Seoul Cheap Eats: 자연밥상 (Korean Buffet Restaurant)

If you’re looking to chow  down on unnecessarily large amounts of food on the cheap, try out this Korean buffet, “자연밥상”. 자연밥상 (pronounced “jayeon babsang”) translates something to the notion of “natural meal”, which is somewhat ironic as there’s nothing natural about consuming food to the point your stomach can burst! The main selling point is their 6000 won lunch special, with dinner costing 9000 won. This review is only covering their lunch offering.I’ve never been to this area before, but I decided to check it out since my friend, Sophie, invited me. You can find 자연밥상 by heading out of exit 2, 신정네거리역 (Sinjeongnegeori Station) and going straight for a couple of blocks. It will be on your left.

자연밥상 Jayeon Babsang Map

자연밥상 Natural Food Entrance
Store front.

I was a bit overwhelmed at first, as there were quite a few people in the restaurant. I should’ve guessed that would be the case with a whole buffet only costing 6000 won. The seating area was relatively clean and modern, albeit somewhat unsophisticated. Most of the tables are pretty big, most likely to accommodate larger families.

자연밥상 Natural Food Table

Pretty much all the tables I saw had burners, so I think perhaps they offer hot pot during dinner time. One can only wonder, but that would be another very good deal for only 9,000 won!

자연밥상 Natural Food Buffet section
Buffet table.

They pretty much have only one main table with 90+% of the food and a few subsections offering rice, noodles, and eggs you can fry yourself. The offerings consist mainly of veggies and carbohydrates. There was only one dish that was primarily meat, but I was fine with that as it was pretty decent. As a whole, I felt like the food felt much healthier than most places as they weren’t overladen with salt. They had much more subtle flavors, which I instantly appreciated. Perhaps that’s what they meant by “natural meal”.

자연밥상 Natural Food 고기
Kimbab and pork.

My favorite dish was hands down the only meat dish, which was basically pork in a bulgogi sauce. They had a simple kimbab, but it was a bit too bland and uninspiring for my taste. The fried mandu (dumpling) wasn’t so bad!

자연밥상 Natural Food 잡채They had japchae (잡채), which is a dish consisting of cellophane noodles and veggies mixed with sesame oil. It tasted a bit mushy, but it was very light and fulfilling. The noodles were on the thinner side. I actually enjoyed it a lot, despite it tasting vastly different from typical japchae.

자연밥상 Natural Food 만두 french fryThey had some french fries and some odd sweet bread sticks that were actually pretty good.

자연밥상 Natural Food noodlesThere was a hearty tofu dish covered in a starchy, slightly spicy sauce, which was very tasty. I came back to that one often as well as a noodle dish featuring very chewy, thick noodles in a sauce that’s somewhat reminiscent of 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon). It was a bit less bold than jjajangmyeon and had more of a soy sauce flavor. This was another favorite of mine.

자연밥상 Natural Food Seaweed Soup
Seafood soup (미역국) with mussels.

I’m a big fan of seaweed soup (미역국) and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had it with mussels no less! I really like the flavor of seaweed soup and adding mussels made it much more complex. It was slightly on the saltier side compared to everything else, but nothing out of the ordinary.

자연밥상 Natural Food buckwheat noodlesThey had buckwheat noodles in cold soup, but the noodles were really mushy. I don’t recommend this one at all.

자연밥상 Natural Food Clean upOne of the downsides to this cheap buffet is that you have to basically clean up after yourself. You will have to go to this station to dump all your dishes and organize it properly for them to clean. It’s just a small price to pay.

While not the most amazing thing you’ll encounter in your life, 자연밥상 provides a nice staple of decent foods to satiate the inner glutton in you. While some items were definitely a miss, I was pleasantly satisfied with the low sodium content and dishes that I found palatable. At 6000 won, you’re almost guaranteed to get your money’s worth and have enough money for ice cream in case you didn’t. It seems that Korean food buffets are in vogue these days, so if you know of any other good ones to check out, let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements

Author: Ryan Mar

Just a guy simply making the most with life abroad. Love travel, photography, food, and just enjoying life. Currently blogging about beautiful places in Seoul, Korea, along with food, culture, and observations at findingtheseoul.com.

2 thoughts on “Seoul Cheap Eats: 자연밥상 (Korean Buffet Restaurant)”

  1. it’s really good stumbling in your blog ,, just looking at the mouth watering foods makes me hungry atm,, your blog is really helpful for me as ill be travelling to seoul this coming december and im looking on resto to try out during my holiday,, thumbs up for the very detailed and helpful infos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much anne for checking out my blog! I hope to go through with a lot of new content soon, but please feel free to enjoy all the posts that I’ve made so far! Best, Ryan

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s