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Sanchae – Healthy and Yummy Mountain Food!

July 14, 2011

I’ve talked about mountain food before in my post on Biji-Jigae (okara stew). Korean mountain food is known to be very healthy and earthy. All the environmentalist and macrobiotic cooks in Korea seem to really get inspired by the Korean mountain style living. Eating locally, only the amount that you need, taking only what you need from nature, following the principles of four seasons, letting go of greed and possessive thoughts, and loving and respecting earth are some of these principles. Lots of younger Koreans these days dream of and actually take action in moving from the city and suburbs to the mountains to live a life that is more aligned with their beliefs and philosophy.

This summer we visited a Korean mountain food restaurant in Seoul, called Sanchae – which means “Mountain Vegetables”! I had wanted to go ever since I saw Dancing Beny (Korean blogger) post about the restaurant on her blog. They had an amazing menu. Not everything was vegan, but it was very vegan friendly. They had duduk root roasts, bibimbap, tofu kimchi, acorn mook (jelly), potato pancakes, and all sorts of namuls for their set menus and side dishes. Of course we could only try a couple of things, but they were very good. We sneaked peeks at others’ tables that had other dishes, and everything looked delicious. Their beat-up wooden chopsticks and spoons, and dishware were so much fun as well.

The first dish we got was the pyogobusut-tangsoo (sweet and sour mushroom). Wow, it was so good. Very earthy flavor, a little less sweet than others we’ve had but super yummy.

We also got deulkkae gooksoo -kkaennip (perrilla) seed soup noodles. You can’t really see the noodles here, but there are noodles in the soup! Yumm… so rich and flavorful. Both dishes were so earthy and so nice.

Of course a Korean mountain restaurant would serve kutjuri (kimchi salad) and yulmoo mool kimhi (young radish top water kimchi) as side dishes. So yummy!

Everything was excellent. The next time we’re in Seoul, we will be visiting again for other dishes!

Location & Directions: Sanchae is located near the Seoul National University station, line 2. Take exit 3 and head towards the Gwanak-Gu office (big glass office building), take the second right. Walk one block and it’s across the intersection from you on your left! I hope you will be able to visit someday. 🙂

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2011 10:29 am

    Your picture of the gook-su makes me crave kong gook-su. I have got to make some this weekend! Do you have any tips? I always end up spending, literally, an hour meticulously taking the husks off the soaked beans. Am I wasting my time? It takes so long because just rubbing them between my hands–as all the recipes suggest–doesn’t work.

    Mmm, organic soy beans and cucumbers ahoy! Grocery store, you’re on notice. 😉

    I considered going to Sanchae while I was there, and I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t, but I think it was because they won’t serve the set menu to just one person at a table.

    Thanks for the post, Sunnie!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 15, 2011 8:21 pm

      Lu!!! I hope all is well. Yumm.. I LOVE kong gook-su. I actually have not made kong gook-su at home yet. I probably should try it now that you’ve inspired me! I can’t believe that you have to rub all the beans one by one, that sounds like a lot of work. 😦 Do you have a favorite recipe? If you do, please share it with us, so we can try!

      Oh really, so you did consider going to Sanchae!! It is so exciting to hear about your time in Korea. Another reader of our blog is actually in South Korea right now – it’s so exciting to hear about others’ journeys there. Yeah, I saw their set menus, maybe you’re right, lots of restaurants require you to order two minimum for certain dishes. Anyway, they looked so yummy with tons of namuls and side dishes… If you ever visit Korea again, hopefully it’ll be in the spring so we can meet up! 🙂

      • July 16, 2011 1:15 am

        Hi! That would be so much fun, Sunnie. 🙂 Do you follow Alien’s Day Out? I love reading about her trips to all the cute coffeehouses in the neighborhoods of Seoul and her reports on vegan fare there. Mipa makes everything sound cute and positive. 🙂 I’d love to follow in her footsteps there, too.

        I have one recipe for kong guksoo that I got from the internet. I’m pretty sure it’s this one:

        The recipe is really simple in terms of ingredients, as you can see. That’s why I was surprised at how long it took me to actually make it! This is the step that just makes me laugh cynically: “Drain soybeans and run them under cold water, rubbing them between your hands to remove their skins.” Ha! Those skins don’t all come off that way, and the ones that don’t, you have to pop out individually. That’s a lotta soybeans. I don’t know anyone who’s made it, though, so maybe there is some traditional trick that I haven’t learned. What do the cooks in your family say, I wonder?

        I use buckwheat soba instead of white noodles, add plenty of finely julienned cucumber, and sprinkle it with little chunks of sea salt before eating. Nom-nom-nom! It’s totally delicious for breakfast on a hot summer day.

      • Sunnie permalink*
        July 16, 2011 7:37 am

        That sounds so yummy… Lu. I asked around and actually you can grind the beans without peeling them. You just have to strain it really well, and it is not easy to strain with a lot of skin. So I would just peel as much as you can (not worry about getting all of them) and then strain it. Yes, we do follow Aliens blog, and we’ve been to places that she blogged about. Thanks for the recipe, we’ll be making this very soon! 😉

  2. July 16, 2011 6:26 pm

    Hi, Sunnie. Thanks for the feedback. I don’t strain the beans for this soup. I kind of like that chewy, crunchy solid in the bowl with the creamy white liquid. Yum. Thank you for asking around about that. So I guess I’ll keep on peelin’. 😉

  3. kelvin permalink
    April 18, 2018 1:39 am

    I am very interested in your post about sanchea food, but i am not sure about the location of this restaurant. Would you be kind to post a google street photo of the said restaurant?


    • Bill permalink*
      April 18, 2018 12:40 pm

      Hi, Kelvin. We actually live in the US and not Seoul and so do not have access to it. I did a quick search, and according to HappyCow, it may be closed now. 😦


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