With many modern buildings around the Karasuma Oike area, it’s easy to spot 素夢子古茶家somushi kochaya, which occupies the first floor of what used to be a historical obi (kimono sash) wholesaler, due to its traditional-style exterior.
Being of Korean heritage, I’m always interested in Korean-style establishments here. There are very few that seem authentic but this teahouse is one of them (the owner is a native Korean). Upon entering after passing through the persimmon juice-dyed のれんnoren (curtain that also serves as a sign at the entrance), one is immediately transported into an old-fashioned Korean teahouse.
Behind this 보자기bojagi (Korean patchwork) is…
Smoking is allowed outside
I was pretty much a regular here about six years ago (also, there used to be a great Korean restaurant not too far away that had the best 떡국deokguk (rice cake soup) ever (all the workers were from Korea), so I got my fill of Korean food in this area); here are some things that I ordered back then:
柚子茶yuzu cha (유자차yuja cha (yuzu tea)) (June 2006)
약밥yakbap (literally “medicinal rice”, a rice sweet with chestnuts, jujubes & pine nuts) & café au lait (March 2007)焼肉定食yakiniku teishoku (불고기 정식bulgogi jungshik (Korean barbecue meal)) including 十穀米juukoku-mai (열 고미yulgomi-bap (10-grain rice)) & わかめスープ (미역국miyeok-gook (seaweed soup))(March 2007)
After being away for about four years, I was craving the 약밥yakbap, ￥450, which came just like I remembered it when I came before; I also ordered the はと麦シェークhatomugi shake(율무 쉐이크yoolmoo shake (Job’s tears shake)), ￥850, which I had once before as well.
I don’t remember eating 약밥yakbap so much when I was growing up in the States; I think that one traditionally eats it on Korean special occasions anyway. But the little that I got to eat, I remembered enough to want to eat it again. So when I came across some here six years ago, I was ecstatic!
Each area has a different atmosphere to indulge in. I’ve always loved the peaceful feeling that I get there. And not only is the food good but it’s good for you, too.
When the staff feels that it’s about time for a customer to leave, they bring とうもろこし茶toumorokoshi cha (옥수수차oksoosoo cha (corn tea))…I just love it, it’s so flavorful!
I’ve always wanted to buy a dried flower light at somushi kochaya, so I took this opportunity to buy one, in the form of a card, ￥2100.
Update: Woomi is a Korean-Japanese doing research in Oklahoma and goes to my sister’s church, that’s how she became my sister’s 동생dongsaeng (little sister)-figure. She was in Japan for a couple of months to undergo surgery in Kyoto and my sister wanted me to meet her, so we made a date to meet for the first time. We were able to recognize each other immediately (thanks to pictures we’ve seen of each other on Facebook) when she arrived at Karasuma Oike Station. Since she was still on hospital food, all she could do was drink, so I decided we could get something healthy at somushi (plus the café to which I had intended to take her was closed…does 喫茶 la madrague マドラグ ever open? Not when I go.), so I found myself there a year later from the last time I went.
Due to my recommendation, Woomi ordered the hatomugi shake that I ordered the last time that I came; I had the 호박죽hobak-jukかぼちゃ粥kabocha gayu (pumpkin porridge), ￥1000, which game with side dishes and dessert, my favorite yakbap!
The texture of the rice is more defined in the juk that I’ve always had but this one was more like a thick soup with rice cake…it was still good nonetheless, as well as beautiful to the eye. There are two more kinds of juk; I’d like to try all of them sometime as well as the 비빔밥bibimbap that was sold out that night.
Update: A year and five months later, I went back to somushi with Jennifer, who had been interested in going for a while, for dinner. We settled for 精進ビビンバshohjin bibinba (vegetarian 비빔밥bibimbap), ￥1200, when we were informed that the 素夢子御膳somushi gozen (meal) was sold out for the day.
It had been almost half a year since I went to Korea to spend time with my parents who were visiting my mom’s relatives at the time and this was the first time that I had Korean cuisine since then…of course everything tasted authentic and it made me think I need to have Korean more often.