Cho Eun-hee and Park Sung-bae
More than food: In Korean, onjium means “creating in the right way”. Here, the source to make something new comes from researching centuries-old recipe books – after all, this is an institute that has been studying Korean heritage since 2013. Besides its restaurant, or culinary studio as it is named internally, Onjium also houses clothing and design studios, all part of its mission to understand the country’s culture in a comprehensive manner. The kitchen, led by chefs Cho Eun-hee and Park Sung-bae, uses seasonal ingredients in dishes crafted according to recipes that have been studied and reinvented through years of research.
What’s the experience like? From the charming restaurant, located by Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul’s Jongno District, diners can glimpse the royal buildings and also tour other floors, where traditional Korean clothing (hanbok) and miniature models of traditional Korean buildings (hanok) are on display. Onjium studies these traditional elements to preserve Korean heritage in a way that suits the taste of today’s generations.
And the setting? The location is a microcosm of the institute, as the destination sits directly betwixt Gyeongbokgung Palace and a modern residential neighbourhood. The food, much like many of the other elements of the cultural centre, looks to history as well as the future for inspiration for a true expression of Korea today.