Eating in Korea
Learning How to Prepare Kimchi
When eating in Korea, kimchi is a must. You will see it served at every meal. Besides kimchi, it is common to see many other side dishes served with your main meal. While in Korea, I had the opportunity to try various local dishes. I also had the opportunity to see how kimchi was made at a kimchi factory in Icheon. Although the instructions seemed straightforward, the actual preparation is not that easy. It was definitely not easy to wrap the cabbage up nicely after spreading on the specially prepared paste.
This include bibimbap, which is made up of rice and many other ingredients like egg, vegetables and also meat. Before you start eating, you will need to "mix" everything up. Hence the name bibimbap which means "mixed rice". Besides the delicious taste, the dish also looks very colourful and appealing due to the variety of ingredients.
Learning How to Make Kimchi
Samgyetang: Ginseng Chicken Soup
Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is a popular Korean dish particularly during summer. Koreans eat this due to its high nutrients. You may also add insamju (ginseng wine) for additional flavouring, according to your taste. To make samgyetang, the chicken is stuffed with items like glutinous rice and then boiled with herbs like ginseng.
Eating Grilled Meat in Korea
Galbi or Samgyupsal: Grilled Meat
Grilled meat is a popular meal here. Many types of meat can be used. If short ribs is used, it is called kalbi. If pork belly is used, it is called samgyupsal. Both beef and pork can be used. Of the two, beef is more expensive. After the meat is thoroughly cooked, we wrapped the meat in lettuce leaf with some rice and some sauce. You may also include kimchi if you wish to.
Seafood Hotpot or Steamboat
Seafood in Korea
In Korea, Seafood steamboat is also easily found particularly in cities close to the port and on Jeju Island. At Daepohang Fish Market, we also spotted some weird looking sea creatures like the reddish mongeh (forgive me if it’s spelt wrongly…). We also tried something unique. It was sundae (or soondae), which is glutinous rice stuffed into squid. It is then sliced thinly and grilled. Very, very delicious! It costs 5000 won for one serving.
A weird-looking Seafood: Mongeh
Street Food and Snacks
Along the road in Myeongdong, there were also many stalls selling local snacks such as grilled cuttlefish. It is crunchy and not too hard to chew. I also tried kimbap (which is Korea’s version of sushi) which I felt was OK only. But that was just one attempt so to be fair I need to try it again. Another famous snack is tteokpoki (rice cakes in hot sauce) which I did not have the chance to taste. Instead, we bought a “long ice cream” to stave of the hot summer heat. For such a “long” ice cream, it cost us 1500 won. Definitely worth every won!
Seaweed is also available widely and I even found 7 different flavours such as wasabi and barbecue flavored ones. It can be eaten just like that or can also be used to cook seaweed soup.
Preparing Squid filled with glutinous rice (Sundae) at Daepohang Fish Market
Long Ice Cream at Myeongdong Street
Korean Liquor: Soju and Makgeolli
Besides food, we also did not forget to sample Korea’s offering of liquor. On our short trip we sampled some ginseng wine, makgeolli and soju. The ginseng wine smelt strongly of ginseng and was definitely very memorable. Between makgeolli and soju, I preferred makgeolli. I am not a huge fan of alcohol but I decided to try some as I have always seen people drinking soju in Korean dramas. Well, no harm in trying some I guess as long as you are of legal age! Do take note that soju has a high alcohol content of about 20%.
Teahouses at Insadong: The Next Visit
Due to time constraints, we also did not have the chance to try out Korea’s many tea houses, particularly those in the Insadong area. If I visit again, I will definitely put it at the top of my must-dos. Overall, it was definitely not cheap to eat out in Korea, particularly compared to other Asian cities like Bangkok. Nevertheless, there is a large variety of food to try. There is still a lot more Korean food which I have not tried yet. I hope to visit again someday to try more. gain someday to try more.
More Links on Korea
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