We removed our shoes at the entrance and placed them in cubbies. Then the hostess led us through this spacious area to our table:
Sanchon serves a standard 20-dish meal for a reasonable 22,000W (about $15.20) at lunch. The menu varies according to season and revolves around Korean vegetables from the mountains or woods. We received a paper menu that listed the courses. The reverse side contained a New York Times article from 1986 about the place. According to the article, the owner was a Buddhist monk from age 14 to 32, where he learned the ins-and-outs of temple cooking.
Anyway, back to our lunch:
Before I could remove my coat, a server placed several dishes on our table. The bowls were made of a reddish-brown wood from the zelkova tree. (Traditionally a Buddhist monk carries a set of wooden bowls.)(Photo courtesy of A.Z.)
The appetizer, lower left, was a porridge of barley and vegetables. It tasted mild and refreshing. The bowl on the right contained winter kimchi. The watery broth was deceiving; the contents were quite spicy. (For my tastes, anyway!) The little vermicelli wraps contained radish, mushrooms, peppers and other vegetables. A dipping sauce added flavor. We had unlimited tea for beverage.
Next came seven wild vegetables, each with their own seasonings. The center dish contained a mix of greens and tofu.
Then the servers brought a slew of dishes. At left, lettuce with a tasty dressing and, at right, kimchi. In the back, another kimchi that my friends loved (and I spit out!)
At top, a green vegetable that might have been cilantro. At left, a mildly sweetened mix of giant mushroom caps and a root vegetable. At right, a root that has been pounded and seasoned until edible.
At left, fried kelp. What a great source of iodine, among other nutrients. At right, seasoned mushrooms.
My friend served a stew of mushrooms, radish, and tofu. Noodles at left and fried seasonal vegetable pancakes at right.
More fried food: seasonal vegetable fritters (lotus root, mushroom caps, and potato)
Side view of a fritter. Fortunately the wooden chopsticks were much easier to use than the typical metal ones!