He pointed to a few pots. But before us was a spread of at least 20 vegetarian banchan in copper bowls: cabbage-and-miso soup, kimchi, kong jeon (soybean pancakes with vegetables), baek kimchi (white kimchi with pine nuts), pickled ginseng-and-radish salad, tempura-style mushrooms. Stir … "Like a Pringle, but better," he said. After much charming on Chang's part, Eunwoo gave up the recipe: Basically, the nuns soak sliced potatoes in water overnight, then shock the chips with boiling water and fry them. He's been rethinking the now-ubiquitous pork belly, an ingredient he once championed. On our way back to Seoul in the van, Chang reflected on the experience. "It's like your wife is in labor and you're not there by her side," he said after climbing into a van parked outside the Park Hyatt hotel tower in Seoul. "I had no idea there were such endless varieties of namul," he said, using the Korean term for seasoned vegetable dishes usually made from sprouts, roots or greens. When Chang asked Kyeho what she thought about Buddhists embracing fame, she replied that it was OK as long as the reason was the greater good of Buddhism. The nuns personally fed everyone bites from a variety of dishes. The buildings were set into the gentle slope of Sabulsan, a sacred mountain blanketed with umbrella pines. Sanchon On the menu: vegetarian dishes paired with home-brewed fruit wine. His sudden success, though, has seemed only to heighten his angst. Or what if the Portuguese came to Korea and stayed?" I just want to make something delicious.". To briefly escape his frantic life, pork-centric chef David Chang heads to South Korea to learn from some vegetarian Buddhist nuns. I have found, thus far, that most of the dishes are vegetarian, but, of course, you can simply ask the waiter to omit the animal foods using the above-mentioned tips. Instead he was taking time out in South Korea, where both his parents were born and raised, to explore temple cuisine, the traditional vegetarian food that has been cooked and eaten by Korean Buddhist monks and nuns for centuries. Vegetarian Korean Recipes. After living in Korea for two years, I often find myself craving The country's strong Confucianist custom of respect for one's elders clearly rubs him the wrong way. Source: Asian Our guide, Dr. Jeong-Woo Kil, an entrepreneur who founded the Korean Temple Food Festival in 2009, explained that the nuns normally eat only three or four banchan (side dishes) at each … For instance, he adds Japanese-inflected udon-style noodles to his supremely comforting chard-shiitake soup, made with mushroom broth. Chang, who often feels both wary of and guilty about his relatively sudden celebrity, was clearly surprised by her answer. All Right Reserved. "I want to put them in my pocket," said Chang. We help people find photos and links to amazing Korean dishes. Balwoo Gongyang In the Templestay Center, serving vegetarian meals that might include sweet potato porridge topped with sesame seeds. Really loudly. Our other two hosts—the temple mistress, Kyeho, and senior nun, Jimyung—were equally cheerful and hilarious, like bald Korean Golden Girls. Chang couldn't believe dishes prepared without meat, onions or garlic could have such intense flavor. Kabocha) Pumpkin Gnocchi, Yangnyeom Kkaennip – Seasoned Perilla Leaves, Kimchi Pancake With Korean Seitan, Gochujang, Radish and Sprout Salad, Oi Naengguk (Korean-style Chilled Cucumber Soup), Pickled King Trumpet Mushrooms (새송이버섯장아찌), Tofu with Snap Peas, Shiitake, and Scallions, Baked King Oyster Mushrooms (Saesongei Guei), Umma’s Set-Your-Lips-on-Fire Bibim Naengmyeon, Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage). Sustainability has been at the core of the Korean Buddhist diet for centuries. "Korean food is all about the fermentation process," Chang said. She led us to a courtyard surrounded by beautifully landscaped terraces of azaleas and magnolia and cherry trees, all about to explode in spring blossoms. koreanair.com. Site Design by The Denizen Co. He added, "I don't care about authenticity. