Thursday, April 5, 2012

Balwoo Kong: Budget Vegan Resto

     A long time ago I went to a Baru, temple food resturaunt with fellow veg heads Mipa of AliensDayOut and the lovely Kia! Since that last time, I haven't wandered over there but this past weekend I did! After the last hike with Alex and the family, we were hankering for food (some of our reasons differed) and going vegan was a natural choice, being in 인사동 and all..oh yea, and because of me!!
     A while ago I spoke with Mr. Seouleats and he mentioned how Baru actually has a more affordable restaurant, since then it's been on my list...and coincidentally this was the place we wandered to!
photo taken by VeganBeats
     The second floor restaurant is slightly more gentle on the wallet and offers a pretty decent spread of options! I can't state how it really works, it's a bit overwhelming. There is a buffet near the entrance and people line up grabbing plates, trays, bowls, etc. I think the price is determined by which bowls/plates you get. Everyone was in a hustle down the buffet line, apologies that my tired eyes didn't study fully the "order."
menu~ photo taken by VeganBeats
     When I went there was grained rice, soybean sprout and kimchi soup, turnip kimchi, spinach banchan, lotus root banchan, hot crispy mushrooms, and a colorful salad.
a loaded plate~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     I bailed on the rice (obviously), and loaded up on greens. Although 반찬 typically is loaded with salt, the 반찬 here didn't overwhelm your palate, everything was light and fresh. I use "fresh" a lot, the vegetables were not over-flavored, marinated, or sauced up...the vegetables were left mostly untainted with palate-teasers. The mushrooms were crispy and served with a spicy sauce, I usually would steer clear of the fried stuff, but I was hungry and considering the previous night's adventure...I'll be a bit easy on myself! And, bonus, the mushrooms were not oily at all...phew~
     While leaving the restaurant, I spotted the chefs rolling thick, ingredient-heavy 김밥. Dried tofu, shitake mushrooms, spinach, carrots, etc...the 김밥 I'm accustomed to (the easy vegan pick-ups) are skimpy on the filling, and there's so much damned rice. I decided to grab one and save for a later starving time~ for 4,000원, I'll say it's worth it!
boxed up and ready to go~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     The roll I saw when I opened it way later was not what I expected. Again, used to the rolls that are easy to pick up, it's packed with rise, low on veggies, and has no distinct odor. This 김밥 smelt delicious, the toasted sesame oil teased the senses while the hinting sweet carrots played with my eyes!
filling spilling out...a tad~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     So much color, so much filling, and though it's hard to see, the rice is full of other grains...quality 김밥 for the win!
loaded 김밥~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     Oh, and how did it taste? Easily the best 김밥 I've had (outside from mama Beats' loving creations!!)

바루 Balwoo phone#: 02.2031.2081
address: 서울시 종로구 견지동 71번지 템플스테 5층 
71 Gyeonhji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-070
안국역6번, Anguk station (line 3) exit 6. Walk straight, pass Insadong street on your left and at the street where Mao's Vegetarian is, take a left. Walk straight for maybe 300 yards and you'll see the Temple Stay building..hit up the 2nd floor!! 

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