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{"id":850963562543,"title":"Balwoo Gongyang, Seoul","handle":"balwoo-gongyang-seoul","description":"\u003ch1\u003eby Sharon Bardfield\u003c\/h1\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn 2011, when I received my diagnosis, my beloved culinary world suddenly shrunk beyond recognition. Textures and flavor profiles that I had played with for years were suddenly either off limits or too time-consuming and expensive to achieve. As I searched for new gluten-free foods, I was so excited to learn about Korean food. This cuisine, based on fermented staples prepared in advance, along with dried, preserved ingredients and fresh produce, mirrored the style of cooking I was most comfortable eating. Learning about new types of spicy, sour, tangy umami was exciting and new to my palate.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAs I read more and more about the food and culture, it sucked me in and the determination to visit South Korea set in. I researched extensively for safe places to eat. You see, almost all authentic Korean food prepared is gluten-free since wheat wasn't brought into to the Korean diet until after the Korean War. Barley is a traditional ingredient in specific dishes. In Korea, the vast majority of restaurants use commercially produced soy sauce, fermented bean paste (called doenjang) and fermented red pepper paste (called gochujang) which in industrial production include wheat and barley amongst the ingredients. I learned that even with tasty, healthful kimchi, the base paste used for seasoning and fermentation could have wheat or soy sauce added to it.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn my quest for safe dining options, I contacted Slow Food Korea. I’m so glad I did! I was made aware of their “Slow Jang” campaign (Jang, pronounced “jahng,” means sauce in Korean), in which they encourage the production and use of traditional methods and ingredients, highlighting those artisans who participate in these efforts. Slow Food Korea recommended Balwoo Gongyang to me, suggesting it should be included in my culinary travels. They were correct!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBalwoo Gongyang is a Michelin-starred Korean temple food restaurant in the heart of Seoul. It is upstairs, inside the Temple Stay Information Center across from beautiful Jogyesa temple. Temple food is the vegan diet of Buddhist monks. The meals Balwoo produces are so tasty and visually stunning, even carnivores will not miss the meat. This meal was such a treat!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAs Balwoo specializes in traditional, seasonal and pure representations of Korean cuisine, wheat is not an ingredient they typically use, however, barley is. When we made our lunch reservation, we let them know ahead of time that gluten was an issue. Upon our arrival, we confirmed the ingredients of every dish on our menu. Their soy sauce and gochujang are made in-house, but on that day, the doenjang was sourced from an artisan producer, and they could not be 100% sure anything else, like barley malt, had been added. I was assured that nothing wheat or barley based is used in the fryer. Because of the quality of ingredients and insistence on traditional methods here, and the fact that the doenjang was a five-year aged, artisan product, I decided to take a digestive enzyme pill and enjoy the full menu being offered to us.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWe were seated in one of many private dining rooms, and our waitress was knowledgeable, bi-lingual and very attentive. Our autumn lunch at Balwoo consisted of five courses:\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_1_large.jpg?v=1528212131\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eChilled baby radish kimchi, chilled pumpkin soup and carrot and daikon bundles wrapped in pickled lotus root, whet our appetites. Each dish was fresh and bright, highlighting the flavors of the ingredients.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_2_large.jpg?v=1528212269\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCourse two consisted of three small salads. The dried acorn gelatin salad was tasty and pleasantly chewy. The daikon radish with tofu was nicely spiced, and the unique cilantro kimchi was a fresh palate cleanser.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_3_large.jpg?v=1528212426\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThen they brought us the third course with three more dishes: warming and creamy perilla seed and mushroom soup; deep-fried, rice-battered mushrooms with gochujang glaze and root vegetable chips; and oyster mushroom with parsley stems for a fresh, contrast.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_4_large.jpg?v=1528212579\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe main course consisted of soup, rice, and five different side dishes! The doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) with the five-year aged doenjang and mushrooms was full of umami! The rice with gingko nuts, steamed in a lotus leaf was full of flavor, as were the various side dishes that each added a different texture, brightness or spiciness to the course.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFinally, with the tiniest bit of room left in our stomachs, the fifth course, dessert, was placed before each of us. Cassia bark tea had a lovely cinnamon bite and was lightly sweet as an accompaniment to a small, steamed rice cake with preserved fig. Korean rice cakes are dense and chewy and so lovely with tea.