By Bahk Eun-ji
Until a few years ago, it was hard to picture a restaurant serving strictly vegetarian dishes being located in a premium building in central Seoul and frequented by the nation’s big shots. Plus, this restaurant does not use typical Korean ingredients such as garlic, spring onion and gochujang, the Korean red chili paste.
As interest in “well-being” and vegetarian foods increases, GoSang, a Korean temple cuisine restaurant in the basement of the Center 1 building in downtown Seoul, has become the choice of health-conscious CEOs and executives as well as tourists.
GoSang is an ideal choice for business lunches and dinners because its dishes are easy to digest. The comfort its food provides is guaranteed and will never spoil important occasions.
The restaurant offers elegantly decorated dishes cooked with ingredients of the highest quality, which fulfills the promise of its name “GoSang” which means graceful or elegant in Korean.
“Attending business meetings burns people out so they come with set purposes,” said Song Soo-mee, the owner of GoSang.
“In that sense, food that makes you feel comfortable combined with a sophisticated ambience can turn your business meeting into a delightful experience.”
Following the principles of temple food preparation, GoSang does not use any artificial flavor enhancers or monosodium glutamate (MSG). Of course, the restaurant menu only offers food containing vegetables and herbs and not even dried anchovies are used to make stock for soup. The food can be enjoyed by all people with diet restrictions including Muslims and vegans.
“So the taste from the first bite of our food could be a little bit unfamiliar to customers who are accustomed to artificial flavors, but this quickly turns into the pleasant experience of enjoying healthy food.” Song said.
Song emphasized her attitude towards cookery, recalling the hard times she spent with her child who suffered from atopic dermatitis.
Since there is no cure for the skin condition, Song paid much attention to the preparation of food for her child, and this experience led her to running a restaurant.
“Good food has to be made by honest cooks with good intentions. I keep telling my employees to prepare food as if their family would eat it,” she said.
The interior design and various art works created by renowned Korean traditional artists put finishing touches on the ultimate dining experience.
“I believe the key to success of business meetings is not just on the table. If you eat fresh and digestible food in an elegant place, you will literally feel comfortable in your stomach and get a lingering impression that your partners endeavored to treat you the best way they can.”