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Korean Cuisine
For a beautiful plate and delicious food, try Gujeolpan

ujeolpan is a dish known to many as cuisine of Korean royalty during the Joseon (formerly Chosun) period (1329-1910). It was originally served on a wooden plate with nine divided sections, "Gu" meaning number "9" in Korean. This plate was specially designed to have one section in the middle and eight other sections surrounding it. The reason it was designed in such a special way was to have the various foods separated on one plate.

Gujeolpan became the name of the food later. Each section of the plate is filled with various ingredients such as beef, mushroom, cucumber, carrot, and fried egg, which is wrapped with a small flat layer of rice pancake which similar to flour tortillas. In fact, Gujeolpan is surprisingly similar to Mexican tacos. One selects the beef and vegetable from the eight outer sections of the Gujeolpan, places them on top of the rice "tortilla" and make a complete Guljeolpan.

When Gujeolpan first arrives on the table, it looks so pretty that you would hardly dare to eat it. The various colors on the plate beautifully harmonize. It takes a long time to prepare this food because all the ingredients are put on the plate in a very beautiful manner.

There is an anecdote about Pearl Buck, the writer of "The Good Earth," regarding Gujeolpan. It is said the American novelist was so surprised by the beautiful appearance of Gujeolpan upon first being served the dish that she couldn't stop praising it. She compared the harmonization of the nine colors on the plate to a drawing and said, "I don't want to destroy this food by eating it", and indeed did not take it.

Gujeolpan is also said to perfectly indicate Korean philosophy of harmonization. While some say that Guljeolpan is simply a dish offered to ancient kings. it is a unique food that represents the culture and image of Korea. There is no similar dish anywhere else in the world.

   Hot Tips
Restaurants where people can try Gujeolpan

Gayarang (a restaurant specializing in ancient Korean royal cuisine)
Gayarang serves delicious Korean food and the interior is designed in traditional Korean style. However, this involves people eating at low tables, by sitting on the floor. Western-style high tables are available, though, if customers are uncomfortable with the Korean traditional eating custom. Desserts are also of Korean delicacies, therefore, one must leave some space to fully enjoy them. The meal consists of a number of courses which allows people the opportunity to taste many types of traditional Korean food at one table. The price of the meals ranges from W30,000 to W72,000 after adding 20% for service charges and tax. Credit cards are accepted.

  • How to get there: From Hyatt Hotel in Itaewon walk about 200 meters to the direction of the Army Accounting Unit (Gyeongnidan).
  • Tel: 797-4000

  • (Sourced from WHAT'S ON SEOUL)

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