'Food is art and holistic medicinal science...'
A bohemian artist from his earlier days, Chef Im Jiho learned food medicine through his parents. His inspiration for food and art comes from nature itself. It wasn't until his 40's, did he amalgamate the two worlds, and Sandang (mountain village) was established. Creating a 'natural menu' for Sandang was when the inner artist of Chef Im Jiho came out...
Absolutely no waste in the kitchen...every ingredient is utilized to it's fullest, composted, or given to the dogs...
In their kitchen, you will hardly see any packaged waste (almost everything is made in house), and they take to heart of using every single item. This to me, is what a real chef who participates in 'being green, and defining sustainability' is. It's not just about using natural and organic ingredients, but taking it a step further and living it out. Sandang exhibits the Chef's philosophy and lifestyle that rest upon health & healing through food.
Sandang's original location is in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi-do province (1.5 hrs southeast of Seoul), where they grow most of their produce, and ferment dwanjang (soy bean paste), and jar their own gochujang (red pepper paste). Their 2nd location recently opened its doors in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul early 2011. Friend John Clark from Chicago had an opportunity to work with Chef Im Jiho at Sandang back in 2008. Upon his return to the states, he's been itching to go back! John could not stop raving about Sandang, and at first I was like why the fuss? Of course ever since I got to Seoul, I only heard amazing things about the chef, and the legacy holds true.
I finally made my way to their Cheongdam location a few months ago...and the experience was something to be noted for. I believe I felt some 'healing' in my body after I dined there...strange. Then again, meeting the chef and having fun banter was probably what contributed to a genuine evening.
You may want to check out his celebrated book '마으미 그릇이다 천지가 밥이다' 'Mind is a Bowl of Water All Over Food,' shares his unique life, and his philosophy of why he creates dishes for health and healing. Quite a fascinating story...
Gangnam-gu, Cheongdam-dong 96-24, Seoul
강남구 청담동 96-24 (청담 사거리)
Starting off with some fresh homemade 'dong dong joo'
'Gu Jul Pan 구절판', royal cuisine specialty with 9 items
Red snapper sashimi
Green tea pork bbq with baby shrimp, left...fish cakes with sprouts, right
Assortment of fried goodies: lotus, sesame leaf, potato, other herbs
'Bang Gae 방게' or mini crabs (gotta go back to eat these critters again!)
Their famous acorn flambe
This was just plain crazy! hahaha
Just being silly with Chef Im Jiho and Nicole
The chef is tickling us while we're posing for this shot...was so hard to hold a smile!
With the Mrs...a beautiful couple!