STAMINA, Summer Healing for the Body and Mind
In the 16th Episode, we presented a humanistic approach to modern Korean cuisine from
studying the food records from the Joseon Dynasty. In the 17th Episode, we focused on
Namul (seasoned vegetables or wild herbs), which has maintained its original form until
today and is regarded as food that best represent ‘the Korean food culture’ throughout the
world. Now, we take note of stamina foods in the 18th Episode.
Stamina food, which is also referred to as ‘health food’ or ‘yak-sik-dong-won’, is one of the
most important frame that constructs Korean food. It reflects the Korean philosophy of food
in the sense that food is not simply treated as a means of indulging in the pleasure of
eating and drinking but as medicine for protecting and recovering one’s health.
Philosophically, stamina foods are based on the idea of Heaven-Earth-Human, and thus,
balance ingredients from the sea and the land, producing wholesome flavors that are not
skewed to one side. Medicinally, they are based on Dongui-bogam (An encyclopedia of
Eastern Medicine). Accordingly, they are composed of dishes that accurately take advantage
of the healing properties of each ingredient and are made to work on specific parts of our
With summer around the corner, SOIGNÉ chose Korean Stamina Foods as the theme of the
18th Episode menu to help our guests break away from the routine of Korean foods such
as kimchi and bibimbab and go on a journey exploring the philosophical and medicinal
wisdom expressed in Korean stamina foods.
The most painstaking part of preparing this menu was finding a balance between
comprehensive stamina foods and medicinal foods with specific efficacy. It is true that
modern health foods lack concrete evidences to support their efficacy: a lot of the
ingredients are simply believed to be good for the body without any special reason.
Moreover, there are many ingredients that are not accepted as food in the society at large.
Therefore, when choosing the ingredients for our menu, we placed top priority on those
that are introduced in Dongui-bogam and old literature, based on which the medicinal
properties can be inferred. Then, we tried to give an overall harmony to the menu by adding
stamina food ingredients widely circulated in our society even though specific evidences
have not been presented to verify their stamina-promoting functions.
This summer, we hope you will appreciate the philosophy of the stamina foods round out
by our ancestors and recover your strength through the modern stamina foods brought to
you by SOIGNÉ .