Jung Sik Dang (정식당) is probably the first restaurant in Korea featuring Korean molecular gastronomy. A mere few years after its Seoul opening, it established itself in New York, and quickly made its way into the New York 2013 Michelin Guide.
Jung Sik was hard to locate given its inconspicuous entrance, I walked past it twice. But just ask any local they will be able to point you in the right direction.
To my surprise, the lobby’s under renovation – completely empty and dimly lit by the streetlights. It felt haunting, but I assume it’s just temporary.
I’m pretty open-minded with molecular gastronomy, but Jung Sik doesn’t offer any big surprises. The restaurant embraces traditional Korean presentation to its dishes, such as its Bimbimba, Tteokbokki. For people new to Korean food it’ll be a fresh experience, but it fails to impress me.
The dish that shone was their crispy pork, which is fresh and tender, and its skin crunchy.
The presentation of the dessert – resembling a tiny flowerpot – is absolutely photogenic. Yet at the same time the cutesy presentation undermines the balance of flavours and texture of the dessert.
Choice of teas served with the desserts at Jung Sik is very special as it showcases the medicinal aspect of Korean cuisines. You get choices of dried orange peel, chrysanthemum as well as some rare herbal tea. I also love how they creatively use mint and black pepper in a candy with a cigarette appearance in one of their petit fours.
This first visit wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Perhaps it’s my lack of understanding of Korean cuisine. I’m happy to give a second try at their New York branch.
Jung Sik Dang (정식당)
Address: 649-7 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 신사동 649-7)
Tel: +82 517 4654
Visited on: 9 March, 2012
Price: Lunch – KRW$40,000-70,000 Dinner: KRW$100,000-120,000
Things to order: Pork Jowl
Hours: Lunch – 12:00-4:00, Dinner – 6:00-till late (Monday to Saturday); Sunday Lunch – 12:00-4:00