South Korea has become more known for its technology in recent years than for its food. However, things are starting to change thanks to delicacies such as kimchi, which has become a global phenomenon. Here’s a list of foods you need to try in South Korea.
Kimchi is one of today’s hottest food trends, and it’s easy to see why. Kimchi seems to have it all with a complex flavor, a variety of uses, and an all-star nutrition scorecard. Kimchi is a Korean traditional dish made from vegetables, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, salt and fish. The combination is pickled and preserved, which for the winter months were initially a way to preserve the vegetables.
Although Kimchi is quite common for radish, cucumber and scallions, cabbage is the most common vegetable used to make kimchi. Hundreds of kimchi recipes differ depending on the location and season they are produced in. For its unique flavor and high nutritional value, fiber content and low calorie content, Kimchi is popular among foreigners. In Korea, however, because of its significant cultural importance, it is most popular. Dinner is considered to be incomplete without kimchi.
Sundubu-jjigae – soft tofu stew.
Soondubu jjigae which is known as the “Spicy Soft Tofu Stew” is a delicious and hearty stew. A strong and tasty blend of beef, fish, vegetables and spicy seasoning contrasts perfectly with the softness of soondubu. When eaten with a bowl of rice, Soondubu can easily be a full meal. Some ingredients are removed, replaced or added to the mix depending on the chef and region. Traditionally, although there are different variations, a raw egg is placed on top of the stew and mixed with the soup before serving to add extra flavor to the dish.
Seolleongtang – ox bone soup.
Seolleongtang or the ox bone soup is one of Korea’s most popular soups that can be found in every restaurant. The soup is known for its milky white colour, remarkably thick taste, and protein and calcium richness. It’s eaten throughout the year for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seolleongtang takes a lot of time to make. This is because, over a period of several hours to a whole day, the ox bones are cooked over a low flame to allow the flavor to be extracted from the bones. huge amounts are therefore often prepared at once and the extra broth is frozen to be used later as a basis for other dishes such as rice cake soup (ddeokguk), dumpling soup (manduguk) and radish stem soup (siraegiguk).
This dish was a part of Korean cuisine for a long time. During the King’s ancestry ceremony, one possible source of the soup can be traced back to the Joseon period. A cow would be killed in the offering of sacrifice during the ceremony, and then this cow would be made into a soup. The Mongolian method of cooking beef in water is another possible source. Without any seasoning, the soup is served. At the plate the seasoning is done, chopped green onions, chopped garlic, salt and pepper are served on the floor, added to the personal taste before eating. The soup is always served with rice and kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi). Dadaegi on the side is sometimes served the spicy seasoning.
Samgyetang – ginseng chicken soup.
As the samgyetang, the boiling hot ginseng chicken soup is an iconic summer dish in Korea. This soup is extremely popular as a nutritious food that helps fight the heat of summer. Eating the hot soup is, as the Korean saying goes, “fight heat with heat.”
On sambok days, eating healthy and restorative food is a Korean tradition. It is a popular choice for Samgyetang. Sambok days are 3 distinct days marking the hottest summer. There are Chobok (beginning), jungbok (middle) and malbok (end) are based on the lunar calendar. Hope you can enjoy the samgyetang before the end of the summer!
Soondae – blood sausage.
Soondae, or sometimes pronounced as sundae, is a popular dish in Koreamade from pig intestines stuffed with various ingredients including noodles, pork blood, and barley. Versions of soondae vary in fillings and wrappings, and are often prepared differently depending on the South Korean province or city. However, although the recipes differ, each soondae on the outside is chewy and on the side soft and flavourful, creating an interesting mix of textures and flavors. The sausage’s flavor is mild but it is combined with salt, sugar, chili powder, sesame seeds, and dried and ground shrimp. The blood’s taste comes across perfectly. It’s one of the best things I put in an intestinal box.
Koreans have created a fascinating and rich food culture over the centuries, consisting of meat dishes, stews, soups, noodle dishes, seafood and many vegetable side dishes. Visit South Korea and spend a day roaming street markets sampling your way through this flavor concert.
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