Friday, 29 July 2011

Travel Food Blog: Korea

I say travel food blog, but I can't really say travel can I? I mean I lived in Korea for two years. Something I will really miss in Korea is definitely their food! Omg, I love Korean food! When I first went there, my knowledge of Korean cuisine was close to none. All I know was that they eat loads of kimchi (김치), and food are going to be crazy spicy; I was right.  I do love spicy food, but Korean spicy is another level that my palate thankfully adapted to quite quickly; when we went there my H can't tolerate any spice at all, but now he's a pro! Don't get me wrong though; there are also a number of non-spicy Korean dishes that are equally as delicious as the spicy ones that any non-spicy food lover could enjoy.

Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tteok (Korean rice cake), vegetables and meat. They are usually served in the form of stews, soups, stir-fries or barbecues. Fermented red pepper paste, red pepper flakes, red pepper oil and other chilli products are very common condiments/ingredients used to make most Korean dishes. There are also non-spicy condiments/ingredients used in Korean dishes like fermented bean paste, soy sauce and sesame oil.

In a nutshell, I think Korean cuisine is not only very scrumptious, but also very healthy. It was so easy for me to incorporate my vegetable intake into my meals without them being just a side dish. Anyway, without further ado, let me present my compilation of random Korean food that I had been devouring over the last two years. Let the food parade begin!

The all famous kimchi (김치)... I didn't like eating kimchi the first few weeks I was in Korea, but now I love them. Give me a bowl of rice and kimchi, and I'm good to go.
Mulkimchi (물김치)/water kimchi also got the sour kick of kimchi without the spicy twist. 
 A plate of banchan (반찬)/side dishes served on the local cafeteria my H and I frequent. This plate consists of anchovies, odeng (오뎅) and kimchi (김치). Odeng is a processed fish-cake made with fish and flour, and it has a firm almost al dente like texture.
 Kimbap (김밥) is the Korean version of sushi rolls except it has less variety than its Japanese counterpart. This particular kimbap is called chamchi kimbap (참치김밥)/tuna kimbap. It is my favorite kimbap because I love the flavor combination of the tuna and perilla leaves that's in it.
 Gyeran-jjim (계란찜)/steamed egg
 Kimchijeon (김치전)/kimchi pancakes, I absolutely love this!
 Haemulpajeon (해물파전)/seafood and spring onions pancake
Makgeori (막걸리) is a Korean alcoholic beverage made from rice. It has a sweet milky taste to it, and I actually prefer this more than the famous soju (소주). You can also get cocktail versions of this drink. My favorite would be the pineapple makgeori because it tastes very similar to a piña colada.
 A typical Korean barbecue which includes banchan/side dishes and grilled meat, and of course enjoyed with a bottle of soju (소주)
 Korean barbecue. What's on the grill? Makchang (막창) pork large intestines, tteok (떡)/rice cake and galbi (갈비)/beef short ribs.
 When having a Korean barbecue, you are always given a basket of either lettuce or perilla leaves to be used as wrappers for the grilled meat. Yummy!
 Korea also has their own high quality range of beef called hanu (한우).
 Bulgogi (불고기)
Bibimbap (비빔밥) literally means mixed rice. Basically, it is a dish with rice and different toppings on top. Before you start eating the dish, you have to mix everything together first. There are many kinds of bibimbap you can try in Korea. In this case, it's the salmon bibimbap

 This is a beef and mushroom bibimbap. Bibimbap served in a hot stone bowl is called dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥).

 Another bibimbap picture
 Tuna bibimbap
 Cheyuk topbap (제육덮밥)/pork rice topping. The topping is stir-fried pork with leeks, onions, carrots and red pepper paste. Ooo, I'm craving for this at this very moment!
 Donkas (돈가스) is the Korean counterpart for the Japanese tonkatsu. The one shown in the picture is a cheese donkas.
 Jjigae (찌개)/spicy stew. There are varieties of jjigae from tuna to kimchi jjigae. This one is a tofu jjigae.
 Haejangguk (해장국) is a popular Korean stew known for its hangover cure. I don't know about the hangover cure, but it is a comforting stew to slurp on regardless if drunk or not! It is a spicy stew that contains napa cabbage, bean sprouts and beef short ribs. Love eating this during winter.
 Boshintang (보신탕)/dog meat soup is a Korean delicacy. It is consumed by some Koreans with the belief that it gives strength to the body.
 Blowfish eaten in shabu-shabu style
 Odengtang (오뎅탕)/fish cake soup
 Jjimtak (찜닭) is a stew-like chicken dish that contains varieties of vegetables. The taste is a mixture of salty, sweet and spicy.
 Galbijjim (갈비찜)/beef short ribs stew-like dish - very delicious! 
 Korean street food
 Stuffed peppers
 Tteokbokki (떡볶이)/rice cakes
 Fried chicken
 Varieties of skewers
 Tteokbokki with fried chicken
 Japchae (잡채) 
Jajangmyeon (자장면) is derived from a Chinese noodle dish; its sauce is made out of black soy bean paste. 
 Smoked duck with loads of side dishes/banchan
 Side dishes/banchan
 Hwe (회)/Raw fish
 Korean wedding buffet reception
 Korean wedding buffet reception
 One of my favorite instant noddles, cheese bokki (치즈볶이). It's like their version of mac n cheese except it uses noodles instead of macaroni.
 My favorite ramyon (라면), kimchi ramyon.
 Koreans do make good sandwiches.
 Not exactly Korean, but it's a Korean flavored pizza. Bulgogi pizza and the other is a bulgogi bake.
 Rice burger!
 Korean fried chicken - they make the best fried chicken... 100% crispy-licious!
 Batbingsu (받빙수) is shaved ice served with varieties of toppings like fruits, rice cakes, cereals, ice cream and red beans.
 Hotteok (호떡) is a Korean filled pancake; the filling is usually a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and peanuts.
Songpyeon (송편) are sweet stuffed rice cakes traditionally eaten during chuseok (추석)/autumn harvest festival. They are usually filled with either sesame seeds with honey, red bean paste, peanuts or chestnuts.

It has just been five days since I left Korea, but I'm missing their food already! Good thing I have found a couple of reliable Korean cooking websites that could teach me how to cook the dishes I will be craving in the very near future!

Bisou bisou,

1 comment:

  1. Great post about korean food which i love. check also my article about best korean food


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