Jung Sikdang is a groundbreaking, iconic Korean restaurant for a variety of reasons. Opening in Sinsa-dong in 2009 and New York in 2011, it has received two Michelin stars and is ranked the 10th best restaurant in Asia. These awards are certainly deserved, but they are especially significant to Koreans: With the Korean obsession over international rankings (whether in education, sports or economic measures), this restaurant’s international acclaim has restored some level of pride around hansik, or traditional cuisine. But traditional it is not: Jung Sikdang dubs its cuisine “new Korean,” blending Korean ingredients with Western culinary techniques and presentation (head chef Yim Jung-sik graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in NYC and worked in both NYC and Spain). With its new location in Cheongdam, Jungsik offer formal service in a sophisticated modern setting, drawing well-heeled diners from both Korea and overseas. Expect inventive and subtle dishes like crispy duck with white kimchi, ongshimi with scallion and parmesan, and mushrooms served with poached eggs and kimchi puree. Korean ingredients are deconstructed and reconstructed on this menu that plays with flavors like a painter mixing colors on a palette and layering them on a canvas.
Originally a dish made for Joseon kings during the early 14th century, the traditional gujeolpan is made up of nine dishes of seasoned Korean
vegetables, meat, mushrooms and select seafood. Jungsik’s take on the dish, the Delicious Gujeolpan, sees parmesan cheese and gochujang (red pepper sauce) added to his pick of six dishes—raw beef, egg yolk, white kimchi, sesame leaves and fermented green peppers. Wrap each item up in fried seaweed and—voilà—a traditional dish reinterpreted!