Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ssambabgip

On our second full day of site-seeing in Seoul, Korea we went to the Insadong area for a little souvenir shopping.  There are many shops and vendors here and we decided to have lunch at a casual restaurant called Ssambabgip.  It is sort of tucked away in an alley offshoot from the main street.  They had a lunch special of ssanbabjungsik - which is a full spread of meat with rice, banchan, and various greens as well as other soups and dishes.

Korean lettuce wraps (ssambap) are perfect little packages of delicious seasoned meat, rice, and a zingy sauce (ssamjang) stuffed into a crisp, cool piece of lettuce.  Keith ordered the spicy pork version and it came with a nice spread of various greens to include lettuce, cabbage, and perilla or sesame seed leaves.


His spread also came with the different mini side dishes of banchan and rice.  The pork meat was very tender  and had the right level of spice. 

All the spicy food was getting to my stomach, so I opted for something a bit more tame and chose the chicken soup.  I was shocked to see a whole hen in my bowl!  The broth was boiling hot and still sizzling in the clay bowl, but allowed for tender meat.  The seasoning was simple and flavorful and the perfect soup for when you're feeling under the weather.  I honestly didn't know the chicken was stuffed until I was nearly finished.  The menu actually only listed ginseng in the description and I just thought it was in the broth.  However, once I discovered the hidden treasure there was one garlic clove, one stick of ginseng, and one date nut hidden within the rice.  Supposedly this is another typical dish prepared for when you are feeling sick and is presumed to help with quick recovery.  I found it very tasty and it hit the spot. Perhaps the medicinal qualities of the dish are true, as I did feel much better quickly afterwards and was ready to continue on with more site-seeing.

Total Rating: 3.78
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 3.5

What I ate:
Chicken Soup
a small hen stuffed with rice, ginseng, garlic, and a date nut in a light broth

Plus Keith ate:
Spicy Pork Ssambap

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