A staple of the Korean royal court table from Joseon times, Sinseollo literally means ‘food of the immortals’. It has another name, yeolgujatang, soup that delights the mouth. It’s sometimes also called, somewhat less glamorously, Korean hotpot or stew.

Sinseollo is one of Korea’s most expensive dishes, as more than 25 ingredients go into making it, including meatballs, nuts, seafood and vegetables. It’s served in a special brass bowl that has a pipe built right into in the middle of it, for cooking the food on the table. Hot charcoals are placed directly into the pipe when the dish is ready to be cooked. It stays hot on the table until the last mouthful.

If you want to try it in Korea, the Korean Tourism Organisation has a list of seven restaurants that serve it up as part of a royal feast, but be aware these dishes won’t come cheap – expect to pay more than 40,000 KRW.

Arirang shows how Sinseollo is prepared and served in this video. Or watch some more Sinseollo being prepared here – don’t be scared off by the opening Korean as it turns into an English cooking show very shortly.


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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.