Natura Spa. You are not only a spa; you are my sanctuary with a killer kitchen to boot!
I know it’s hard to believe, and I expect a certain amount of apprehension, but you have to believe me when I tell you there is a Korean spa in K-Town that actually serves up some really amazing, authentic Korean dishes.
I discovered Natura Spa years ago through a friend of mind and I have been a regular ever since. I often drive to Natura Spa after work to stretch the desk muscles, sweat the stress away and fill my belly.
For $15 dollars you have unlimited access to their facilities and you are under no time constraints. They have all the staples of a good spa; a whirlpool bath, sauna, steam room, and a cold tub to cool off. They have plenty of showers, a locker room of course, a small gym and a lounge area with leather lazy boy chairs and couches and a sleeping room. Basically they have everything to disappear for the afternoon or evening.
For $65 dollars you get a 50 minute kick ass massage but…
FlavorBoner Warning: These women have steel hands and iron feet. They are sweet and lovely women, that will tear your ass apart (and I say that in the best possible way).
I have come here so much that Natura Spa ended up being one of the primary locations highlighted in my novel Aversion; the spa a safe haven for the main character, Adam.
In the lounge area just to the right is the restaurant. It is a twelve-fifteen seater, super tiny restaurant… as is the kitchen. I mean this kitchen is puny, but it packs so much power.
They serve over twenty different dishes out of this little guy and I am slowly working my way through every single one of them.
They offer some Korean staples that most of us who dig on Korean know about. Bul Go Ghi, Bi Bim Bap, Gal Bi, and my favorite, Yook Gye Jang, a spicy shredded beef soup with glass noodles, vegetables and eggs. All dishes are served with banchan (translation: side dish) and steamed rice.
Banchan are primarily marinated, cold vegetable side dishes but can also include tofu, beef or sometimes fish. They come in extremely small portions in little bowls, usually a variety of no less than four. The most common banchan, and most certainly will be part of your meal, is Kim-Chi – fermented cabbage that tastes very spicy and a little sour.
It’s not for everyone. I love it.
Then there is the rest of your Namul, which is a general term for seasoned Korean vegetables (soybean sprouts, seaweed, eggplant and spinach). More than likely you will get one, if not more, of these.
The joy of banchan is that you will never get the same ones every time, save for Kim-Chi. Like French fries, Kim-Chi is everywhere.
After a relaxing couple of hours caring for your muscles, it is amazing that this exists to also care for your stomach. Your body requires nourishment after treatment and thanks to Natura Spa it offers amazing flavor to go with it.