14.219 Sprouts & Mushrooms (with Bulgogi)

Cycle 14 – Item 219

12 (Sat) August 2023

Sprouts & Mushrooms (with Bulgogi)


at Sosoban

-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-

with the Family, In-Laws

Sosoban is a Korean restaurant.  The menu offers 2 types of bulgogi, galbi, and dubu jeongol.

Located 8.6 km from the cabin.

The plan is to eat dubu jjm at Iri Garden (see most recently 13.121 Dubu Jjim).  Earlier in the afternoon, I asked W to call ahead and make a reservation – the restaurant is wont to close at random hours, either because business is too good and they run out of ingredients, or business is too slow and the owner gets bored; W waved off the suggestion, saying that we’d be going before 6pm, so no risk that the restaurant would already be closed.  (You see where this story is headed, right?).  When we get there at 17:31, the restaurant is closed.

Empty upon our arrival at 17:44.

Scrambling to find an alternate venue, W does a quick search and hits upon Sosoban.   I suggest that she call the restaurant, both to confirm that they’re open and that they have dubu in stock – as with Iri Garden, most restaurants in the area use fresh dubu that’s made/sourced daily, which can run out if business is brisk that day.  W calls, confirms that they’re open, and hangs up.  I ask why she didn’t confirm the availability of dubu; W shrugs, saying that we’ll be going before 6pm, so no risk that dubu would already be sold out.  (You see where this story is headed, right?).  When we get there at 17:44, dubu is sold out.

The only item available was the standard “yetnal” (old-fashioned) bulgogi.

I give W a look.  She sighs and nods, acknowledging the depth of the shit in which she currently stands.

Banchan [clockwise from left]: dried radish, fresh kelp, seasoned perilla leaves, pickled cucumbers.
The owner gave me an extra heaping bowl of sprouts and mushrooms.

Rather than get everyone back in the car and find a third place, I agree to stay and eat bulgogi.  Fortunately for me, the spread includes lots of sprouts and mushrooms.  Also, the banchan are very good.  In the end, I am satisfied even without eating any of the meat.

Using a robot for simple things like banchan or rice refills makes sense (but see 13.042 Ibiga Jjambbong).

When other customers start coming in, the owner runs the entire service on her own, literally running from table to table, with the help of a robot server, and an old woman in the kitchen, likely the owner’s mother.  I realize that all of the restaurants in the area are completely family-operated, no external staff.  While local residents are mostly farmers, nobody from the outside would come so far just to work in a restaurant, unless the pay were good, which it wouldn’t be.  And I can’t imagine how someone would even get to the restaurant, unless they had a car, which they wouldn’t.

Zero waste.

Anyway, we all enjoy the meal very much, as the cleared table shows.

(See also HANSIK)


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