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_5_large.jpg?v=1528212818\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLunch at Balwoo was not an everyday meal. It was a splurge at $30 for lunch in a country where those not worried about gluten can eat easily for $5-$10 per person, but it was extraordinary. Balwoo Gongyang presents a lovely meal with a serene ambiance, which is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. I highly recommend visiting for a special occasion, whether that be finally making it halfway around the globe or for a birthday, anniversary or the like.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.tripadvisor.com\/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d2228966-Reviews-Balwoo_Gongyang-Seoul.html\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eBalwoo Gongyang\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cbr\u003ehttps:\/\/balwoo.or.kr\u003cbr\u003e56, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea\u003cbr\u003ePhone: +82 2-733-2081\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHours:     Monday – Saturday (closed Sunday)\u003cbr\u003e    Lunch service:     11:30 am – 3:00 pm\u003cbr\u003e    Dinner service:     3:00 pm – 9:30 pm\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAbout the Author\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSharon Bardfield is a longtime foodie and former president of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Dallas. She travels as frequently as her day job allows and is always looking for authentic food and culture experiences to share. Be sure to follow her gluten-free creations and travel adventures on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/miseenplacegf\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eInstagram\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e© Copyright 2018 GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine\u003cbr\u003eAll rights reserved. \u003cbr\u003e \u003cbr\u003eGlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine is part of The Pure Fresh Daily Group \u003cbr\u003e© Copyright 2018, Pure Fresh Daily Publications Corporation \u003cbr\u003eAll Rights Reserved. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2018-06-05T07:56:56-07:00","created_at":"2018-06-05T07:57:57-07:00","vendor":"Glutenfreeglobalicious Magazine","type":"GF Travel Foodies","tags":["Gluten-free","Gluten-free Asia","Gluten-free Food","Gluten-free Foodies","Gluten-free Korea","Gluten-free Reviews","Gluten-free Seoul","Gluten-free Travel","GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":8640717422639,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Balwoo Gongyang, Seoul","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":0,"weight":0,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_management":null,"barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/image_12120ee1-93c7-4a51-9ef2-a8800999d8a1.jpg?v=1528245343"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/image_12120ee1-93c7-4a51-9ef2-a8800999d8a1.jpg?v=1528245343","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003ch1\u003eby Sharon Bardfield\u003c\/h1\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn 2011, when I received my diagnosis, my beloved culinary world suddenly shrunk beyond recognition. Textures and flavor profiles that I had played with for years were suddenly either off limits or too time-consuming and expensive to achieve. As I searched for new gluten-free foods, I was so excited to learn about Korean food. This cuisine, based on fermented staples prepared in advance, along with dried, preserved ingredients and fresh produce, mirrored the style of cooking I was most comfortable eating. Learning about new types of spicy, sour, tangy umami was exciting and new to my palate.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAs I read more and more about the food and culture, it sucked me in and the determination to visit South Korea set in. I researched extensively for safe places to eat. You see, almost all authentic Korean food prepared is gluten-free since wheat wasn't brought into to the Korean diet until after the Korean War. Barley is a traditional ingredient in specific dishes. In Korea, the vast majority of restaurants use commercially produced soy sauce, fermented bean paste (called doenjang) and fermented red pepper paste (called gochujang) which in industrial production include wheat and barley amongst the ingredients. I learned that even with tasty, healthful kimchi, the base paste used for seasoning and fermentation could have wheat or soy sauce added to it.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn my quest for safe dining options, I contacted Slow Food Korea. I’m so glad I did! I was made aware of their “Slow Jang” campaign (Jang, pronounced “jahng,” means sauce in Korean), in which they encourage the production and use of traditional methods and ingredients, highlighting those artisans who participate in these efforts. Slow Food Korea recommended Balwoo Gongyang to me, suggesting it should be included in my culinary travels. They were correct!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBalwoo Gongyang is a Michelin-starred Korean temple food restaurant in the heart of Seoul. It is upstairs, inside the Temple Stay Information Center across from beautiful Jogyesa temple. Temple food is the vegan diet of Buddhist monks. The meals Balwoo produces are so tasty and visually stunning, even carnivores will not miss the meat. This meal was such a treat!