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Lunch in Seoul: Tofu soup and nureun bap

Korean lunch, Seoul

When I was studying business in Sweden, I did an internship at a Danish company in Seoul, and my Korean boss, David, made it his mission to teach me as much about Korea as possible. Every morning he made sure that I got private lessons in Korean from some of the other employees, and on weekends, he took me out to see everything worth seeing in and around Seoul.

We’ve kept in touch through the years, so of course we had to meet, when I was visiting Seoul last month. Unfortunately, my visit was clashing with Seollal, the Korean New Year, so David was off to see his old mom over the weekend, but before he left, he managed to squeeze me in for lunch.

I took the subway to Yatap station, where he came to greet me, and together we walked to the company’s new office nearby. We talked to some of the people working there, but there was only one person left from when I did my internship. All the others had started working there at a later point.

Then we went out for lunch. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was on one of the upper floors in a shopping mall close to Yatap station. David had a set menu with grilled fish and I decided on a spicy tofu soup. It was freezing in Seoul that day, so I needed something to keep me warm. It was a really delicious soup, and it was so spicy it felt like I was eating lava. Just what I needed.

When you get a stone bowl with rice in Korea, it’s common to scoop over the rice in another metal bowl. The you pour barley tea or hot water over the scorched rice, which is left in the stone bowl and let it soak. At the end of the meal, you’ll then eat the “soup”, nureun bap, in the stone bowl. It doesn’t taste of much, but it’s supposed to be healthy, and David told me it’s something old people really enjoy.

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