That’s the simple response I got when I asked the owner of Dasoni, a popular vegetarian and well-being restaurant in Jeju city, how she got into the restaurant business. Surprised at her response, she explained further that as a child she grew up playing around the sprawling tree (still visible to this day from the main dining area). Fast forward to adulthood. Just as the tree was to be uprooted, she stepped in and bought the plot of land. And making good use of the land (and the beautiful tree), she opened up Dasoni shortly thereafter.
Open for over 8 years, Dasoni has been all about respect and preservation of tradition through present actions. The restaurant is clothed in a chogajip-inspired atmosphere. Most of the wood used in the interior were brought over from old chogajip homes, creating not only a rustic setting but also making it feel like you’re dining in a different time period. Adding to its humble appeal, calligraphy paintings on hanji, handcrafted ceramics, and other traditional ware are carefully placed throughout the restaurant.
The food is Buddhist temple cuisine inspired. Bibimbab, deullkae sujebi, yeonip bab, and danpatjuk take center stage with each tasting light and clean without sacrificing any flavors. Even better? They’re reasonably priced from 7,000 won to 10,000 won. Banchan consist of freshly made kimchi, shigeumchi namul, hobak jeon, pickled radish, and salad. No MSG and other preservatives are used in their dishes. In addition, they are well-known for their wide range of teas, from omijacha (five berry tea) to meshilcha (sweet plum tea). For my personal take on each dish, see pictures below.
“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Korean Vocabulary Explained:
Choga jip 초가집 - traditional thatched roof house
Hanji 한지 - traditional Korean paper
Deulkkae Sujebi 든깨수제비 - flaky dough pasta in perilla seeds broth
Yeonip Bab 연잎밥 - sticky rice cooked in lotus leaf
Danpat juk 단팥죽 - sweet red bean porridge
Shigeumchi Namul 시금치 나물 - blanched and lightly seasoned spinach
Hobak Jeon 호박전 - pumpkin pancake
Food: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
995-9 Ora-dong Jeju City (제주 제주시 오라1동 995-9)
Hours of Operation: Monday to Saturday from 10 am ~8 pm / Closed on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month