Though Seoul is anywhere but close to California, nestled within the busy streets of Berkeley you’ll find a fresh-food-focused casual restaurant, Mad Seoul, to introduce the rich flavors of Korean food to those living in the Golden State.
Walking up to Mad Seoul, you’ll find a bright white, inviting interior with an open kitchen front and center showcasing it’s ingredients. Customers can pick and choose their made-to-order bowls, or order tacos, with the protein and toppings of their choice.
When visiting, even through the pandemic, you’ll see a steady stream of customers enjoying the contemporary fast-fine concept. Whether going through the short pick-and-choose line or picking up a called-in order, guests are in and out of Mad Seoul within a matter of minutes.
Founder and owner, Aaron Kim, says he wants to use Mad Seoul to introduce Korean cuisine and culture to a mainstream audience. “In addition to providing an introduction to Korean cuisine and culture, I feel that Mad Seoul provides a very healthy, balanced and diverse meal that would cater to a lot of people,” says Kim. “I feel the bibimbap (mixed rice bowl) is a unique dish that would be very special to the current food landscape.”
The menu makes the entire experience very simple and friendly to anyone who has never ventured into classic Korean food.
Let’s talk specifics. The Mad Seoul menu includes five pre-made bowl options, all of which can be customized:
- The Classic: This bowl is the traditional Korean bibimbap. Rice base, with Bulgogi (beef), mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, broccoli, zucchini, pickled cucumbers, pickled turnip and red cabbage
- The Seoul Heat: Spicy chicken, rice base, kimchi, pickled cucumber, prepared zucchini, carrots and mung bean sprouts
- The Spicy Pork: Spicy pork, rice, broccoli, mushrooms, pickled turnip, pickled cucumbers, mung bean sprouts and carrots
- The Zen: Brown rice, tofu, pickled cucumber, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, red cabbage and broccoli
- The Green (vegetarian option): Fresh bed of crunchy romaine lettuce, topped with tofu, prepared zucchini, broccoli, pickled turnip, mung bean sprouts, carrots and red cabbage.
The restaurant also has tacos on the menu, which include most of the same primary ingredients in the five bowl options: Bulgogi (beef), spicy pork, spicy chicken, miso chicken and tofu.
Mad Seoul is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.madseoul.co.