Healing Kitchen

Healing Kitchen

- A beautiful spread of food, nursed by the earth, 
   raised by the sunlight

‘Healing’ is a buzzword attracting great interest in Korea these days. There was even a popular song, “October Rain” by Yoon Gun, with a refrain that went “Healing pilyo-hae [I need healing].” When daily life gets so frantic that it’s hard to even catch your breath, youve got to do something to get away from the hectic routine. If you were to ask me what little thimgs help me to cope, I might say sharing dinner and affable conversation with like-minded people. For me, that’s healing. What is healing to you? What do you do, when, and with whom?

I would like to introduce a praiseworthy restaurant in Gyeongju that is healing to both mind and body. Located in Mulcheon Village, near Gyeongju’s Bomun Lake resort, it’s called ‘Healing Kitchen.’ You can sense its character from the name alone, can’t you? Healing Kitchen is a vegetarian restaurant using ingredients nursed by the earth and raised by the sunlight, exuding an earthy aroma. Let me tell you about the cozy dinner I enjoyed at Healing Kitchen.

About Healing Kitchen…

From the very first stage of opening the restaurant, the whole process was very sound. Consulting services were provided by Mr. Lee Do-kyeong, an expert in vegetarian cuisine who is originally from Gyeongju and whose books include Soul Food, Im a Vegetarian Chef, and Diet Healthy Doshirak. Mr. Lee took the position of consultant for Healing Kitchen, wanting to share healthy cuisine at a vegetarian restaurant in his hometown. On top of that, his younger brother, who is also a top student of Mr. Lee’s, and Mr. Lee’s cousin Gyu-dong Choi, the pretty lady in the accompanying photo, joined forces and opened the restaurant.

As a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Healing Kitchen doesn’t use any dairy or animal products, basically. Also, in the interest of using only the freshest ingredients and contributing to local agriculture, Healing Kitchen finds and uses local Gyeongju resources as much as possible. The mushrooms used in the ‘steak’ and pasta are from Geoncheon-eup, a well-known mushroom growing area. The brown rice is from Cheonbuk-myeon, the paprika from Yangnam-myeon, and the pine bud, mugwort, and apricot enzymes come from Hyangjungwon, a fermented-food specialty house in Gangdong-myeon. Healing Kitchen is all about made in, by, and of Gyeongju.’

How about this dinner~ Doesnt it look delightful?

The dinner table is boisterous, with four women gathered together for the first time in a long while. Greetings and hellos are being exchanged, along with amiable conversation and delicious meals prepared by Healing Kitchen. The menu for today’s dinner was determined with lightning speed, accepting the recommendations of a friend who had already tried it. We tasted mushroom steak, vegetable fried brown rice, wheat-gluten (seitan) bulgogi tortilla wrap & salad, and soy cream whole wheat spaghetti. I already knew that, just because its a vegetarian restaurant, that didnt mean that everything they served had to be green, but I didnt expect the range of flavors and variety of foods.


Personally, this is the menu item I would recommend most strongly. Shiitake mushrooms are finely minced to create a thick steak. Soup is served as an appetizer, and the steak is garnished with grilled vegetables. The texture was better than beef. The mushrooms’ savory taste was aromatic, and went perfectly with a very refreshing sauce, made from bokbunja, fermented Korean raspberries. As Im sitting here typing this, my mouth is watering just thinking of it. Imagine that, and youll definitely want to try it for yourself. ^^ The garnishes accompanying the steak will pique your appetite, and as the Korean expression goes, all other things being equal, choose the red skirt (the better option).  


This ‘fake meat’ bulgogi tortilla wrap (made from the wheat gluten product known as seitan) looks like it would be perfect to pack in a lunchbox. The seasonings were not too strong, so it makes a good evening meal, too. Vegetarians and vegans can purchase ingredients for vegetarian cooking at Healing Kitchen. Products like wheat-gluten (seitan) bulgogi and soy-based mock meat are simple and quick to prepare.


This spaghetti features a cream sauce made from soy milk. Although the pasta noodles are not as springy as regular refined wheat noodles, the whole wheat gives them a rich, nutty flavor. As I tasted it, I was amazed that such a rich dish could be created with the restrictions of vegetarian cooking.


For us Koreans who rely on rice for our energy, this tasty and healthy dish may be the most familiar one on the menu. So, I would also recommend this vegetable fried brown rice. Everyone knows that brown rice is good for your health, and the longer you chew it, the healthier you get. As long as youre having brown rice, why not enjoy this healthy food in a tasty recipe that makes it a pleasure to eat, right?

Healing Kitchen also doubles as a café that serves enzyme teas, including pine bud, apricot, mugwort, and peppermint, as well as a variety of organic herbal teas. This place offers both meals and a pleasant tea time.

A fine dinner that GyeongjuLove celebrated at Healing Kitchen…
How about that? That’s real healing, isn’t it? To those seeking healing, I have a declaration to make. Heal your body and find peace of mind at Healing Kitchen.

Healing Kitchen address: Seonang-gil 3-6, Mulcheon-ri, Cheonbuk-myeon, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Inquiries: 054-775-6999
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00  (Closed Mondays)

TIP: You can find Healing Kitchen in a village called Mulcheon-ri, located on the road that runs behind Hanwha Resort near the entrance of Gyeongju’s Bomun Lake Resort. I would not recommend taking the bus that goes directly to Mulcheon-ri because it follows a very roundabout route, and doesn’t run very often. Instead, take Bus No. 10 or 700 to the Hanwha Resort stop at Bomun Lake Resort and then walk for about 20 minutes towards the part of Mulcheon that has a lot of pensions. Or, you can take a taxi from Hanwha Resort, which costs no more than the base rate. The owner of the restaurant recommends the latter


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