yeah, I think you’re supposed to mix the chapssal-garu with other things, when I tried hwajeon, it wasn’t very gummy! 😛


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