South Koreans prioritize the way they cook their food. Korean dishes often use native spices for seasoning. The basic ingredients are rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, and meat, like most Asian countries. Traditional Korean meals are also famous for their distinctive presentation. In the past, traditional Korean food was only enjoyed by the royal family, but now it can be enjoyed by anyone. Most Korean cuisine is spicy, as most dishes have chili powder in them. Below are some traditional Korean foods that are a favorite by the Korean society:
Kimchi is spicy pickled vegetables that have undergone a process of fermentation. There are different varieties of kimchi, depending on where it is made. The vegetables used most often for kimchi are napa cabbage, cucumber, and radish. In Korea, kimchi is often served during the winter. Kimchi is served as a side dish or is used as an ingredient to make other Korean dishes such as kimchi stew, kimchi pancakes, kimchi soup and kimchi fried rice. Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul documents the history of the 187 variations of kimchi.
This is a traditional dish typical of Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong. Bibimbap, literally “mixed rice”, is a bowl of rice with toppings like vegetables, beef, eggs and spicy sauce (gochujang). It is sometimes served in a hot stone bowl, called dolsot bibimbap. The heat that comes from the stone bowl cooks the raw egg placed in the dish, along with making the rice crispy.
Japchae is vermicelli mixed with various vegetables and beef. The food is eaten as a side dish, especially at special celebrations. The vegetables are seasoned with garlic, soy sauce and sugar, then fried in sesame oil with the beef. Then the vegetables and beef are mixed in with the boiled vermicelli. After that, everything is stirred together with sesame oil, pepper, and sprinkled with sesame.
- Tteok (Rice Cake)
Tteok is made from glutinous rice flour, mixed with plain rice flour. This rice cake is synonymous with celebrations, such as weddings and birthdays. One of the variants is Tteokbokki or spicy rice cakes. Ppong Da Bong is a famous tea shop in the Insadong area that is known for their tteok.
This cake is a favorite snack in Korea, and is especially popular in the winter. Bungeoppang is made from wheat flour dough that is molded into the shape of a fish, then filled with a sweet red bean paste. There are many variations of bungeoppang such as bungeoppang, mini-bungeoppang and bungeoppang filled with jam. Many Koreans believe that the way a person eats bungeoppang shows his personality. People who eat bungeoppang beginning with the head are usually optimistic and excited. Meanwhile, those who begin with the tail are usually sensitive, romantic, and fashionable.
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