Among the terrific restaurants in Gangwon Province (which there are plenty), Pulnaeeum “Scent of Grass” will always stand out because it was our first dining experience with the pooches in a lush setting befitting Gangwondo, or more specifically Bongpyeong.
Bongpyeong is most widely recognized for producing the highest-quality buckwheat in the country and, lucky for us, it’s only a 30-minute drive from our home. So, when we heard about a dog-friendly restaurant that serves Bongpyeong’s finest, makguksu, we phoned ahead of time to reserve our outdoor table. Sensing there might be mishaps or accidents when taking the pooches out for their first restaurant experience, we prepared for the worst.
But those worries turned into excitement as soon as we entered the premises. The restaurant–in traditional hanok form and rustic–was spacious (inside and out), full of garden greenery, and indeed dog-friendly. There were four tables–two covered with thatched roofs and two covered with tree branches and leaves. We were lucky to get the thatched roof as it did a nice job blocking out the sun and providing a cool setting for us and the dogs. The other tables were also occupied by dog owners, mostly small dogs, but could easily accommodate larger breeds if necessary. Our dogs felt right at home and settled nicely onto the wooden floor, knowing that we had treats ready once our food came out.
We ordered the recommended bibim makguksu (buckwheat noodles with sweet and tangy sauce) and memil modeum (buckwheat platter) for 7,000 and 18,000 won, respectively. The bibim was sweet, tangy, and robust, with the somewhat chilled noodles being firm yet chewy. The thinly sliced veggies sitting on the bottom gave the dish some added textures and they worked in perfect harmony. Absolutely pleasant in taste and texture, plus a fantastic feeling that you’re eating clean and healthy. The memil modeum was a visual beauty–thoughtfully arranged to whet one’s appetite and arousing curiosity about each colorful piece of buckwheat-infused bites. The platter contains gamja tteok (potato rice cakes), jeon byeong (crepe-like wraps), baechu jeon (cabbage leaf pancake), much (jelly), and micro-greens for color. Simply put, they’re all rustic and simple but totally delicious, which says a lot about the food prepared in the countryside. The makgeolli–mandatory for any meal in Bongpyeong or Gangwon–was refreshingly crisp, sweet, and aromatic. I bought a few bottles at a nearby market to enjoy at home.
Overall, the dining experience at Pulnaeeum was perfect. The pooches loved being outdoors sharing space with other pets and soaking up the summer sun. The food was healthy, delicious, and nominally priced, especially when you factor in the natural garden-
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Wongil-ri 763-5, Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeonchang-gun, Gangwon Province (강원 평창군 봉평면 원길리 763-5)
Hours: Open every day 10:00 am ~ 9:00 pm except major holidays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/5h0ys22o