Eating a Korean Stone Pot Set Meal Hanjeongsik on Valentine's Day in Korea

Backpacking.Travel.TV's picture

Aug. 22, 2013

Today was Valentine's Day in Korea, so instead of stuffing ourselves with copious amounts of chocolate and candies, we decided to head out and eat a delicious Korean Set Meal (Stone Pot Set Lunch) consisting of various types of Korean meats, Korean vegetables, Korean fish and Korean soups along with a plethora of savory side dishes for lunch near Audrey's Yongin apartment. I had very high expectations for this meal given how much I've enjoyed Korean set meals in the past although, they're more expensive than typical budget friendly Korean types of options, they're literally feasts fit for kings and queens. With large portions, a plethora of main and side dishes and course after course being wielded out to your table, it's the type of meal you skip breakfast for in order to make room in your stomach for all of the food. Our first impressions of this new restaurant was that it was clean and the servers were friendly. After waiting for a few minutes, the first part of the meal was brought to our table. It consisted of numerous meat dishes along with a number of our favorite Korean side dishes. After devouring the first course we were starting to feel full surprisingly the second course was even larger the the first replacing meat dishes with mostly fish based Korean samplers. Overall, from the two courses, our favorite Korean dishes included Korean style jeon (also known as pizza), bulgogi (marinated beef strips) and japchae (sweet potato noodles mixed with vegetables). We devoured everything feeling pleasantly full afterwards. Overall our meal was excellent value as we paid roughly 26 USD (26,000W) for the entire feast. Although this was a much more expensive meal than normal, it still represented excellent value considering the plethora of food we feasted on for what seemed to be an eternity.
It was the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day in Korea and something we'll certainly remember. Hanjeongsik is a full-course Korean meal with an array of savory side dishes. The most lavish of hanjeongsik traditional originated with the banquets served in the royal palaces or the homes of aristocrats. Usually the course starts with a cold appetizer and gruel, and the main dishes include dishes mixed with seasoning either grilled, boiled, steamed, fried, or salted. Hot pots are included as well, and after the meal traditional punches such as Sikhye(sweet rice punch) or Sujeonggwa(cinnamon-persimmon punch) and other desserts may be served. Actually the types or dishes served in the hanjeongsik vary significantly according to the season or region. Korean cuisine as a national cuisine known today has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Originating from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions in southern Manchuria and the Korean peninsula, Korean cuisine has evolved through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends. Korean cuisine is largely based upon rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes (banchan) that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served often, sometimes at every meal. Commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and gochujang (fermented red chili paste). Ingredients and dishes vary by province. Many regional dishes have become national, and dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals are regulated by Korean cultural etiquette
This is part of our Life in Korea series. We are two foreigners teaching English in Korea. As Waegook's (Korean for foreigners) we showcase Korea from the perspective of outsiders. As per usual, there is plenty of silly humor and bloopers at the end - signature moments of our travel videos.