“I’m not a chef but a nun,” said Ven. Jeong Kwan, a master in Korean Temple food, which has become famous after being introduced in the Netflix series Chef’s Table.
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How food became a way to practice her Buddhism? If you like to know about her philosophy, you may look into Korean temple food.
Temple food refers to the one monks and nuns eat at temples. However, this is a narrow definition of Temple food. In Korean Buddhist, Temple food is considered as one way to exercise Buddhist teachings. It includes all from growing food ingredients to cooking and eating.
Buddhists hold reverence for all lives and embrace a harmony with nature. They don’t use meat nor fish, and any artificial flavor enhancer. Five pungent herbs called oshinchae-green onion, garlic, leek, chive, and wild chive-are not allowed to use. They use only seasonal vegetables and soybean paste and soy sauce made by themselves at temples.
One good way to experience Temple food is to visit a temple and participate in the Templestay program. Around 130 temples across Korea run Templestay programs and some of the temples give a chance to make your own Temple food dishes.(eng.templestay.com)
If you’re a fan of Chef’s Table, Baekyangsa Temple would be your first option – you may make Temple food with Ven. Jeong Kwan there. Jingwansa Temple is also famous for temple food. At Bongseonsa Temple, you can make steamed rice wrapped in a lotus leaf. If you want to make three or four Temple foods, Donghwasa Temple will be an attractive place.
If you don’t have enough time, just visit the Korean Temple Food Center located in Insa-dong, one of the tourist attractions in Seoul. They provide the one-day cooking class “Let’s Learn Korean Temple Food” in English.
If you want to have real Temple foods at a restaurant, “Balwoo Gongyang” is the perfect place. It has been listed on Michelin’s One-Star restaurant for three consecutive years. “Balwoo Gongyang” originally means a traditional way of eating in Korean Buddhism.(eng.balwoo.or.kr/+82-2-733-2081)
If you’d like to take care of your body and mind, visit Korea and experience Temple food, as a journey to a healthier gourmet.
Source:Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism