Perfect Food Day: Buddhist Temple Cuisine with Green Guru Danny Seo

December 29, 2016

The lifestyle guru's perfect food day begins early in the evening in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Jonas Jungblut for Naturally, Danny Seo

In Perfect Food Day we ask chefs and food-world personalities for their dream day of eating, where everything goes—they can eat anything, anywhere, and with anyone. And this they do!

Call him the green Martha Stewart. With an eco-minded empire that includes TV, a magazine (Naturally, Danny Seo), a syndicated newspaper column, and the cookbook Naturally, Delicious (Pam Krauss Books/Avery 2016), Danny Seo is the guru of better living.

Sustainability, locally sourced ingredients, eating clean—all of the trends now beloved by the food industry have been his signature for years. But rather than fill his perfect day with the tried-and-true staples of healthy eating (we’re looking at you, chia pudding), he’d head to one place: South Korea. “I love Seoul,” he says. “Being Korean, it’s nice to get the chance to go back to my roots. But it’s also one of the most extraordinary cities on the planet—modern, clean, eclectic, and unique.”

Post-Flight Meal: “My ideal 24 hours starts when I land, usually around 5:30 p.m. I’d actually start with Japanese sushi. There’s an amazing restaurant on the garden level of the Grand Hyatt that’s warm, modern, and calm. It overlooks a gorgeous bonsai garden. I’d sip sake and have fresh sea urchin and salmon sashimi, and warm broth soup. It feels right to calm down from a long flight and rest for sleep.”

Breakfast: “In the morning, I’d hop on over to the Shilla Hotel and dive into their incredible breakfast buffet. Don’t think all-you-can-eat American-style buffet. Think culinary stations manned by top chefs preparing traditional French, Chinese, Korean, and—yes—American-style breakfast favorites. Steamed buns; fresh croissants; incredible, detoxifying, freshly squeezed juices; and the perfect cup of coffee.”

Lunch: “I’d stroll to Shinsegae—a fancy department store that’s like Korea’s Harrods—and head right to the basement. There the food halls are brimming with so many options. I’d pick up savory and sweet treats and grab a fresh piece of fruit. Then I’d shop through the store and nearby streets for the afternoon.”

Dinner: “This would have to be temple cuisine, or a pure, plant-based, multi-course meal inspired by Buddhist temples. Baru is my favorite. It’s in a tucked-away office building, and I go for the full meal. Think medicinal root salads, mushroom and mung bean porridge, pumpkin tofu, wild ginseng with wild honey, and crepes filled with mushrooms. They are all unusual flavors, yes, but each one is utterly delicious. Meat eaters, vegetarians, and even picky eaters would love every course and every bite.”

Dessert: “I’d stroll down the streets of the Insa-dong neighborhood at night and look for a stall selling whatever sweet treat is the latest, hottest trend in Korea. You’ll never find the same thing twice because it changes every single week.”

TAGS
Cookbooks of 2016Danny SeoKoreanPerfect Food Day
Naturally, Delicious
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Danny Seo, America's leading sustainable lifestyle guru and founder/editor-in-chief of Naturally, Danny Seo magazine, creates a cookbook filled with more than 100 recipes for preparing healthy,… Read more »

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