The rich history and culture of Korea have had a profound influence on its cuisine. With roots in Buddhism and Confucianism, Korean cuisine places a strong emphasis on the use of various ingredients and cooking methods. Adopting these cooking methods results in dishes that not only tantalise taste buds but also balance bodies, promoting a healthier life. In fact, many traditional Korean dishes are considered a form of medicine, with specific ingredients and preparations used to address various health concerns by incorporating a wide variety of vegetables, meats, seafood, and grains.
The popularity of traditional Korean cuisine has increased significantly after the rise of K-pop. This has led many chefs to strive for culinary excellence and provide diners with exceptional experiences, resulting in the emergence of progressive Korean fine dining restaurants. One such restaurant is Juksunchae, located in Ruamrudee Alley in Bangkok, Thailand.
Juksunchae is a pioneering progressive Korean fine dining establishment in Thailand, spearheaded by Korean-Canadian Chef Henry Lee. At Juksunchae, patrons can indulge in a range of colourful and deconstructed Korean dishes while basking in a serene, monochromatic ambience.
The restaurant's decor exudes a minimalistic and laboratory vibe, with a white backdrop in the open kitchen area that starkly contrasts the black dining counter and floor. This black-and-white theme reflects the Yin-Yang philosophy of Confucianism.
The Juksunchae menu comprises 11 courses, beginning with an amuse bouche called the Kimchi Bomb. It's a refreshing, sweet and sour jelly topped with meringue and Korean chilli powder. This dish is designed to prepare the guests for the meal and give them an insight into the chef's unique style.
For the next course, Chef Lee prepares Squid Yuzu Mandu. However, for those with an allergy to squid or cuttlefish, the squid is substituted with shiitake mushrooms that have been marinated in Ganjang, a Korean soy sauce, for three hours. Chef Lee presents the Mandu in a style resembling Raviolo, and a staff member pours hot, sour, clear soup onto the plate. The intention behind this dish is to serve it as a palate cleanser.
The following course, Kimbap, has a unique appearance, as Chef Lee deconstructs it into three tart-like bites. The base of the tarts is deep-fried seaweed. The first bite consists of rice, carrot, kimchi, and couchette. The second bite features soy sauce-marinated lobster, while the last bite is Yukhoe, a Korean beef tartare-like dish. Overall, it's a delicious and creative take on traditional kimbap.
Oyster Kimchi is the next course. While most people are familiar with vegetable kimchi, Chef Lee explained to Chomp that Koreans used to make meat and seafood-based kimchis. This dish's Irish Majestic Oyster is fermented for seven days, creating a unique flavour. To complement the oyster, Chef Lee serves it with three dots of pickled radish. The fermented oyster remains sweet and juicy and has a bit of a kick. The pickled radish enhances the flavour of the oyster.
The restaurant has a palate cleanser intermission featuring Dongchiimi sorbet, a daikon banchan sorbet, with added pomegranate dots for sweetness.
The dinner continues with Scallop Miyeok Consommé, also known as Birthday Soup. It is often consumed by pregnant women and after giving birth. It comprises of sesame oil, garlic and seaweed. The grilled scallop is perfectly cooked. This dish is umami and subtly seaweedy and garlicky.
The Following course is Hrwe, a Korean-styled sashimi. In this course, the chef uses dry-aged Thai grouper. The staff pours Chojung, a Gochujang-based sauce. This dish showcases the excellence of Thai fish.
Juksunchae's Bibimbap is a deconstructed dish with a beautiful mix of colours. The dish has a generous amount of caviar, uni, seaweed rice, puffed rice, kimchi, and shiitake mushroom served with creamy Gyeram-Jiim, a savoury custard adding extra creaminess to the dish. The staff pours a white kimchi beurre blanc sauce into the empty space on the plate. Mixing everything together before eating is recommended to experience this dish to the fullest.
Samgyeopsal is a dish made of grilled pork belly. At Juksuchae, the chef prepares the dish by first sous-viding the pork belly before grilling it and serving it with grilled endive. The endive has a bitter core but sweet leaves, which pairs perfectly with the pork belly's layers of fat, lean meat, and dark meat. This combination of different flavours and textures makes the dish a truly unique experience.
For the final savoury course, the Smoked Galbi is a short rib that is brined and then cooked sous-vide for 24 hours. It is served with five banchans, Korean soy sauce, lotus seeds, eggplant puree, aged kimchi, cured egg yolk, and a herbs salad with doenjang. Additionally, it is accompanied by Ppang, a Korean bao bun.
Before the main dessert, the Pear & Plum dish serves as a refreshing palate cleanser, washing away the rich flavours and fats of the previous course. It is made up of pear granita, plum jelly, and candied pear.
In a deconstructed version of the well-loved snack Bungeo-PPang, an assorted fish-shaped pancake, Chef Lee throws away the fish façade while retaining the original ingredients. He transforms the snack into a new and unique dish. The result is a combination of red beans, roasted rice ice cream, honey crispy pancakes, and matcha sauce.
The meal ended with Petit Four of Lemon and Omija Glazed Madeleine, Corn Tart, Melon and Yoghurt Tart and Chocolate Gochujang Chaux.
Juksunchae is an ideal destination for Korean food enthusiasts looking for an experimental twist on traditional Korean cuisine.
Hours: Wednesday – Monday, 18:30 – 23:00 hours
Reserve: +6698 333 4498
Location: Woodberry Common Fifth floor, 15/3 Soi Ruamrudee, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330