Seongsimdang is a bakery in Daejeon city, South Korea with 64 years of history. It was the first bakery in Korea to be listed in the Michelin Guide. Its famous tempura soboro was served to Pope Francis on the Pope’s visit to Korea.
And now, Mitchell, too, has eaten the same bread the Pope has eaten.
When I told my Korean friends I was going to Daejeon, a city in central South Korea, they all said, you must go to Seongsimdang!
Wow, this bakery must be pretty good, I thought. And Koreans really like bakeries.
But it’s more than that. The bakery also has a storied history and is seen as being representative of Daejeon culture.
When Lim Gil-soon and her husband opened their business in the 1950’s, it was just a stall selling dumplings outside of Daejeon train station. Now, it has four locations throughout Daejeon, and it is widely known throughout the whole country.
Lim, motivated by her Catholic faith, made it a rule to donate all leftover bread to the homeless. In the early days, Korea was poor and recently emerged from war. Now the bakery still continues her tradition to this day.
The most famous breads are the tempura soboro, which is a kind of round bread/cookie, which is filled with fillings and fried. Also popular is the chive bread. There’s so much you will certainly find something you like!
Watch my video explaining the history and trying Seongsimdang’s bread (Korean language with English subtitles):