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Blog, Food Story, Korean Eats

Chili Stress Reliever in Korea

 

The chili pepper in South Korea is quite significant. Which is sort of strange since, it only came to Korea in the year 1580 because of the Portuguese missionaries. They had also been through Japan and China, but Korea really seemed to gravitate towards this new spicy flavor. Nowadays Korean food is known for its red spiciness. In contrast, most North Koreans prefer food that is mild and quite bland.

Chilies in South Korean cuisine are pickled, fermented, dried, and ground. The chilies range in spiciness from mild to “blow your top” hot. They even make a special fermented paste called gochujang that is often used to flavor braised dishes and used to flavor vegetables and rice. If you go to the area of Sunchang families for generations have been making vats of this red chili paste that they store in large slab pottery pots called O’nngi. In order to coax proper fermentation, they wrap around the tops of each O’nngi pot with a rope that has bits of charcoal, pine needles and dried red chilies.

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Blog, Food Story, Korean Eats

Korean Food Story: Gom Tang (Bear Soup)

One must-eat soup in Korea is Gom Tang, which is a slowly marinated beef soup. For those that might be familiar with Korean words, gom also is the same word for bear. Don’t worry there is no bear meat in the soup. Gom in this case comes from the Korean word goeum which means fatty food. The famous places for gom tang uses cuts of top grade Korean beef. In Korea, butchers have 125 different cuts of beef so the famous restaurants will pick out the best cuts of fatty beef to flavor the broth while producing a clear, golden broth.

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Blog, Food Story, Korean Eats

Korean Fried Chicken

 

There is a debate right now about Korean fried chicken. One group thinks it can be considered Korean food. The other group thinks that it is just western food. What do think about this? I believe that Korean fried chicken should be promoted as a Korean food because it is Korea’s unique food culture, which led to the development of its unique taste and texture. The sauce, dips, style of eating, and side dishes also make this uniquely Korean.

Chicken in the past was considered a boyang (endurance) food that was often eaten during the three hottest days of summer. Korea was mainly a farming country and when you work all day in the fields, you need protein to stay healthy. The problem is that in summer cattle needed to work the fields and the meat would quickly spoil.

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Blog, Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, The Best of Seoul

Hanuso: Abalone Bibimbap

Hanuso

During spring I am always on the search for fresh, crispy and nourishing bibimbap. Hanuso uses top quality ingredients to create dishes that will please the epicurean in you. Their Yukhwae (raw beef) bibmbap has fresh sprouts, various lettuces, julienned carrots and pears and more. With this you get clear beef soup, Korean vegetable side dishes and a steaming bowl of hot rice. All combined, it becomes a nourishing meal that feels like a bowl of sunshine and spring rain. Pictured here this is some abalone bibimbap. Although the abalone is fresh, it is a bit chewy. For those that love fresh abalone, this is quite excellent. I would say that Hanuso has some of the best bibimbap in the city because the ingredients are very fresh. It’s more like a salad with a side of rice than a heavy bibimbap. I would recommend you make a stop there.

Hanuso
Jongno-gu Nakwon-dong 272
Ph#:02-739-9990
Hours: 11am-10pm
Price: 8,000 won-18,000 won

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Blog, Cooking, Korean Eats

Beans, Beans, Beans in Korea

Koreans call beans, ‘Meat from the fields.’ A long time ago, meat was a luxury that commoners rarely had a chance to eat. So instead of meat, Koreans cultivated a wide variety of beans to supplement their diet. Beans such as black beans and peanuts were often used to make banchan or side-dishes, but others like wild kidney beans, white beans, and peas were added to rice. Red bean in a sweetened paste was used as a filling for rice cake desserts.

There is even a bit of notoriety about eating rice steamed with beans. If you ever encountered some people that might have looked a bit unruly or dangerous and you suspected they might have spent time in prison. There is a way of asking them instead of asking them obviously. You could ask, “how long did you eat beans and rice?” If that person spent time in prison, they would know what you meant and might answer 3 months, 1 year, 10 years etc because a long time ago prisoners were only given rice while in prison.

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