A beautiful bowl of salad by Yubaka

Yubaka Brings Solace Through Meal
There is a small town in Buyeo where a hyanggyo(Confucian school) stands, and we wonder why people keep visiting the town. The answer was that there is Yubaka offering meals that give you solace when life brings you down or when you feel weary.
Opening the small, pink-colored wooden door at the end of a narrow alley, I stepped into the house owned by Yubaka who came out of her studio to greet me in a white dress and a white apron.
“It must have been tiring to travel all the way here. Have you eaten yet? Shall we start after a bowl of noodles?”
After a brief greeting, she went back into the kitchen. It was a bowl of noodles with a spicy mixed sauce on the side she brought out soon enough.
“This kimchi was made by my next-door halmoni.”
Under a large persimmon tree, on the table which is a repurposed galvanized steel door, an unexpected meal was served. A cup of lukewarm cassia seed tea and a bowlful of noodles. Yubaka’s warm welcome blew away the fatigue and tension I had after driving over 2.5 hours from Seoul.
평소에도 하얀 원피스를 입고 고객을 맞이한다.

Yubaka welcomes guests white one-piece dress.

Little Princes’ Haven in Buyeo
It was May last year that Yubaka, who used to work as a meal designer, storybook writer and consultant, relocated to Buyeo. She had found her current house accidentally and decided to try a new business. She fixed up the 89-year-old mansion and began using the space as the guesthouse/cooking studio. People come to Yubaka House which looks very much like a scene from the movie < Little Forest >, knowing the owner cooks well. Yubaka House comprises the kitchen, the main building(painted in yellow) where Yubaka lives, storage room used for farming tools, dining room where cooking classes or one-table restaurant take place, and the annex where guests stay. In a corner of the annex is Yubaka’s studio where she writes story books or sews. Among these places, one that shows the atmosphere of Yubaka House is the yard.
아기자기한 유바카 하우스

아기자기한 유바카 하우스

아기자기한 유바카 하우스

The adorable Yubaka House

Yubaka’s yard has various plants growing organically, such as carrot flowers from the seeds that got drifted there by the wind, daisies and English lavenders that were gifts from her friend, and herbs like evening primrose, arugula, and dill. “There are no assigned sections. I just assume, ‘You wanted to be there.’ and accept it.” She has fostered a natural, beautiful garden. The best place to admire this little patch of paradise is from the table under the persimmon tree. The classical music from the radio in her studio, rustling sound of leaves at the passing of the wind, and bird calls echoing in the atmosphere all circle the yard once and move on. Anyone can become part of the garden. Sitting there you will feel like you are back in one of the warmest memories of your childhood, and that you’re in a very familiar haven.
테이블 위로 감나무가 시원한 그늘을 만들어 준다.

The persimmon tree provides a shade over the table.

Yubaka actually wants to provide comfort and consolation for those who visit her place. The guesthouse is called ‘The Little Prince Hotel.’ “To me, ‘the Little Prince’ seems so lonely and forlorn. I sympathize with him. So I thought I would build a hotel using < The Little Prince > as a theme.”  The interior space of Yubaka House is filled with copies of the classic novel translated in various languages that were sent by her friends across the world. “I want my guests to remember the warmth of a night’s stay and the taste and sincerity of a meal they have at my place.”
캐슈넛 크림 디핑 소스를 곁들인 컬러 채소 샐러드

Colorful salad with cashew cream dipping sauce

Organic Table Feat. Nature
Yubaka runs a one-table restaurant in which she accepts only one reservation a day. She was never professionally trained in cooking. However, having learned from her mother who was a good cook and the old habit of enjoying the ingredients in their natural states both led her to be attracted to the world of cuisine that emphasizes the natural tastes of food. “It’s simple. The cooking procedure is not complicated. It involves either steaming, roasting, or blanching, while the seasoning is soybean paste, soy sauce, perilla oil, and/or salt.” Her style of cooking where the entirety of seasonal ingredients, from the root to the peel, is considered important gets introduced as a macrobiotic diet. “Try eating after sniffing the scent of the carrot’s root and leaves.” Her main ingredients are flowers and herbs from her garden, vegetables harvested from her backyard, and tomatoes, asparagus, and beat that are easily found at a marketplace in Buyeo.
참외, 토마토, 딸기, 완두콩, 낫또를 활용한 샐러드

Salad with Korean melon, tomato, strawberry, pea and natto

정원의 꽃들로 즉석에서 아름다운 데코레이션을 완성했다.

