Dating in Korea: White Day
Exactly one month after Valentine’s Day comes the holiday known as White Day. While guys get all the love, attention and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, March 14th is a time for them to return the favor to their lovely ladies. Unlike the chocolate inspired deliciousness that is Valentine’s Day, White Day focuses more on the sugary goodness of candy. Quite frankly I prefer chocolate to candy any day, but hey, that’s just me.
Anyway, it can be tough for guys to find a decent romantic place to take their significant other for dinner, so I’d like to share a great place my boyfriend took me to for White Day called 민가다헌 (Min’s Club) located in 인사동 (Insadong). I’m definitely a lover of traditions, history and remnants of the past, so leave it to my boyfriend to find a restaurant tucked inside what used to be the home of one of Korea’s first architects and what is now one of Korea’s national historical sites. This beautiful hanok was built in the 1930s and while it retains all its original design and charm on the outside, the inside had been slightly modified in 2001 to offer visitors a more comfortable dining experience which includes lovely victorian style furniture and drapes. In a way, it gives off an old-world meets new-world kind of flare, which is even more apparent in their Korean-European fusion cuisine.
At Min’s Club they offer course menus and a la carte, but we decided to go with course menus A and B, so that we could try as many things as possible (food junkie mentality). We both really enjoyed the Shrimp-fish fillet mandu covered with grain crust served with mandarin ratatouille and fish veloute sauce. The mandu was unlike anything we’ve ever tasted; tender and juicy on the inside and crusted with a flavorful herb breading on the outside. Absolutely mouth watering! I also really liked the dessert dish from menu A which was some kind of lemon crème brûlée ice cream served with a scoop of basil ice cream. It was so good, but to be honest my favorite part was really the basil ice cream. It was such a surprising combination of sweet and herb like flavors. My boyfriend, on the other hand, enjoyed the grilled chuck of pork with braised shrimp which was served with potato cake and gochujang oyster sauce. The pork was incredibly tender with not much fat on it (a rare find in Korea). The meat itself was flavorful and had a good balance of sauce, so nothing was overpowered; a delightful main dish. Overall, we felt that the dishes were quite good but lacked creativity, compared to other places we’ve been to. The presentation was also a bit ordinary. I suppose it felt a bit more like Korean and European food rather than fusion.
Nonetheless, it was a lovely dinner complete with candlelight and a lovely view of the surrounding garden. There was even wildlife (cats) that would stop in front of the windows to drink from the stone water troughs outside. While we both felt the meal to be a bit pricey and quite small in portion, we agreed it was more of a place you go to for the atmosphere, which I highly enjoyed and found to be really romantic. If you’re interested in Min’s Club, you can check out a map HERE. Happy White Day!