I would say that Korea is one of the most generous countries in the world. You would agree with me if you saw all the countless free side dishes in Korean restaurants. In most restaurants, there are at least three to four side dishes, and in Hanjeongsik restaurants, much more.
What is Hanjeongsik? It is a formal Korean meal with various side dishes, a main dish, cooked rice, and soup. Even in the Hanjeongsik category, there are different levels depending on the price and quality. The high quality Hanjeogsik could cost over 100,000KRW per person and the ones that you can easily have costs around 12,000KRW per person. Of course they look different in the number of side dishes and the food ingredients.
The one that I went was the easy-to-go one and it cost 12,000 KRW. It still had lots of side dishes which you can ask to refill.
Let’s look at the side dishes.
Japchae (잡채): stir-fried sweet potato noodles with vegetables and beef, seasoned with soy sauce.
Gamja jorim (감자 조림): braised potatoes with soy sauce
Baechu muchim (배추 무침): seasoned cabbages
Gosari muchim (고사리 무침): seasoned fernbrake
Kimchi (김치): spicy fermented cabbages
Chwinamul (취나물): seasoned aster saber
Dongchimi (동치미): radish water Kimchi
Munamul (무나물): seasoned radish
Jeon (전): Korean pancake with vegetables
Mukmuchim (묵무침): seasoned acorn jelly
Ggetnip (깻잎): seasoned perilla leaves
The main dish of what I ordered was Jeyuk Bokkeum (제육볶음; spicy stir-fried pork). I prefer eating it with Kimchi or making a lettuce wrap rather than eating it only with rice.
Here are the Ssam Chaeso (쌈채소; vegetables for wraps). It is not just one type, but various kinds of vegetables like Korean lettuce, perilla leaves, green cabbages, etc.
It’s easy to make a lettuce wrap. On your palm, lay a Ssam Chaeso or two or three (It’s up to you) nicely. Then put some rice, the meat, and Ssamjang (쌈장; Korean sauce for wraps). Gather the edges of the Ssam Chaeso together so that the food that you put in it doesn’t show. Then, eat it all at once 🙂
No worries even if you can’t eat it at once but Koreans normally eat it at once. Koreans are supposed to have big mouths lol
Some Hanjeongsik places give you normal white rice but most places give you rice made in a stone pot. It looks fancier and tastes better.
Soup always comes with Hanjeongsik. I got Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개; soybean stew with vegetables). This is one of the Korean national soups which are the most basic and popular.
The best part of rice cooked in a stone pot is Nurungji (누룽지; scorched, crispy rice soup). It is just made of scorched rice and water so it is not salty, sweet, spicy, or whatever. However, it tastes good. You never know if you don’t try!
농부의뜰 (Nongbu-ui ddeul)
경기도 화성시 향남읍 서해로 152번길 7-10 (7-10, Seohae-ro 152beon-gil, Hyangnam-eup, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do)