Saturday, October 11

Myeongdong Gogung 고궁 (古宮), Seoul

We made it a point to kick off with bibimbap as our first official meal in Seoul (no, Paris Baguette was a snack and does not count as a proper meal). Well, it also helped that there was a famous restaurant called Gogung in Myeongdong, where I was trying not to max out the Mister’s credit cards.

Recommended by Korea Tourism Organisation and CNN travel, Gogung packed a reasonable crowd on a weekeday at around 11.30am. The décor and space of the restaurant looked like it expects crowds for dinners and during the weekends.

As customary as folding your napkin over your lap before any meal at a restaurant starts, a bevy of banchan (side dishes) arrives to much fanfare. Not a bad start, I particularly liked the salad with sesame dressing.

Along with a dolsot bibimbap, we ordered a pancake platter that consisted of Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake), kimchijeon (kimchi pancake), Dongtaejeon (Pollock fish pancake), Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake), and fried zucchini slices. With two adult stomachs, the game plan is to go out on variety as opposed to quantity.

With a glossy raw egg waiting to smother and smooze with the rice, I was pretty much feverish with excitement when our dolsot bibimbap arrived.

However, as the meal progressed on, I blurted out, “It’s really bland.” Never in a million years would I have thought I would use the word bland on Korean food.

The Mister nodded his head in agreement and said, “Maybe you need to use the dipping sauce.” To which, I showed him my cleaned out sauce dish.

It’s hard to imagine how the food the could not agree with our tastebuds and I feel almost disrespectful for not enjoying our meal. Maybe the kitchen was having an off day but I must say there is a first time for everything and maybe hey, Korean food might not necessarily be better in Korea.

Gogung - Myeongdong Branch 
 37 Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

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