Open for over 7 years, Supsokae Dotori 숲속의 도토리 (“Acorns in the Forest”) is one of the better finds that I have come across lately, which is odd because it’s a few minutes walk from my home in Oedo-dong. Honestly, my girlfriend and I thought we had exhausted all the great restaurants (맛집s) in our neighborhood, so this was not only a pleasant surprise but got us thinking that we probably need to keep a lookout for other hidden gems.
The restaurant itself is in an unassuming red brick building shared alongside other small businesses (we barely noticed it on our first visit). They serve some unique, delicious, and healthy dishes using dotori (acorns). From the usual Dotori Muk (Acorn Jelly) to the semi-unusual Dotori Jeon (Acorn Pancakes), this restaurant has, in my opinion, perfected their signature dishes all the while utilizing and highlighting this lesser-known ingredient. Another big plus is that most of the supporting ingredients (i.e. cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, etc.) are organically grown in the owner’s private farm just outside the city, making this is a vegetarian’s dream (although they do have a BBQ pork dish).
On this visit, we ordered their signature all-vegetarian A Course meal and it was quite an experience. They first dazzle you with a thin but very large plate of Dotori Jeon (Acorn Pancake) and a colorful (and again large) bowl of Saessak Jaengban Guksu 새싹쟁반국수 (Noodles & Vegetables Mixed in Sauce). Shiny on the outside and super soft when eaten, the jeon reminded me of crepes with a pronounced nutty flavor. And when used as a wrap with the refreshing platter of noodles and vegetables, it’s a combination unlike no other. The mix of noodles and vegetables was similar to Bibim Guksu, but on a larger scale, with a sauce that only be described as fruity sweet, garlicky, tangy, and super flavorful. After pigging out and finishing this combination within minutes, next up was the Dotori Deulkkae Sujebi (Acorn Dough Pasta Flakes in Perilla Seeds Broth). This was another winner of a dish with chewy acorn dough pieces (think licorice sticks but softer) in a creamy, comforting, and hearty soup broth. Needless to say, we were stuffed after eating all this delicious food, and we ended up paying a very reasonable 24,000 won for the two-person meal. For meat-lovers, there is a B Course which includes smoked BBQ pork for 19,000 won. Personally, I always need a little protein in my meal, so it looks like we’ll be making another visit in the near future.
”Let food be thy medicine.” ~ Hippocrates
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
“Acorn in the Forest” (숲속의도토리)
430-9 Oedo-1dong, Jeju City (제주시 외도1동 430-9)
Hours of Operation: Open 365 days a year from 10am ~ 9pm
Click here for an interactive map via Naver: http://me2.do/xki0RP3d