In Seoul, there’s been a spike in new restaurants specializing in buddhist temple food.
Temple food does not use green onion, garlic, wild chives, leeks, and asafoetida to help gain physical and mental balance.
I went to one last week for dinner with high hopes. The restaurant was very modern with slight temple accents such as the hard wood floors and wooden utensils. The meal was served in 6 courses.
The menu emphasized the pure and healthful qualities of the ingredients yet some dishes listed processed mozzarella cheese as ingredients and many were deep fried.
The appetizer: dehydrated kiwi, lotus root, apple, persimmon,
jujubes, and sweet potato chips–> This was by far the best part of the meal!
The lotus root chips were my favorite!
Deep fried fake pork (made with soy) cutlet with raw tomato slices
Marinated fake beef (Koreans call it bean meat)
Mushroom soup with fake fish cakes…do you see a pattern?
Deep fried mushrooms covered in a spicy kochujang sauce
Lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice and kimchi tofu soup finished the meal
This rice was really well prepared!
I would go back just for the fruit/vegetable chips and this rice!
Overall, the food was good but I was disturbed by the use of fake meat and fish ingredients. Can this be the only way to modernize and commercialize temple food?