A full-course Korean meal with an array of savory side dishes- it is a lavish tradition to serve hanjeongsik (한정식) in the royal palaces or the homes of aristocrats. Serving in ceramic bowls and hand-forged traditional Korean bronzeware and using only the top quality in-season ingredients, royal Hanjeongsik usually costs hundreds of thousand dollars (in won) per person. It is not affordable for everyone.
To make it more accessible to regular people like us, restaurants modify the menus and serve everyday hanjeongsik at relatively low prices. The simplified version of Korean set meal mimics the format and includes common everyday dishes. Though I’m not rich enough to afford a set meal of royal hanjeongsik, it was on my bucket list to at least try the everyday hanjeonsik when visiting Korea.
After dress-fitting at the bridal shop in Gangnam area, we hurriedly looked for a restaurant to appease our growling stomach. Just one block away was a famous hansik (“Korean cuisine”) restaurant recommended by the bridal shop staff, called Cheongdamgol (청담골).
Neighboring hallyu stars’ talent agencies, luxurious beauty salons and famous photo studios, it is a hotspot for celebrities to dine at. Don’t believe me? Check out the polaroid photos and autographs on the wall!
Located in the affluent Gangnam neighborhood, it was surprising to find that the restaurant offered delectable food at affordable prices! To make it painless for foreigners to order, the menu is translated into Japanese and Chinese 😉
Kev and I each ordered a set meal: spicy stir-fried pork (제육볶음백반) and grilled mackerel (고등어구이백반). Each priced at 10,000 won (~CDN$ 11) only!
After just a short wait, the staff delivered our meals in a large food tray!
Aside from the main course, the set came with a variety of banchan (“side dishes”) and a bowl of steamed rice. Kimchi, pickled radish, steamed egg, soybean sprout, roasted seaweed sheets, kimchi soup and many more! If you’d like more of a specific side dish, feel free to ask for a refill!
As for our entrees, the spicy stir-fried pork was tender with a mixture of sweet and spicy notes, served in thinly cut slices. Lightly salted, the grilled mackerel had a crispy skin and moist meat 🙂
The portion size was extremely large for just the two of us. We could barely finish everything and didn’t ask for any refill. The hearty meal at Cheongdamgol was an enjoyable experience for us to try home-style Korean cooking at reasonable prices. Highly recommend for anyone who visits the Gangnam area!
About Cheongdamgol (청담골)
Address: 48, Seolleung-ro 148-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea (서울특별시 강남구 선릉로148길 48)