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAs Balwoo specializes in traditional, seasonal and pure representations of Korean cuisine, wheat is not an ingredient they typically use, however, barley is. When we made our lunch reservation, we let them know ahead of time that gluten was an issue. Upon our arrival, we confirmed the ingredients of every dish on our menu. Their soy sauce and gochujang are made in-house, but on that day, the doenjang was sourced from an artisan producer, and they could not be 100% sure anything else, like barley malt, had been added. I was assured that nothing wheat or barley based is used in the fryer. Because of the quality of ingredients and insistence on traditional methods here, and the fact that the doenjang was a five-year aged, artisan product, I decided to take a digestive enzyme pill and enjoy the full menu being offered to us.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWe were seated in one of many private dining rooms, and our waitress was knowledgeable, bi-lingual and very attentive. Our autumn lunch at Balwoo consisted of five courses:\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_1_large.jpg?v=1528212131\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eChilled baby radish kimchi, chilled pumpkin soup and carrot and daikon bundles wrapped in pickled lotus root, whet our appetites. Each dish was fresh and bright, highlighting the flavors of the ingredients.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_2_large.jpg?v=1528212269\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eCourse two consisted of three small salads. The dried acorn gelatin salad was tasty and pleasantly chewy. The daikon radish with tofu was nicely spiced, and the unique cilantro kimchi was a fresh palate cleanser.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_3_large.jpg?v=1528212426\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThen they brought us the third course with three more dishes: warming and creamy perilla seed and mushroom soup; deep-fried, rice-battered mushrooms with gochujang glaze and root vegetable chips; and oyster mushroom with parsley stems for a fresh, contrast.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_4_large.jpg?v=1528212579\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe main course consisted of soup, rice, and five different side dishes! The doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) with the five-year aged doenjang and mushrooms was full of umami! The rice with gingko nuts, steamed in a lotus leaf was full of flavor, as were the various side dishes that each added a different texture, brightness or spiciness to the course.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eFinally, with the tiniest bit of room left in our stomachs, the fifth course, dessert, was placed before each of us. Cassia bark tea had a lovely cinnamon bite and was lightly sweet as an accompaniment to a small, steamed rice cake with preserved fig. Korean rice cakes are dense and chewy and so lovely with tea.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/sharon_5_large.jpg?v=1528212818\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLunch at Balwoo was not an everyday meal. It was a splurge at $30 for lunch in a country where those not worried about gluten can eat easily for $5-$10 per person, but it was extraordinary. Balwoo Gongyang presents a lovely meal with a serene ambiance, which is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. I highly recommend visiting for a special occasion, whether that be finally making it halfway around the globe or for a birthday, anniversary or the like.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.tripadvisor.com\/Restaurant_Review-g294197-d2228966-Reviews-Balwoo_Gongyang-Seoul.html\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eBalwoo Gongyang\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cbr\u003ehttps:\/\/balwoo.or.kr\u003cbr\u003e56, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea\u003cbr\u003ePhone: +82 2-733-2081\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHours:     Monday – Saturday (closed Sunday)\u003cbr\u003e    Lunch service:     11:30 am – 3:00 pm\u003cbr\u003e    Dinner service:     3:00 pm – 9:30 pm\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAbout the Author\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSharon Bardfield is a longtime foodie and former president of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Dallas. She travels as frequently as her day job allows and is always looking for authentic food and culture experiences to share. Be sure to follow her gluten-free creations and travel adventures on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/miseenplacegf\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eInstagram\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e© Copyright 2018 GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine\u003cbr\u003eAll rights reserved. \u003cbr\u003e \u003cbr\u003eGlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine is part of The Pure Fresh Daily Group \u003cbr\u003e© Copyright 2018, Pure Fresh Daily Publications Corporation \u003cbr\u003eAll Rights Reserved. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e"}

