Filling Your Buddha Belly in Seoul, South Korea
With a population of more than ten million people, it's as hard to encounter a moment of solace in Seoul as it is to find a meatless meal. Just off the pedestrian-clogged walkways is a culinary respite, Sanchon Temple Restaurant. Nestled in a quiet alley of Insadong, Sanchon is a vegetarian institution run by Buddhist monks. It soon becomes clear why the belly-bursting Buddha statues around you are smiling with such persuasion. Root vegetables, herbs, and plants—plucked from the city's surrounding forests and mountains—make their way into a royal procession of savory stews and colorful side dishes (ban chan). Here, even the most carnivorous urbanite can momentarily believe in the healing goodness of temple food.