21 (Fri) October 2011
at Gyeonghi Sikdang
-Chungcheongnam, Republic of Korea-
with AUSOM faculty
Whereas hansik (한식) is Korean cuisine in general, and jeongsik (정식) is a set meal, hanjeongsik (한정식) is a set meal of Korean cuisine. Any such spread, whether in restaurants and at home, consists of steamed rice, soup, a variety of banchan (반찬) (small side dishes), and maybe a centerpiece dish of meat or fish (see for example 2.237 A Typical Korean Home-Cooked Meal Returns). Though the term “hanjeongsik” can be broadly applicable, it’s usually reserved for formal/fancy/traditional meals. In the southern provinces of Korea, most famously Jeolla (전라), the hanjeongsik concept has been taken to the extreme: the more variations of dishes, the better. Quality is essential, of course, but the totality of the experience is largely the point of it all.
Gyeonghi Sikdang is (경희식당) is a Korean restaurant. Famous for hanjeongsik.
On our way to the annual faculty retreat, three buses loaded with professors from Ajou University School of Medicine stopped by the restaurant for dinner. Amazingly, we were all eating within minutes of being seated. Granted, they knew we were coming, but the logistical efficiency of the staff was remarkable nonetheless.
The meal was great. I counted 43 individual items, with braised bulgogi as the centerpiece. Each table was shared among 4 people. A colleague, who had eaten there years before, complained that the spread used to be much more impressive with even more dishes brought out on a separate tray (maybe that was a deluxe version?). Anyway, what we had was more than enough. The dishes weren’t that spectacular in terms of taste, but I was too busy sampling everything to notice. So much fun. Not that cheap at 22,000 won per person.
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)