There’s an argument to be made that kimchi is the heart of Korean cuisine. It’s the food that evokes pride, passion, and memories for many Koreans. But if kimchi is the heart of Korean cuisine, then jang could be considered the soul of Korean food, the ingredients that form the foundation of Korean cuisine. There are many types of jang but the three main ones are ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (fermented soybean paste), and gochujang (fermented red pepper paste). They are the “mother sauces” of Korean food, if you will.
The Jang Trio at Mingles is an homage to these special ingredients. The dish incorporates ganjang, doenjang, and gochujang. Normally, this wouldn’t be so notable. But what makes the Jang Trio so jarring is that it is a dessert course—it’s something that is just not done!
And yet, this unconventional dessert was easily one of the best and most memorable dishes I had not only during my Japan/Korea trip but also this entire year. All the components (doenjang creme brulee, soy sauce pecan, gochujang grains, vanilla ice cream, whisky foam) worked beautifully together. It was so, so special. .
Chef Mingoo Kang (@mingleseoul) and his team are doing amazing things at Mingles, taking traditional Korean ingredients, flavors, and cooking techniques and thoughtfully reinterpreting them in a modernist way. It’s no wonder they’ve gotten a host of accolades (Michelin Star, number 15 on 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List—the highest of any South Korean restaurant). I’m so glad to have gotten the chance to go and would love to go back again next time I’m in Seoul 😊