5.227 Stars

Cycle 5 – Item 227

20 (Wed) August 2014



at Dullegol

-Insa, Jongro, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with meeting participants

Mission to Korea: Informal Round-Table Meeting on Litigation as a Tool for Tobacco Control + International Symposium on Tobacco Control & Law + Personal Deviation: Day 1 of 5

In Seoul.  For my first mission to Korea, I’ve been dispatched to support back-to-back meetings on tobacco control, Thursday and Friday, specifically in relation to the recent lawsuit filed by Korea’s National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) against the tobacco industry to recover costs of health care arising from the treatment of tobacco-related diseases.  Spending the weekend with W and the kids, then back to Manila on Sunday.

Whereas most neighborhoods throughout Seoul have long since been razed and raised in the name of urban development, rerazed and reraised, Insa-Dong remains one of the few that has maintained its old world charm – sort of.  The structures are there, but they’ve undergone extensive cosmetic reconstruction.  Even the alleyways have recently been repaved with new cobblestone, deliberately rough and rustically uneven, how cute, even though Korea historically never had cobbled streets.  Second, the businesses operating within, mostly restaurants and tea shops and art galleries and antique shops, have largely been modernized/stylized/sanitized, nothing like they would’ve been back in the old days, now reimagined for tourists – e.g., tables with chairs.  Nothing wrong with Insa-Dong per se, don’t mind going there on occasion – haven’t been there in nearly three years, previously under similar WHO-related circumstances (see generally 2.287 Dan Hobak Galbi Jjim) – just saying that it’s a bit too hyped and commercialized for the locals.

Dullegol is a Korean restaurant.  Specializes in traditional court Korean cuisine.  Located in a refurbished/renovated/reinvented traditional Korean house (hanok) along a back alley of Insa-Dong.  Like the structure itself, the restaurant offers classic Korean fare with a contemporary flare (“classic fare with a contemporary flare” would make a great, if corny, slogan for a restaurant chain).

On the evening before the events began, NHIS arranged an informal dinner for experts and secretariat at Dullegol.  Curiously, nobody from NHIS attended, so WHO became the de facto hosts.

We ordered the byeol (star) set, which came with 13 courses.  30,000 won per person.

The food was okay.  Every plate came immaculately presented.  The flavors were reasonably well-balanced, though not particularly standout in any way, some dishes more generically Asian than classically Korean.  Overall, the spread was quite appropriate under the circumstances for hosting first-time visitors to Korea.  We all enjoyed the meal, fortifying us for the work that lies ahead.




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