Delicious Food!

안녕하세요 여려분! 잘 지내요?

Hello everyone!  Have you been well?

This week, I’m going to talk a little bit about Korean food.  Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll be ready to run out and try some of the delicious foods of Korea!

One of the main staples of Korean food is 김치, or kimchi, which I’m sure some of you have heard of before.  The most famous kind is made of cabbage, spices, and other miscellaneous vegetables.  Once mixed, the cabbage is placed in jars to ferment, and then sometime later (depending on the maker’s taste) the kimchi is ready for consumption.  There are many different kinds of kimchi made out of a wide variety of vegetables, including radish and cucumber, and is said to prevent cancer (of course, this hasn’t been proven by scientists).  Kimchi is so popular here that most refrigerators that are sold here come with special kimchi drawers, and every non-fast food restaurant serves it with your meal.  It’s still made the old fashioned way, where many members of an extended family gather around huge bowls and make a bunch in one afternoon.  If you walk down the alleys behind some restaurants, you can even watch little old ladies crouched down on the back doorstep mixing and tasting kimchi.  It’s really cool to see!

Left: a jar used to ferment kimchi; right: a special kimchi fridge

Left: a jar used to ferment kimchi; right: a special kimchi fridge

Almost every meal is served with a bowl of rice and a bowl of soup, as well as kimchi and other side dishes.

school food

One of my favorite on-the-go foods here is called kimbap, which is kind of like the sandwich of Korea.  It’s what mom’s make their children for lunches and it’s a very popular food to take on a picnic or road trip.  Rice and seaweed are wrapped around vegetables and sometimes meat to form a log, and then is cut into slices.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is one of the best options for you to eat in Korea, since a lot of soups and dished have hidden meat products in them (such as fish stock for soups and seasoning).

kimbap

Of course, you can also find western food here as well!  I’ve found a really good burger place nearby that isn’t very expensive, and is definitely a nice treat when I’ve feeling a little homesick.  You can also get pizza pretty much anywhere, however a lot of places use ingredients that may seem a little odd to foreigners, such as sweet potato, mayonnaise, and corn.  You can find corn in pretty much any dish here, and it takes a lot of getting used to.

Left to right: Fried chicken, chicken burger, ham and cheese panini

Left to right: Fried chicken, chicken burger, ham and cheese panini

Snacks here are some of the most tasty things I have ever tried in my life!  Today, I tried a snack called egg bread, and it’s basically just cornbread with an egg cooked inside of it.  And it’s delicious!  Who would have thought something so simple could taste so yummy?  Another favorite snack of mine is called tteokbbokki, or spicy rice cakes.  Rice cakes are shaped into logs and cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce, and served hot out of small shops and tents on pretty much every street.  These shops usually sell fishcakes (fish that is blended with spices and into a paste, then dried) which are boiled and served hot right out of the water.  At these shops you can usually drink the water the fishcakes are cooked in for free, and it is the perfect treat on a cold day.

Top:Tteokkbboki, fried veggies, and fishcake soup.   Bottom: Egg bread

Top:Tteokkbboki, fried veggies, and fishcake soup.
Bottom: Egg bread

But the best part of Korean food is the desserts!  Back in Portland, one of my friends (who was there as an international student from Korea) told me “Korean girls say they have two stomachs, one strictly for dessert, and the other for everything else.”  I totally understand why.  There are a ton of goodies you can get for dessert.  In my opinion however, the best is patbingsoo!  This dessert consists of very fine shaved ice, condensed milk, sweet red beans, and rice cakes, in its most basic form.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of variations however!  A lot are served with fruits and delicious sauces on top in addition to the basics.  Some are made entirely out of chocolate (my favorite)!

patbingsoo 2

Top to bottom: -Strawberry patbingsoo -chocolate patbingsoo -Oreo patbingsoo

I hope I have inspired you all to go out and try some Korean food!  Have any of you tried it before?  Is there any dish I talked about that you want to try?

Before I go, later this term I will be interviewing a student at a middle school here who is around your age!  I will be talking to them about student life in Korea.  Is there anything you would like to know about school life/life for people your age in Korea in general?  Let me know so I can add them to my list of interview questions!

Have a great week everyone!

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