I know I hit the coffee pretty hard in the mornings. I mean, it just isn’t a day without a pot of coffee! Why stop with a single cup? But one thing I do remember from growing up in Texas, was that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Living in Korea, that sentiment is also shared, but rather than load one down with carbs and sugars, the meal is quite healthy and obtainable in just about every restaurant.
On the menu, simply look for Baek-Ban (백반). It will usually run a few thousand won. At our local place, it costs W5,000 per person. Probably one of the greatest selling points of baekban is how healthy it is. Above you can see our recent breakfast consisting of a doenjang-seaweed soup, potatoes, fish cakes, and a few different styles of kimchi. My favorite had to the be the spicy lettuce kimchi seen above on the extreme upper left.
One might think that having only a half-cup of rice, some veggies, and a bowl of soup isn’t filling, but they would be wrong. It’s surprisingly so. While at our homestay in 2010, the baekban served also included grilled fish and some egg, making the presentation of the meal versatile and reflective of the establishment.
Baekban isn’t for everyone, but if you’re in Korea and want a quick meal that is healthy, then this is one I would recommend. Going out for it doesn’t have the same allure as hopping in the family car and heading to IHOP, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.
If you head out for breakfast, where do you go? What do you pick up? I used to take off every Sunday for the aforementioned IHOP run and simply fell in love with their coffee and pancakes!