Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Good Things in Korea (Food)

Sometimes, I feel like my posts are normally very negative toward Korea (i.e. my students are crazy or stupid, or someone made some stupid English language mistake, etc.)

But, those are not the only things going on in Korea.  So, here is a list of positive things about Korea.

Koreans make some kick-ass food.

Here are some examples (in no particular order):
1)  Live (well freshly-killed) Octopus Tentacles

You need to grab these things with your chopsticks (kind of difficult because they use their suckers to really hold on to the plate) and dip them in sesame seed oil.  Delicious!  Note: some people eat the whole octopus (i.e. not freshly killed (i.e. not killed (i.e. alive))), but I haven't done that.

2) Beon-daegi (Silkworm Pupa (maybe larva (it is hard to tell)))
File:Silkworm snack.jpg

The above kind is the street vendor version.  It smells like pee to me.  But, the kind served in sashimi restaurants is delicious.  It tastes and looks a little bit like a nut.  I almost made James puke after letting him eat them for 10 minutes before finally telling him what they were.  His gagging was hilarious.  I wish I had taken a picture.

3) Kimchi


This quintessential Korean food is Chinese cabbage mixed with salt, spicy pepper flakes, garlic, fermented (i.e. old shrimp), and sometimes other things depending on the recipe.  There are other types of Kimchi.  But, this type especially is aged well which promotes great bacteria for your stomach.  If you are health conscious, you should keep some in your refrigerator, but not too much because it can stink up your whole house.

4) Pat-bing-su

I mentioned this one in a recent post, but I will show it again because it is one of my summer favorites.

File:Korean shaved ice-Patbingsu-Nokcha bingsu-Cherry tomatoes.jpg

팥 (Pat) in Korean is just a sweet red bean that is used in a variety of Korean desserts.  The idea of eating beans for dessert takes a little bit to get used to.  But, the taste is fantastic.  And, it is cold which is very nice.

5)  Meat (Galbi, Bulgogi, Bossam)

File:Korean.food-Galbi-03.jpg     File:Korean barbeque-beef-16.jpg     File:Korean.food-Bossam-02.jpg

Koreans do a very good job with meat.  However, they are reluctant to use it as the main part of the meal.  But, I do whatever I want and play the stupid foreigner card because it's meat and it's delicious.

6) Ssamjang

                                    File:Korean condiment-Ssamjang-01.jpg

Ssamjang is a soy bean-based paste mixed with peppers, sesame seed oil, onions, garlic, green onions, and possible other things.  It comes in not spicy to very spicy varieties.  It is the best meat or vegetable condiment of all time.  I might consider putting it on a hamburger as the sauce.  It is delicious.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my meandering through one category of good things in Korea.  I am sure I will add some more in the future.

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