Sugared & Spiced

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[Seoul] Jangsarang 장사랑

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Jangsarang 장사랑

Add: 624-47, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul / 강남구 신사동 624-47, 서울특별시
Tel: (02) 546-9994
Hours: 11:30am-9pm
Price: approx. 25,000 won/person
Visited: Nov 2011

I had my very first meal in Seoul at 장사랑 Jangsarang, an earthy restaurant serving simple and traditional Korean dishes like mook-sabal, deulkkae sujebi, nakji-bokkeum – at affordable prices. Go with a local friend if you can, not just because the location is hard to find but also because there is no English on the menu, and it doesn’t sound like waiters speak any English either.

To make things simple, we ordered a 3-person set (75,000 won), but a la carte orders are also available.

First, a flurry of banchan arrived at our table, as usual.

The set started off with 메밀묵사발 mook-sabal, acorn jelly in a sweet and sour cold broth. The dish is traditionally served with rice, but Jangsarang presents the jelly alone with toppings of seaweed and chopped kimchi. A delightful starter that would be especially appropriate for the summer.

Then, a salad topped with perilla powder (perilla = shiso/紫蘇, FYI).

Next up, a bubbling hot pot of 들깨수제비 deulkkae sujebi, a Korean-style gnocchi made with starch, perilla seeds, and vegetable extracts. I absolutely loved this nutty, textured, creamy dish. In addition to the standard white flour doughs, Jangsarang also added leek extracts to make green flour doughs. Super hearty, perfect to fend off the winter cold.

Jangsarang is also famous for its 김치부추전 kimchi boochoo jeon, a two-colored pancake – the red comes from kimchi and the green comes from boochoo (leek). Excellent with or without the accompanying soy sauce.

The next dish, 낙지볶음 nakji-bokkeum, is baby octopus stir-fried with bean sprouts, onions, sesame seeds, and a spicy sauce. Served with thin noodles, this is another extremely appetizing dish and was polished off immediately.

Then came a plate of 불고기 dried bulgogi, served with sliced raw portobello and kelp chips. I liked the tender and flavorful bulgogi, but really could have done without kelp chips…they tasted like medicine, blargh.

Just when we thought there were no more dishes coming, two stone pots of rice arrived at our table. The first pot, steamed with colorful chunks of pumpkin, sweet potato, red dates and green pumpkin seeds, was a wholesome and delicious medley.

Put some rice on a piece of seaweed, drizzle with some sauce, roll it up, and into the mouth it goes.

The second pot, 곤드레나물밥 gondre-namul bap, is rice steamed with gondre, a wild plant grown in Jeongseon, Gangwon province. This vegetable is supposedly an antioxidant filled with phytochemicals, calcium, and vitamin…etc., but I didn’t quite enjoy its medicinal taste.

The meal ended with 청국장찌개 cheonggukjang jigae and 된장찌개 doenjang jigae. I didn’t really like the pungent cheonggukjang jigae, which smells pretty much like Japanese natto, but loved the doenjang jigae, a fragrant stew made from soybean paste, vegetables, and tofu. Though I was already stuffed beyond capacity by this point, I managed to gulp down a few more spoonful of this hearty soup, perfect with some freshly steamed white rice.

Lunch at Jangsarang was a wonderful experience and a most lovely start of my Seoul trip. I highly recommend coming to this restaurant to get a taste of some truly authentic and delicious Korean comfort food. You will not be disappointed.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 25th, 2011 at 9:36 pm