11.240 Cutting Board Boiled Pork Table d’Hôte


1 (Tue) August 2020

Cutting Board Boiled Pork Table d’Hôte


at Sunnam Siraegi

-Seongsu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with Mom and Dad

The Rest of My Life, Day 1.

Today, I embark on a new career path.  In what will hopefully be the final job that I ever have, I am now working at a small local company that imports/distributes/sells English-language books in Korea.  For the first time in 25 years, I am engaged in a field unrelated to either law or health.  On the other hand, I am reconnecting with books, which I had not anticipated would comprise my professional future when I graduated college 25 years ago with a degree in English literature.  However, because I have zero practical skills in the business of books, even if I did write term papers on many of the books in inventory, my immediate functional role in the company is still a question mark; regardless, I might end up owning the place one day, so I’m bound to fit in somewhere soon enough. Having retired from public service, I can think of no private enterprise more noble than bringing books into people’s lives.

The restaurant is located next door to the office, which is visible in the background on the left.

Sunnam Siraegi (순남시래기) is a Korean restaurant chain.  Founded in 2015 (or 2010 or 2005 or 1993, depending on what milestone is used for the reckoning), with 119 locations across Korea, as of December 2020.  Specializes in siraegi guk (시래기국), along with other traditional dishes.

The restaurant offers a set (jeongsik (정식) = “table d’hôte”) that comes with a small soup – I requested the spicy version – and a small portion of meat (suyuk (수육) = “boiled pork”) served on a plastic platter (doma (도마) = “cutting board”), plus steamed rice and unlimited banchan.

Banchan is self-service, which I’m praying will become a standard/mandatory practice here, so as to reduce the tons of hourly food waste generated by all the uneaten banchan served to customers who don’t even touch it.
Environmental issues aside, the banchan were excellent, like this kong namul (spicy bean sprouts) – I could eat this and only this with steamed rice, all day, every day.

The food was great.  In addition to the side dishes, the signature soup was both deep in flavor and refreshingly zesty.  The pork belly was a tad dry, but tasty.  Overall, a very well-balanced and satisfying meal.

One major factor in my decision to give up my previous career and work here was to be closer to my parents, who are getting on in age.  I will be seeing them everyday, at least on weekdays, which I haven’t done in 14 years since I was living with them before I got married (14th wedding anniversary is in 11 days).  I will also be eating lunch with them frequently, maybe almost every day, which, come to think of it, I’ve never done in my entire life – even as a young child, both my parents were always working, and I was in daycare or school, so we only ate lunch together on weekends.  Nepotism isn’t gonna be easy.

(For more details re food, see WHAT)

(For more details re venue, see WHERE IN KOREA)

2 thoughts on “11.240 Cutting Board Boiled Pork Table d’Hôte

  1. Speaking of food waste, would it be acceptable/considered normal in Korea to ask for the uneaten banchans (which anyways would be thrown away?) to be packed into a “doggybag”?
    I’m trying myself nowadays not to contribute to food waste, so if I have not eaten my entire meal at a restaurant I will ask for it to be put into a doggybag (given I’m on my way home). Plus I’m cheap so it saves on having to cook another lunch/dinner or buy one….

    I think most restaurants will help you with that here, but it’s not that common…

    1. Generally, it’s acceptable to take home any uneaten food.

      But, Koreans usually wouldn’t take home uneaten banchan, only main dishes.

      It also wouldn’t be allowed in a buffet situation.

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