London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food – Book Talk and Tasting Event

What a shame this clashes with the opening night of 4482 – Butterfly Effect at the Bargehouse. Nevertheless, this temple food event is sure to be extremely popular, so make sure you get your application in. Yes, note the unusual registration process, which suggests that the attendee list may be prioritised in the event of over-subscription.

Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food – Book Talk and Tasting Event

Wed 2nd May 2018, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Korean Cultural Centre UK

Wookwan's Temple Food

The Korean Cultural Centre UK are delighted to introduce Korean Temple Food to London with the Buddhist nun and chef, Wookwan. Wookwan is a temple-food expert and leading practitioner of this discipline. We will also be celebrating the launch of her new cook book, Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food, to be written in English.

On the 2nd May, Wookwan will share her philosophy and principles behind Korean temple food, described as “a perfect meal, full of nature’s goodness”. Attendees will be able to enjoy a selection of dishes and discuss the origins and meaning behind Korean Temple cooking.

Application procedure

Application Window: 9 April – 22 April 2018. Application forms received outside of the application window will not be accepted.

Download the ‘Application Form’ from the KCCUK website. Complete the application process and submit via [email protected] with the subject ‘Woo Kwan’s Korean Temple Food’.

Selection procedure

Attendees selection is based on the application. Please note that we may give priority to those who are interested in Korean Culture or active on SNS. We will send you an e-mail regarding the result of the selection.

Enquiries: Tel: 020 7004 2600 / Email: [email protected]


Wookwan entered the Yaksusa Temple in the Gwanak Mountains in 1988 under the teaching of the Venerable Jeong Hwa. She received her master’s degree and finished a doctoral certificate program in Buddhist studies at the University of Delhi in India; afterwards, she practiced vipasanna meditation in Myanmar and its vicinities. In September 2010, Wookwan participated in the first Korean Temple Food Festival held in New York City.

Within Korea, Wookwan has held numerous lectures and programmes hosted by the official educational sector of the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism under the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism since 2010. As the Director of the Mahayeon Temple Food Cultural Center in Icheon, she holds regular workshops on temple cuisine and also hosts events in partnership with Gyeonggi Province and Icheon City. She has recently published “Woo Kwan’s Korean Temple Food” in English. You can follow her on Instagram @wookwansunim.

Characteristics of Korean Temple Food

1. Food as Practice

Temple food is religious, everyday food for Buddhist monks, but it is also shared with all those who visit the temples. By sharing this food, they also share their hearts and minds. In the temple, followers believe that cultivating food materials to making the meal is an essential part of practice. So, the rule is not to leave any food behind and simply to take in an appropriate amount for the body and mind and to remember the efforts and devotion of those who worked in making the food.

Korean temple food does not use any animal products except dairy products. The reason for not consuming meat comes from the Buddhist philosophy of generosity and mercy, a practice of not sacrificing a life for one’s own survival. Korean temple food has also traditionally meant that monks and nuns do not use the five pungent vegetables (onions, garlic, chives, green onions and leeks), these are called the “o-shin-chae”, meaning “five spicy vegetables” because they are said to hinder spiritual practice.

2. Natural Food

Instead of artificial flavours, Korean temple food uses a variety of mountain herbs and wild greens, which has led to the development of a vegetarian tradition. As most Korean temples are located in the mountains, providing easy access to wild roots, stems, leaves, fruits and flowers, monks and nuns have naturally become leaders in shaping vegetarian culture.

3. Preserved Food & Fermented Food

Korea has four distinct seasons, and all kinds of vegetables and plants are available from the spring. To keep these vegetables and plants for the winter, monks and nuns developed various techniques to preserve and store seasonal foods, including fermentation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.