The Korea House, Seoul: A Taste of Culinary Royalty

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Royal cuisine

Hanjeongsik

Korean cuisine is largely made up of rice, vegetables and meats. To get a complete introduction to the cuisine’s tastes and ingredients—common ones being sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), soy sauce and ginger—groups should sit down to enjoy “Hanjeongsik, which is a Korean traditional set meal consisting of at least 25, delicious and nutritious foods with vibrant flavors,” says Christopher Mora, marketing coordinator for the Korea Tourism Organization Los Angeles.

Hanjeongsik was originated from traditional banquets hosted at the royal palaces, and according to Mora, The Korea House in Pildong, Seoul offers a similar experience to groups. The facility is housed in an ancient hanok (traditional Korean home), previously owned by a scholar of the early Joseon Dynasty (from about 1392 to 1910), but has since been remodeled around a court to provide a more authentic atmosphere to guests.

Meeting planners can organize a traditional outdoor banquet for groups of 130 to 200 in the courtyard surrounded by the historic buildings that make up The Korea House. The glow from cheongsachorong (traditional Korean lanterns made of red and blue silk) lights up the space, while performers partake in a memorable O-go-mu (a five-drum dance) and a Korean fan dance.
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For smaller groups, planners can organize a dinner at the restaurant. Daejanggeum is the fixed-price menu at The Korea House, and it is based around the Yin and Yang principle and the Five Elements Theory, in which Korean foods are prepared with five tastes and five colors to create a harmony of flavor.

The Korea House’s Executive Chef Do-seop Kim creates a menu that “mainly consists of ingredients, such as red ginseng and enzymes, which have a medicinal effect. In the same vein, Korean Zen food and temple food are representative samples to integrate people’s health with their taste preference,” he says.

For groups that want a better understanding of the tastes and flavors of Korean cuisine, The Korea House offers cooking classes for groups of anywhere from 20 to 200 people. Kimchi is a cabbage-based side dish that is served at every Korean meal, and guests can learn how to make it, as well as learn about its health benefits.

Another authentic Korean dish is the Flower Sanbyeong (rice cake), which guests will learn to make by pounding rice flower into different colors of round paste. Then, they mold them into various patterns to provide an appealing side dish. While cooking, attendees can wear Hanbok and other traditional Korean clothes. The classes are conducted only in Korean, but the hands-on demonstrations are easy to follow along.

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