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. His cooking also shows his respect for Japanese cuisine—a provocative stance given Korea's complex and often antagonistic history with Japan. Tofu is an excellent meat substitute and many Korean restaurants have tofu dishes on their menu. The temple, which at other times of the year serves as a small academic center for as many as 30 nuns, housed only a half a dozen women at that moment. Bright! Doan was so radiantly enthusiastic, it seemed beams of light were shooting out of her eyes when she urged us, "Open your mind! Chang tried some homemade potato chips—thick, crispy and full of flavor. Korean Air flies direct to Seoul from the US. And Asia was doing it before Europe. For the first half of the ride through the city's industrial sprawl, he furiously worked his BlackBerry. Gisela Williams is the European correspondent for Food & Wine. Our guide, Dr. Jeong-Woo Kil, an entrepreneur who founded the Korean Temple Food Festival in 2009, explained that the nuns normally eat only three or four banchan (side dishes) at each meal, along with rice. David Chang checks his Blackberry. "Maybe we'll stop selling belly soon," he said. His fifth restaurant, Má Pêche, was about to open in midtown Manhattan, but instead of tweaking dishes and micromanaging his staff, he was in Seoul on the way to a remote Korean Buddhist temple, famed for its vegetarian cuisine. Chang's staff has grown from two (including himself) to almost 500; he spends much of his time now as a manager rather than a chef. The drive from Seoul had taken almost three hours. A slow cooker can can take your comfort food to the next level. But he vehemently dislikes being tagged a Korean chef: "I'm an American chef." If anyone deserves to be tired, it's him. Chang smiled when he thought about the Golden Girls of Jinkwansa. Photo © William Meppem. Templestay Arranges meals or longer visits at temples. (Korean Buddhists are prohibited from using vegetables like garlic and onions that are considered "hot" and distracting to meditation.). Jimyung asked Chang if he would save her a table at his restaurant if she came to New York. Dairy-Free Korean Sesame-Marinated Spinach is the Stuff of Side Dish Dreams Sunny Lee. Stir-fry the mixture for 2 minutes until well heated through. Banyan Tree Club & Spa Four rooms per floor, all with private plunge pools. Korean Food Gallery showcases images and links to delicious Korean dishes submitted by Korean food enthusiasts. I've got to bring Ferran here," Chang said, referring to Ferran Adrià, the chef at Spain's famed El Bulli. @2020 The Korean Vegan. Bing!". During a brief stop at a food festival at Yongsusa, a temple for Buddhist monks near the city of Andong, Chang was jumped by a small group of journalists who ambushed him with questions about South Korea, and it set him on edge. ... Vegetarian Gungjung Tteokbokki (“Royal Court” Rice Cakes) Grilled Marinated Tofu. It was so sarcastic and surprising, especially from a nun in robes, that everyone howled with laughter, including Chang. Outside, behind the kitchen (often located in the center of a temple complex), was a collection of 20 or more enormous black ceramic pots filled with fermenting pastes and liquids. Vegetarian Gungjung Tteokbokki (“Royal Court” Rice Cakes), Simple Japchae (잡채) – Glass Noodles with Vegetables, Gyeran Mari with Gim (Rolled Omelette with Dried Seaweed), Ganjang Tteokbokki (Rice Pasta in Soy Sauce), Crispy Zucchini Pancakes (Hobak Buchimgae), Danhobak (a.k.a. The trip gave Chang a rare five-day pause from his busy life. On a spring day last April, Chang was testier than usual. His schedule hadn't slowed down, but he'd carved out time to experiment with new recipes inspired by his trip. These last two dishes later inspired Chang to create his own sweet-sour, soy-and-honey-glazed radishes and turnips to serve with rice cracker–coated mushrooms. This cookbook includes 30 simple, healthy, and flavorful Korean vegetarian recipes (25 of which can be made vegan) along with a photo of each recipe. The tiny East Village hole-in-the-wall quickly became a culinary phenomenon, and in 2006, F&W named Chang one of America's Best New Chefs. Serve at once or at room temperature. He continued, "There's a big movement in Europe towards naturalism right now. An hour later, when the city's undistinguished block-style high rises were replaced by deforested hills and flooded rice fields, he put on the Bose noise-canceling headphones he'd purchased with some recent gambling winnings, blasted the Kinks and, almost immediately, started to snore. Dubu jorim, braised tofu, is a good option for spicy food enthusiasts. What would the food be like? A nun in gray robes with a shaved head greeted us and led us to the temple's Buddha hall, where arriving visitors are required to greet and bow to the Buddha. Soon, we were introduced to the mistress of the temple, Eunwoo, a roly-poly woman in her fifties or sixties with a shiny shorn head and a flowing robe of thick gray linen. Afterward they led us to a cozy little 100-year-old stone-and-bark house in the courtyard for tea. "I like to imagine what would happen if, say, a Korean immigrated to the American South in the 17th century. His biggest challenge was to make an intensely flavored vegetable stock that tastes as good as a meat one; he was also working on replicating those potato chips.