Tuesday, 3 October 2017

20 Delectable Dishes in Korea

Would love to introduce more Korean cuisine because it's voted as one of the healthiest in the world! Korean people believe food is more than just a meal because it has natural healing power to prevent or cure illness because they believe that "food and medicine come from the same root."

Korean food (Hansik) mostly influenced by  Philosophy of Eumyangohaeng - theory of Yin-Yang and Five elements in terms of its five flavours (Sour, Bitter, Salty, Spicy and Sweet), and also using  five colours for the ingredients (Yellow, Black, White, Red and Green). 

Although different topography, soil, climate and sources of the main ingredients and different and methods in preparing or cooking created unique delicacies and seasonal dishes in each region.

Let me introduce some of the popular dishes and must-eat food in Korea that most of food lovers must have tasted them at least once! Here are some that I tasted and

 I like to make Kimchi, side dishes and simple meals, especially my kiddos' favorite
such as: Pajeon, Padalk, Jumokbap, Samgyetang, Seaweed kimchi and Dongchimi,..

FYI, do check out KTO Singapore Facebook page for monthly cooking classes if you want to learn how to cook authentic Korean Food.

Korea is known for 1500 year of culinary wisdom of fermented food such as Kimchi, Dienjang (Soybean paste), Ganjang (Soy sauce), Gochujang (chili paste) and Jeotgal (salted seafood). They gained popularity and international recognition not only because of the flavor but most importantly they're high in high in vitamins, lactic acid bacteria, enzymes to promote good digestion and strengthen body's immune system.   


There are more than 200 varieties of Kimchi with own distinctive taste.

From the moment you landed on "Kimchiland" you'll see, smell, touch and taste Kimchi whenever you have your meals. Let's say "Kimchi" instead of "Cheese" to the camera and capture your satisfied smiles after tasting these delicious dishes:  

1. Samgyetang (삼계탕)

Tosokchon (토속촌 삼계탕) Wild Mountain Ginseng Soup - 21,000

Ginseng Chicken Soup is made by stuffing the cavity of young chicken with ginseng, glutinous rice, jujubes, pine nuts and then shimmering it. 

Samgyetang not only delicious but also healthy because each ingredient of samgyetang has its own special functions. Ginseng is effective in tackling multiple symptoms, rejuvenates body, boosts metabolism, reduces stress, treats diabetes, improve respiratory illnesses, and many more.  

Gobong (고봉삼계탕) Oriental Ginseng Soup - 14,000.

Koreans especially enjoy eating it on three hottest days in July and August, called Chobok (초복), Jungbok (중복) and Malbok (말복) for restoring their stamina and health due to exhausted of the summer heat. 

It's Korean Signature dish that love by international, therefore you can find Samgyetang at almost all Korean restaurants in overseas.

I always bought Korean Ginseng from Lotte Mart just to cook Samgyetang because it's my son's favorite food. 

2. Jeonju Bibimbap (비빔밥)

 HangukJib (한국집 ) Korean Beef Tartare Bibimbap (육희비빔밥) - 13,000.

Lavishly garnished with colorful vegetables, beef, gochujang on top of the rice is probably one of the most distinct Korean dishes. It's one of my favorite in-flight meals because it's healthy and delicious.

Duimo Cafe ((두이모카페) Bibimbap Waffle  - ₩4,000

This Bibimbap waffle (비빔밥와플) is perfect combination of east meets west, the texture of the waffle was slightly like Nureungji crust and truly satisfying snack~!


3. Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)


Grilled pork belly three layered meat is one of the most consumed dish in Korea. As you often watched in Korean drama, samgyeopsal is a great party food where family, friends or  colleagues  usually sit down chatting while grilling them.

Korea has unique 'ssam' (상추쌈) culture...

Ssam is the most common and best way to eat samgyeopsal by placing a slice of grill meat on a vegetable leaf, and add a bit of ssamjang, garlic, kimchi then roll it up and eat it.

4. Galbi (갈비) 


I don't eat anything with beef, but most of the time the restaurant need to have minimum order of 2 portions. So, my hubby will eat the same. But, if it's BBQ Buffet, then my hubby will grill his beef one side and mine the other side. Anyway, Grilled Pok ribs (Dwaeji Galbi Gui) is more affordable than grilled beef ribs (So Galbi Gui).

Recommended Food in Punggi: BBQ Ginseng Rib 풍기 인삼 갈비 |
Succulent taste of pork ribs perfectly marinated with with ginseng.
  
5. Korean Spring Onion Chicken (파닭)
 
Chez Maak Makgeolli House (셰막) Crispy Spring Onion Fried Chicken.

My friend told me that Padak is also Korean onomatopoeia of chicken flapping their wings "PaDak"
PaDak (Pa/파 = Spring Onion + Dak/닭 = Chicken).

