Saturday, October 14, 2017

Korean Food

There's no excuse for going hungry in Korea.  We've been living off of Korean food for over a week and have loved it.  Lots of rice, vegetables, meat and plenty of kimchi.

Overall, eating out in a restaurant is pretty inexpensive.  And yummy street food is even cheaper.

Most menus here are only in Korean but some have pictures that allow you to point.  When you go to a restaurant you will be given cold water for free.  Korean chopsticks are metal but most places will bring you a fork if you need one.  The best thing about Korean restaurants is that you will not be bothered by a waiter or waitress.  Every table has a call button that you press when you want a server to come over.  Otherwise they will leave you alone.  Why don't we have these everywhere?

Every meal comes with banchan which are tasty small side dishes that you are given for free.  They are placed in the centre of the table for sharing and they come with unlimited refills.  At a minimum you get two but some places give up to six or eight different items.

Kimchi at the street market
In Korea, a meal isn't a meal without kimchi which is cabbage fermented in a brine of salt, ginger, garlic, scallions and chilli pepper.  Besides cabbage kimchi there's also radish and cucumber kimchi.  The average South Korean eats 18 kg (40 lbs) of kimchi every year.  Kimchi was included on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

At traditional restaurants is where you'll get Korean BBQ where meats are cooked on a grill in the centre of the table.  The meat is cooked and then scissors are used to cut in to smaller pieces.  You put the meat on a lettuce leaf or a perilla leaf, with thin sliced garlic, gochujang (chilli pepper paste), onion in sesame oil, and kimchi.  Kind of like Korean fajitas.

Bulgogi is marinated beef that is sliced thin or shredded.

Galbi are pork or beef ribs.

Samgyeopsal is pork belly.  The best is the Jeju black pork version.

Mandu are steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried dumplings.

Jajangmyeon are fried noodles with black bean sauce.

Kimbap is the sandwich of Korea.  It is seaweed wrapped around rice and various ingredients like egg, carrots, radish, cucumber, plus either ham, cheese, tuna, or bulgogi.

Bibimbap is rice topped with an egg, veggies, and gochujang.  It is served in a bowl, mixed together and eaten with a spoon.  Dolsot bibimbap  is served in a warm stone  bowl with a raw egg that cooks against the sides of the bowl.

Jjigae is a thick soup or stew that is often served in a boiling bowl or pot at the table.

Gochujang jjigae is chilli pepper paste soup.
Budae jjigae

Kimchi jjigae is kimchi stew with pork or tofu added.

Sundubu jjigae is soft tofu stew and a raw egg is added at the table to the boiling bowl.

Budae jjigae is "army base stew" that contains Spam and instant ramen noodles.

Tteokbokki is the ultimate street food.  It is a finger-sized sliced rice cake and fish cakes served in chilli pepper sauce.

Japchae is a noodle dish with beef and vegetables marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil.

Soju is a clear distilled drink made from rice, wheat or barley.  The alcohol content can range from 16,8% to +50%.  You can sip it or do shots.  Not quite slivovice but good.

You might not think of fried chicken as Korean food but there is nothing better than Korean fried chicken.  Oh so good and never greasy.  It is served with mu which is a sour pickled white radish that's been cut into cubes.

Donkatsu is a Japanese dish but can be found in many Korean restaurants.  It is a deep-fried pork cutlet.  Basically Korean řízek.

Jeon are savoury pancakes made from a wheat-based flour then then fried.  There are many different varieties.

Pajeon are made by adding long strips of spring onion to the mix.

Patbingsu is shaved ice with sweet red beans and condensed milk.  Granola and ice cream are added along with fruit.

I did try the raw octopus in Busan.  It was fine but no where near the top of the list of my favourite Korean foods.

In Gangnam we stumbled across a Czech pub but didn't try it.

There are a couple of places in Brno that have Korean food.  I'll need to give them a try because I'm already missing my daily serving of kimchi.  

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