I’ve had many types of Korean foods in California because my hometown has a lot of Korean restaurants, and my roommate’s mom always offered us delicious Korean home cooking. Before I came to Korea, my favorites were 잡채 (japchae), 계란찜 (gyeran jjim), 닭도리탕 (dakdoritang), 만두 (mandu), and 갈비 (galbi)… oh the list could get long. Is it obvious that I’m sort of a foodaholic, and do you suspect that maybe I decided to come to Korea just for the food? hehehe… but hey~~ don’t judge. Don’t you think food is necessary for mental and physical health? I can’t live in a country with a cuisine that I can’t eat everyday. SoCal still wins with the variety of food available, but I am glad that I chose Korea for the food (along with other important reasons!).
Here are some new Korean food encounters that I’d like to share:
1. 닭갈비 (dak-galbi)- chicken, vegetables (cabbage, carrots, potatoes, etc.) and dduk (Korean rice cake) stir-fried in a spicy sauce with a big flat pan. The workers usually come to your table to cook for you, so we just have to wait patiently and try to hold in our drool until it gets cooked. It’s complete when you add rice and cheese at the end to make fried rice.
2. 호떡 (hotteok)- fluffy pancake looking things that are usually filled with cinnamon sugar. The southern areas like Busan and Daegu are known for their 씨앗호떡 which is the same thing but with more nuts inside. The one I got had pumpkin seeds and peanuts.
3. 생막걸리 (saeng-makgeolli)- I’ve tried makegolli outside Korea, and they tasted pretty bad. I’m guessing it’s because they have to import it, and that ruins the taste. In Korea, it’s delicious! A milky sweet alcoholic drink made from rice and wheat. It is delicious when it is mixed with cider (similar to Sprite). I always like to drink it with Korean pancakes (전).
The hit and miss- Depending on the place and time, it’s sometimes delicious, sometimes not.
2. 계란빵 (gyeran bbang)- Sweet muffin/bread topped with fried egg. This one is also one that has to be fresh. When it is not, the egg gets hard 😦 Sorry forgot to take a picture!
3. 순대 (soondae)- Cow or pig intestines filled with some ingredients. Usually the clear noodles? I’m not a big fan of the taste of all intestines, so it needs to be flavored well for it to taste good!
I will not eat this by choice
1. 번데기 (beondegi)- Is it an insect? Yes it is. Often served as a side dish for seafood. Also sold in a can in supermarkets. One of my Korean friends love it, so I built up my courage and took a bite. The skin popped inside my mouth. The insides tasted like potatoes or beans. But this is not delicious. It feels like there’s not that much flavor to it. I can eat it if someone asks me, but no… dislike…
Don’t want to end this blog post with a disturbing picture… so here’s a picture of another delicious meal!
It is your homework to figure out what this Korean food is. This meal is more common in Busan and Daegu.