Balwoo Gongyang, Seoul

by Sharon Bardfield

In 2011, when I received my diagnosis, my beloved culinary world suddenly shrunk beyond recognition. Textures and flavor profiles that I had played with for years were suddenly either off limits or too time-consuming and expensive to achieve. As I searched for new gluten-free foods, I was so excited to learn about Korean food. This cuisine, based on fermented staples prepared in advance, along with dried, preserved ingredients and fresh produce, mirrored the style of cooking I was most comfortable eating. Learning about new types of spicy, sour, tangy umami was exciting and new to my palate.

As I read more and more about the food and culture, it sucked me in and the determination to visit South Korea set in. I researched extensively for safe places to eat. You see, almost all authentic Korean food prepared is gluten-free since wheat wasn't brought into to the Korean diet until after the Korean War. Barley is a traditional ingredient in specific dishes. In Korea, the vast majority of restaurants use commercially produced soy sauce, fermented bean paste (called doenjang) and fermented red pepper paste (called gochujang) which in industrial production include wheat and barley amongst the ingredients. I learned that even with tasty, healthful kimchi, the base paste used for seasoning and fermentation could have wheat or soy sauce added to it.

In my quest for safe dining options, I contacted Slow Food Korea. I’m so glad I did! I was made aware of their “Slow Jang” campaign (Jang, pronounced “jahng,” means sauce in Korean), in which they encourage the production and use of traditional methods and ingredients, highlighting those artisans who participate in these efforts. Slow Food Korea recommended Balwoo Gongyang to me, suggesting it should be included in my culinary travels. They were correct!

Balwoo Gongyang is a Michelin-starred Korean temple food restaurant in the heart of Seoul. It is upstairs, inside the Temple Stay Information Center across from beautiful Jogyesa temple. Temple food is the vegan diet of Buddhist monks. The meals Balwoo produces are so tasty and visually stunning, even carnivores will not miss the meat. This meal was such a treat!

As Balwoo specializes in traditional, seasonal and pure representations of Korean cuisine, wheat is not an ingredient they typically use, however, barley is. When we made our lunch reservation, we let them know ahead of time that gluten was an issue. Upon our arrival, we confirmed the ingredients of every dish on our menu. Their soy sauce and gochujang are made in-house, but on that day, the doenjang was sourced from an artisan producer, and they could not be 100% sure anything else, like barley malt, had been added. I was assured that nothing wheat or barley based is used in the fryer. Because of the quality of ingredients and insistence on traditional methods here, and the fact that the doenjang was a five-year aged, artisan product, I decided to take a digestive enzyme pill and enjoy the full menu being offered to us.

We were seated in one of many private dining rooms, and our waitress was knowledgeable, bi-lingual and very attentive. Our autumn lunch at Balwoo consisted of five courses:

Chilled baby radish kimchi, chilled pumpkin soup and carrot and daikon bundles wrapped in pickled lotus root, whet our appetites. Each dish was fresh and bright, highlighting the flavors of the ingredients.

Course two consisted of three small salads. The dried acorn gelatin salad was tasty and pleasantly chewy. The daikon radish with tofu was nicely spiced, and the unique cilantro kimchi was a fresh palate cleanser.

Then they brought us the third course with three more dishes: warming and creamy perilla seed and mushroom soup; deep-fried, rice-battered mushrooms with gochujang glaze and root vegetable chips; and oyster mushroom with parsley stems for a fresh, contrast.

The main course consisted of soup, rice, and five different side dishes! The doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) with the five-year aged doenjang and mushrooms was full of umami! The rice with gingko nuts, steamed in a lotus leaf was full of flavor, as were the various side dishes that each added a different texture, brightness or spiciness to the course.

Finally, with the tiniest bit of room left in our stomachs, the fifth course, dessert, was placed before each of us. Cassia bark tea had a lovely cinnamon bite and was lightly sweet as an accompaniment to a small, steamed rice cake with preserved fig. Korean rice cakes are dense and chewy and so lovely with tea.

Lunch at Balwoo was not an everyday meal. It was a splurge at $30 for lunch in a country where those not worried about gluten can eat easily for $5-$10 per person, but it was extraordinary. Balwoo Gongyang presents a lovely meal with a serene ambiance, which is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth. I highly recommend visiting for a special occasion, whether that be finally making it halfway around the globe or for a birthday, anniversary or the like.

Balwoo Gongyang
https://balwoo.or.kr
56, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82 2-733-2081

Hours:     Monday – Saturday (closed Sunday)
    Lunch service:     11:30 am – 3:00 pm
    Dinner service:     3:00 pm – 9:30 pm

 

About the Author

Sharon Bardfield is a longtime foodie and former president of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Dallas. She travels as frequently as her day job allows and is always looking for authentic food and culture experiences to share. Be sure to follow her gluten-free creations and travel adventures on Instagram.

 

© Copyright 2018 GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine
All rights reserved.
 
GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine is part of The Pure Fresh Daily Group
© Copyright 2018, Pure Fresh Daily Publications Corporation
All Rights Reserved. 

 

 

 

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