100-year-old temple turns into a modern restaurant in Suwon, Korea

Photo by ChiHon Kim
Photo by ChiHon Kim

100-year-old temple turns into a modern restaurant in Suwon, Korea

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

While dining out is an always enjoyable experience, finding a good restaurant in a strange city is difficult. Suwon, in fact, is still a relatively unknown city for me since I live in Pyeongtaek. But, after my visit to Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, I spent an hour trying to find a place to eat. The effort ended up being well worth it.

Suwon is famous for Suwon Wangalbi grilled beef ribs and the crispy chicken served in their chicken alley restaurants. I admit that these specialties are probably the easiest option but considering many of the eateries in the area do not accept solo diners, I was reluctant to try. Another inconvenience was that I was visiting on a Monday, a day many restaurants are closed after the busy weekend.

I kept walking around the fortress trying to find a place to eat until my hunger would not allow me to continue. So, I let my stomach choose randomly.

Nestled in the adjacent Haenggung-dong Mural Village, not far from the fortress’ Hwahongmun Gate, the Tasting Museum (테이스팅 뮤지엄) is the quaint corner eatery my hunger led me to. Their menu offers mainly great Italian dishes, steaks and wine at prices that won’t break the bank.

Inside the dining area, the music playing ranged from trendy K-pop to American pop songs. Dining tables inside were a bit small but okay for couples or solo diners.

If you ask me what’s so special about this place, it’s the architecture. The tile-roofed house that once served as a temple called Myosusa over 100 years ago, is now a modern restaurant where diners can enjoy the beautiful construction and minimalist decorations.

I ordered grilled shrimp pong curry for 15,500 won (or $13). It’s a kind of twist of Poo Phad Pong Curry or crab curry. The tiger prawns instead of crab in the curry is what makes this dish less expensive. I was famished and this dish did not take long to prepare, so it arrived quickly.

The perfectly seasoned curry made with delicate coconut milk and meaty tiger prawns came with the perfect portion of rice on the side. I scraped my dish clean with a spoon.

Tasting Museum’s signature menu items include tomahawk steak that has beautiful marbling for 76,000 won. They also have a reasonably-priced sirloin steak (34,000 won) and a porcini mushroom risotto topped with steak (18,900 won). Their wine and beer selection is also impressive. Try any of their wines from Chile, California, and South Africa to level up your meal.

If you’re in the mood for something different, try goulash, a Hungary-style stew seasoned with tomato, potatoes, and other spices. It comes with baked bread and is paired well with wine. En papillote, a dish of meat or fish in a folded pouch and then baked with veggies, wine, tiger shrimp and special spices, is also on the menu. This rare dish is not something you can easily find elsewhere.

For appetizers, they offer colorful bruschetta made of tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese, Caprese on top with homemade ricotta cheese, juicy eggplant ragu grilled with extra-virgin olive oil.

I was lucky that Tasting Museum happened to be open the day I visited, as they usually close on Mondays. After my delicious meal, I definitely felt as though I had won. Now when I visit Suwon, it won’t be such a mystery to me, because I’ll know where I want to stop to eat. 
Add this beautiful eatery to your list when planning a visit to Suwon. And after your meal, take a walk through the Mural Village to enjoy the sights and get some steps in!

Naver Map
Address: 경기 수원시 팔달구 화서문로71번길 2-6 (KOR), 2-6, Hwaseomun-ro 71beon-gil, Paldalgu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea (ENG)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Break time 2:30 to 5 p.m. (weekdays), 3 to 5 p.m. (weekend), Closed every Monday.
Phone: 0507-1344-9064

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