Fried Chicken is one of the popular food to go with alcohol drinks especially after airing of K-drama 'My Love From the Star' after the influencer Cheon Song-I, said "A snowy day is just perfect for our Chimaek (Chi/치 = Chicken + Maek/맥 =Maekju/Beer) time ..."

 Most of Korean Fried Chicken restaurants in Korea have delivery service
to your home and even to the park. We'd NeNe chicken delivered to hotel room.

Introduced KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) to my kiddos
they love it so much that we eat this more than Kentucky Fried Chicken.

You can also order beer and have up to 2 different flavours 2 different flavours (Ban-Ban) for the fried chicken: spicy / garlic / cheese / orange / original / ...

Koreans love chimaek so much so that they celebrate Chimac Festival every year in Daegu. 

6. Jokbal (족발)

Braised Pig's Trotters.

Tender and juicy Jokbal is a Korean braised pig's trotters with soy sauce and ginger, garlic, and rice wine. Jokbal can also be wrapped with lettuce leaves with salted shrimp and eaten with other side dishes and the most preferred dish to accompany with soju. 

A substance called Chondroitin found in Jokbal said to slow down aging process, firming skin and preventing wrinkles. It also benefited new breast-feeding mum by promoting secretion of quality breast milk. Ladies~! Did you read this? ^^

There is "Jokbal Street" in Seoul where many restaurants selling pig's trotters along the main street and alleyways in Jangchung-dong (장충동 족발 골목)

7. Bossam (보쌈)

Ashley Queens Buffet Succulent Boiled Pork.

Bossam is steamed to eliminate unplesant odor and placed under heavy stone to squeeze out the oily fat from the meat. 

This non greasy pork meat is sliced and eaten with Fermented Salted Shrimp (새우젓), Fermented Salted Oyster (어리굴젖), Young Radish Kimchi (열무김치), Radish Kimchi (보쌈무김치 ), Spicy Paste (쌈장), and leafy vegetables.

I don't specially order this dish, but often Korean buffet restaurants serve this signature dish.

8. Kimchijjigae (김치 찌개)

https://www.facebook.com/thetasteofkorea/photos/a.156104971095505.26025.156095597763109/1402123656493624/?type=3&theater
 Kimchi Jjigae is one of the most beloved lunch menu in Korea.

It's the most common jjigae available at most of the restaurants and it's the safe choice to order this as you will never dissappointed with the unbelieveable taste.

Kimchijjigae is made with aged sour kimchi, scallions, onions, diced tofu, pork or seafood to enhance the flavor of kimchi-jjigae.

9. Sundubu Jjigae (순두부찌개)


Firefly Bean Village (반딧불 콩마을) Spicy Soft Tofu Stew - ₩10,000.

New York Times praised Sundubu jjigae as "the ideal winter meal" and described it as a hearty brew of spicy broth and silken tofu, topped with scallion and nuggets of tender oxtail or crisp kimchi.

This stew can be made without adding broth or water because sundubu itself releases water when boiled. In a earthenware bowl, place minced pork fat, sundubu, seasoning paste, shells, clams and boil over high heat. Do keep stirring while it boils to prevent sundubu from being burnt.

10. Kongnamul Gukbap (콩나물 국밥)

HyunDaiOk (현대옥) - Various types of Kongnamul Gukbap.

This simple Bean Sprouts Rice Soup is probably the first soup that the novice cook learns to make. Soybean sprouts, scallion, salt and water are all the ingredients needed to cook this refreshing soup. That's why most of the Korean especially singles know how to cook this easy dish.

Jeonju is famous for this dish, and it's my first time tasting spicy Kongnamul Gukbap. The taste and flavors for both spicy and non-spicy ones just tasted perfect.  

Asparaginic acid found in soybeans can help to break down alcohol, which is good in curing hangover. It's also rich in Vitamin C and it does wonders to ease cold symptoms by adding generous red chili powder to it. 

Photo tells a thousand words! She didn't want to waste
a drop of soup because it's so delicious...

I'm amazed to read that it also enhances oxygen supply to the brain, therefore it aids the brain development and boasts the brain function. I think I  should learn how to cook this especially my 2 kiddos are having exams now.

11. BudaeJjigae (부대찌개)

Sinchon 18 Beonji Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) | meheartsoul.blogspot.com
Korean Army Stew - 7,000 / person

Budae Jjigae is one of Korea’s leading fusion dishes and has a relatively short history.  This dish also embodies  the memories of the Korean War.  They made this dish by combining leftover meat such as Spam and sausages  discarded from U.S. Army bases with others available ingredients... during famine years of the war.

12. Hanjeongsik (한정식)

Samcheonggak (삼청각) Korean table d'hote - ₩45,000 / person

Hanjeongsik is a full-course Korean meal with an array of savory side dishes. The most lavish of hanjeongsik traditional originated with the banquets served in the royal palaces or the homes of aristocrats. 

Usually the course starts with a cold appetizer and gruel, and the main dishes include dishes mixed with seasoning either grilled, boiled, steamed, fried, or salted. For our Yuha Sura set, they served makgeolli and after meal with Sikhye (traditional sweet rice punch) and desserts.

