Cheong Wa Dae museum gets facelift

By Lee Woo-young

Sarangchae reopens with new Korean food hall

  • Published : May 30, 2014 - 20:40
  • Updated : May 30, 2014 - 20:40
Sarangchae, a museum just outside the presidential residence Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul, has reopened this week with a new promotional hall for Korean food.

The museum was closed for renovations for about two months to more effectively showcase Korean culture and tradition. Existing exhibition halls have been refurbished, with the Korean food promotion hall and a cafe added.

The new hall is open only to those who make phone or Internet reservations. They can taste Korean dishes and also watch cooking demonstrations by culinarians of the Korean Food and Culture Institute. 
Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae (Korea Tourism Organization)

“Some foods on the menu that we will demonstrate might be unfamiliar to foreign visitors. They are not popular foods such as tteokbokki or bibimbap. They were important dishes in the history of Korean cuisine,” said Yoon Ok-hee, director of the institute.

Yoon plans to add royal dishes like “gujeolpan,” nine different plates of assorted meats and vegetables, to the menu.

Cooking demonstrations will last for 30 minutes to one hour in a comfortable theater-like setting, depending on the types of dishes. Sarangchae will charge about 10,000 won ($9.80) for viewings of the demonstrations.

For foreign visitors, demonstrations will be translated into English, Chinese and Japanese. Four monitors on the wall will help them learn about the details of the cooking process.

Sarangchae’s newly renovated halls enhance the relaxed mood of current exhibitions of Korean traditional costumes and wildflowers. Designed by artist and architect Kim Paik-sun, the halls produce a traditional yet contemporary atmosphere with wooden frames and mulberry paper.

The Korean costume show displays photos of various traditional costumes worn by different classes of people, and the jewelry and ceremonial dress of royal families. In another exhibition held outdoors, visitors will be able to view beautiful illustrations of Korean wildflowers. A miniature garden with Korean wildflowers and some 100 rare samples of indigenous flora is a must-see.

Sarangchae, also called Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Monday and on Jan. 1. Admission is free. For more information, visit

By Lee Woo-young (