Chaerim’s Garden 채림의정원 (Hoengseong, Gangwon Province)

I have fond memories of living in Gangwon Province, most notably cycling up and around and down all the steep mountains and then coming home to my anxiously waiting pooches. If my partner allowed, makgeolli would make an early appearance to quench my thirst and dinner would soon follow. Those were the glory days. And on those always adventurous bike rides, some days I would get lucky (okay, more like lost) and take a path that I’ve never taken before and stumble upon a restaurant that catches my attention. Chaerim’s Garden is one such restaurant.

Befuddled was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw only two menu items at Chaerim’s Garden (채림의정원). Even more surprising is that they’re both rice-based dishes, which had me questioning whether or not any protein (ie. meat) would be present. I soon realized that no protein would be needed when the kind owner presented us with an immaculate spread focused on steamed rice with mountainous roots and wild greens (우엉영양솥밥 + 곰취나물솥밥), plus a bountiful array of locally-sourced, freshly-made banchan. Not only was it one of the most beautiful spreads I’ve seen, but each and every dish was perfect, reminding me of Buddhist temple food where less is more in terms of seasoning. The fresh ingredients were allowed to shine and they really did. Absolutely divine and it felt like food nirvana for the entiure meal.

Despite the absence of any meat, it was one of the heartiest, healthiest, and most satisfying meals I’ve had in Gangwon Province. Even better, the owner seemed to care less about making money which is reflected in the ridiculous price: 10,000 won per dish. Reservations are required, so make sure to call ahead in advance and go early–the surrounding garden is quite a sight and there are friendly dogs!

Food: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★★ ½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars


Chaerim Jeongwon (Chaerim’s Garden) 채림의정원

Junggeun-ri 850-1, Woocheon-myeon, Hoengseong-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 횡성군 우천면 정금리 850-1)

Phone: 010-3111-0065

Hours: Open every day 12:00 ~ 3:00 pm except Tuesdays

Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/FIJMHYdq

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