If you visit Korea, do try Hanjeongsik meal (at least once) to enjoy tantalizing and appetizing  authentic taste of Korean cuisine. 

13. Grilled Deodeokbap (더덕구이정식)
 
 Tables d'hote with Grilled Deodeokbap (더덕구이정식) - 17,000 / person.

Wild deodeok (bellflower root) grows on dewdrops in the mountain and rich in fiber. It's referred as "Sasam(ginseng grown on the sand)" as it smells and tastes a bit bitter like ginseng or "mountain meat" because of the chewy texture. 

I would highly recommend this restaurant because this grilled deodeok with gochujang is so fragrant and awesome taste. My hubby likes it too and even brought my kids to dine when there again.

14. Saengseon Gui (생선구이)


Godeungeo-gui (고등어 구이) is one of the most popular grilled fish dishes in Korea. It was originated in the remote valley of Andong. M ackerel merchants salted the fish to keep them from spoiling because it took at least two days to deliver fish through narrow mountain road. 

Variety of seasonal fish caught on the Korea Peninsula...

Surprisingly, the salted mackerel tasted much better than raw fish when grilled. It's because combination of the salt and enzymes produced right before decomposition. As the result Andong Grilled Mackerel was born.


15. Galchi Jorim (갈치조림)

괸당네 갈치요리집 Braised Cutlass / Hairtail Fish.

We randomly went to restaurant near Chilsimni Food Street and asked for the same dish that the other table next to us because it looked so tempting. Indeed it's lip smacking delicious with sweet white radish, potato and lean fish meat permeated with spicy sauce.

On our 3rd trip, my Korean friend brought me to Namdaemun Cutlass Fish Alley. Still didn't realise that it's the same dish until I ate it. I told my friend that we didn't know that Seoul also selling hairtail fish and we thought it's only available in Jeju. My friend only knew that this alley has many restaurants serving this for more than 20 over years. But his friend confirmed that what we had in Jeju was indeed the same.
 
16. Bibim Naengmyeon (비빔냉면)

 Nature Kitchen Buffet (자연별곡) Spicy Mixed Buckwheat Noddle.

Among of many varitions of Bibim Naengmyeon, Hamheung Naengmyeon topped with hwe (fresh sashimi fish) is the most famous. Stringy noddles matches perfectly with spicy seasoned fish and best taste with vinegar and mustard sauce.

17. Ramyeon (라면)

55 Beonji Ramen (55번지라면) Sundubu Ramen / Ojjam Ramen /
Baekpong Ramen - ₩7,700 to ₩8,800.

This restaurant cooked instant noodle with seafoods, vegetables, tofu, beansprouts, and the taste was superb. I would call them 'fancy ramyeon' because it's like preparing a normal dish instead of...  

quick and simple instant cup noodle that we'd at convinient store in Korea.

Our first time preparing and eating Ramyeon at Convenience Store
because it's snowing and no restaurant near MBC Chuncheon.

Bonus: Below are some of the most well-known Chinese-Korean menu that mostly available at every Chinese restaurant in Korea. These are foods derived from Chinese cuisine but the flavor were adjusted to suit locals taste buds.

18. Jjamppong (짬뽕)

Kkongsimyeongwan (꽁시면관) Korean spicy seafood noodle soup - ₩8,000

Red spicy seafood or pork-based broth flavored with chili powder, onions, garlic, Korean zucchini, carrots, cabbages, squid, mussels, and mixed with noodle. It's usually comes in big portion, and if you're a small eater it's good for two to share.

19. Jjajangmyeon (짜장면 / 짜장)

 Jjajangbap is just another variation by swaping noodle with rice.

This noodle dish topped with a sweet thick black bean sauce made of chunjang, diced pork and cucumber and egg. The dish is usually served with danmuji (yellow pickled radish).
In Korea, if a man received gift on Valentine's Day or lady not receiving the gift on White Day, they will order jjajangmyeon, sit down and swallow their sorrows of being single. Aahhh~ that's so sad~!
  
20. Tangsuyuk (탕수육)

Kkongsimyeongwan (꽁시면관) Sweet and Sour Pork - ₩16,000
 
Tangsuyuk is savory bite-size meat (pork / beef / chicken) dish with sweet and sour sauce which is typically made by boiling vinegar, sugar, and water, with variety of fruits and vegetables like carrot, cucumber, onion, wood ear mushroom, and pineapple. Starch slurry is used to thicken the sauce.

보기 좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다 = What looks good tastes good~!

In fact the list will go on and on because there are many more unique delicacies. I like to visit Korean Buffet Restaurants because they do serve a lot of Korean signature food like bossam, jokbal, bulgogi, galbijjim, gujolpan, traditional desserts and drinks... and I can satisfy my cravings at one go. *Ups I'm salivating*

Will introduce Korean Street food, desserts and drinks in the next post! 

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