Flowers from the garden help decorate the plate.

“I like the word ‘bap(meal).’ I think every food we consume is bap. Be it noodles or kimchi, the food we eat daily can all be categorized as bap.” Instead of being a food researcher, Yubaka wants to be called bap designer. She designs her daily meal based on a conversation with her customer. There is no written-down menu. When a man reserved a table for his mother who was having a hard time after her father’s death, Yubaka prepared a ‘table of consolation.’ When girl alumni from high-school years reserved a table, the concept was ‘Tell me your wish.’ She always asks herself, “Why do they come to me?” To her, understanding why they choose Yubaka House is key to meal preparation. So from plating to menu choices, every reservation is approached differently. Thanks to the effort, guests at Yubaka House can enjoy a table solely designed for them. “That’s why I only accept one reservation a day. I mean to convey that ‘I remember everything about you from our first step together. I’ll do my best preparing for your meal.’ When they are entertained and satisfied, I also feel happy and content.”
과거 농기구를 보관하던 창고는 요리 클래스를 위한 공간과 원 테이블 레스토랑이 되었다.

The old warehouse for farming tools has become a single table restaurant with space for cooking classes.

유바카 씨가 광목천에 수놓은 문장들

Sentences weaved on cotton cloth by Yubaka

텃밭에 만든 나비 쉼터

A resting spot in a vegetable garden for butterflies

Available Only at Yubaka
Many people from across the country go to Yubaka House for her careful insight and sweet attitude. Besides, the exposed earthy ceiling showing rafters, pink-colored roofs, a stone garden path, and pieces of fabric on the posts displaying diverse copies can only be found at Yubaka House. “I make them myself. I have a lot of fun working on them, and they sort of became my signature.” Among those who stay at Yubaka House, some maintain friendship with the owner. “Eating and having a conversation, sometimes people just let it all out. Of course it would be within the limit that they set. Talking for hours on end until 1-2am, we become good friends.”
본체 앞 스툴에 앉은 유바카 씨

Yubaka seated on a stool in front of her house

샐러드를 만들기 위해 정원과 텃밭에서 꽃과 채소를 모았다.

Yubaka picked up flowers and vegetables from her gardens to make salad.

The real name of Yubaka is Yu Miri. ‘Baka’ is the name she gave herself. She once smelled a fresh mint scent while walking and could cheer up. So she named herself ‘Baka’ which is how mint is pronounced in Korean, hoping that she could be like a mint to people around her. Indeed, she has that very effect. Yubaka says her guests are all ‘little princes.’ “Whether it’s an old lady or gentleman, they are all little princes to me.” After eating what she has cooked for you and chit chatting with her, you will feel like you’ve received a big hug from her. She’s embracing people through her space and food.

You can get the Yubaka House updates fastest on Instagram.
종종 고객들과 함께 유바카 하우스 옆 산책로를 걷기도 한다.

She takes her guests out for a walk on the path next to Yubaka House.

Where to Stay in Buyeo: LOTTE RESORT BUYEO
Located about 20 minutes by car from Yubaka House is LOTTE RESORT BUYEO. With a total of 310 rooms and suites in a building consisting of 11 levels(one underground), LOTTE RESORT BUYEO is the most majestic modern architecture in Buyeo, which is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Multicolored panels attached to the exterior of the horseshoe-shaped building create a unique scenery in the historic neighborhood. You will be offered an unexpected Buyeo experience at LOTTE RESORT BUYEO.
Address 400 Baekjemun-ro, Gyuam-myeon, Buyeo-gun, South Chungcheong Province
Inquiry +82-41-939-1000
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July 2021 Editor:Kim Hyewon
Photographer:Ahn Garam

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  • July 2021
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
  • Photographer: Ahn Garam
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