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K-Food: Let’s Talk About Korean Food (Part 1)
JEYOOK BOKEUM (PORK KIMCHI STIR FRY)
KIMCHI BOKKEUMPAP (FRIED RICE)
If you hear the word kimchi, what comes first to your mind is Korea. Yes, you’re definitely right; kimchi is the best known food in Korea and many people believe it is one of the healthiest foods ever. Most of Korean meal comes with a kimchi. They incorporated kimchi also with their main course like kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), kimchi bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice), jeyook bokeum (pork kimchi stir fry) and kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) to name a few. Regardless of its reputation for being spicy most people usually develop a taste for it. Honestly, I didn’t like kimchi the first time I tried; the taste is awful to me but because I usually eat with my Korean officemates and they keep teasing me all the time, in just few weeks I was able to love kimchi and it became a daily habit to me like with Koreans. Like other foreigners who usually longing for it after returning to their home country, it came to a point that I am craving for it if I don’t eat kimchi. Nowadays, kimchi is available in countries with Korean communities.
According to my Korean friends, kimchi plays a very important part of the dietary life of most if not all Koreans. They eat everyday in every meal without being fed up and I can attest to that with my yearlong of stay in Korea. Something could be missing on the table without a kimchi. Having meals without kimchi is a serious problem for Koreans especially for the old ones. Now kimchi getting its niche around the globe and becoming more and more popular among foreigners and that include me.
Bibimpap is another healthy food being served in a Korean table. I usually prefer to have this one most of the time during meal because it really helps me to maintain my healthy habit as I don’t like my kidney stone to reoccur again. It is foreigner friendly food though. The dish usually served in a small amount of grilled meat or beef, an array of vegetables and sunny side up egg atop of white or brown rice then mixed with gochuchang (Korean red pepper paste) or sometimes they have a different type of marinade that usually enhance the taste of the dish. By the way, there are many version of this Korean dish; it can be just the standard one or being served in a hot stone bowl which I found to be the best bibimpap. I am lucky that I got to try a lot of this version because I travelled a lot as part of my job from different places in Korea. Jeonju bibimpap gain its name as the most popular version. What is best for the dish is that anyone can prepare it. Don’t be afraid as this is easy as you are making your vegetable salad, I usually do the dish sometimes during weekends. You can even experiment; have your own version.
If you love sushi roll then you may like kimbap too. Kimbap is another favorite Korean food under my list. There are lots of variations of kimbap as what bibimpap had. The flavor comes from sesame oil and individually seasoned meats and vegetables. Rice is the most basic component and you can find many different types of filling ranging from eggs, bacon, fish, meat and vegetables that can be raw or roasted. It is rolled in sheets of dried laver seaweed.
Jeyook Bokeum (Pork Kimchi Stir Fry)
The dish is for meat lovers, this one undoubtedly delicious. It is actually a combination of stirred fried kimchi and marinated sliced pork loin or belly and Korean red pepper paste (gochuchang) with sesame oil and other spices. Joyook bokeum is usually served as appetizer while drinking alcohol. Soju is the most popular alcohol in Korea (Koreans love to drink after work, I don’t know the reason behind but it seems part of their custom). Jayook bokeum is also a great meal with rice along with different side dishes.
Kimchi Bokkeumpap (Fried Rice)
Another Korean dish that is certainly tasty. It is actually similar with the Chinese fried rice only that it didn’t contain scrambled egg but a sunny side up instead that is usually place on top. Traditional kimchi bokkeumpap is usually cooked with leftover rice, kimchi that is starting to overripe, vegetables and spices. Another ingredient that is commonly found on the dish is pork or spam. Many variations depending on personal preference are also available like kimchi bokkeumbap with chicken, beef, bacon, tuna, shrimp or mushroom.