Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking for Korean Language Blogs?

There are a wide variety of blogs on the web focusing on Korean food. Some of them are in English, but the great majority are in Korean. That is why I recommend that you seek out Korean language blogs in addition to the English blogs you may visit. 

Naver's Opencast enables you to get a look at the type of foods presented on various blogs. Each search result is represented as a card with a set of images displayed on that blog. Each card gives you a general feel for the blogger's style and palate regarding food. 

I have already introduced Naver KitchenNaver's Recipe SmartFinder (here), Daum Mizcook, and Rimi ( on previous posts. You may also search these sites for blogs by entering the name of a specific food/recipe/ingredient in the search box. 

Posted by tastingkorea

Looking for a Recipe by Ingredient?

There is a new feature on Naver, a Korean search engine, that enables you to find recipes by ingredient. It is called the "Recipe SmartFinder" ("레시피 스마트파인더") and allows you to search recipes by clicking on the ingredient. For example, if you want to find a chicken recipe, just click on "닭고기" (chicken) and on the right pane, a gallery of chicken recipes will appear. You can further narrow your search by clicking on other ingredients that you want to include such as potatoes. Just click on "감자" (potatoes) and a gallery of recipes with chicken and potatoes will appear. You can continue this process if you wish, further narrowing down your search, by clicking on additional ingredients. At any time, you may remove an ingredient by clicking on it again or the 'x' next to it. Once you have selected the ingredients you want to include, you may click on any recipe in the search results to view it.

You may also search recipes by ingredient on Daum Mizcook and Rimi's Recipe Finder ( by entering ingredients into the search box.

Posted by tastingkorea

Monday, November 28, 2011

Royal Court Cuisine

Gujeolpan (구절판), front, and Shinseonllo (신선로), back

Royal court cuisine (궁중 음식, 'goongjoong eumshik') is the most developed form of traditional Korean cuisine and has had a lot of influence on Korean food today (Korean Cultural Heritage Administration). Royal court cuisine refers to the food eaten by Korean royalty primarily during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). This cuisine certainly existed before, but records of royal cuisine from earlier dynasties were more vague, noting the large number of dishes without being too specific about their names (Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine). Of course, the cuisine evolved significantly throughout this period of more than 500 years (Jeonbuk Food Culture Plaza). Royal court cuisine of the Joseon Dynasty tends to be more subtly seasoned, "less salty and spicy, than food of the previous dynasties and the food we eat today" (Korean Cultural Heritage Administration). It requires more elaborate preparation than the traditional Korean food we normally eat. There were many servants employed in the creation of the royal table ("Who Made Royal Cuisines?", Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine). As the food was prepared for Korean royalty and their guests, there was much greater effort in presenting meals in terms of the styling of individual dishes, table setting, etc. The king had access to all the food available within Korea through his position and resources, so there was an abundance of dishes presented at each meal ( "The King's Table", EBS Channel).

Royal cuisine can be divided into several categories*:

1. Daily meals (일상식, 'eil-sahng-shik')

2. Meals for receiving guests (영접식, 'young-juhp-shik')

3. Food for memorial ceremonies (제례식, 'jeh-ryeh-shik')

4. Food for official ceremonies of the court like weddings, ascensions to the throne, and promotions of its members (가례식, 'gah-rye-shik')

5. Feasts for receiving foreign dignitaries (연향식, 'yuhn-hyang-shik').

*Translation of categories provided by Tasting Korea

Daily meals were prepared for the king and his family. The king's meal is referred to as the 'sura' (수라) and a table set with sura is known as the 'surasang' (수라상) (Institute of Royal Korean Cuisine). According to the Institute, "Members of royal families did not share a table. Should there be two people dining together, they were served at separate tables and sat side by side. Three tables were prepared for each person: wonban, sowanban and chaeksangban.

At a meal prepared for a king, twelve different side dishes were served. However, the number of dishes actually placed on a table was much more. Additional dishes included two types of cooked rice (plain rice and rice mixed with red beans), two types of soups, three types of kimchi (cabbage kimchi, kkakdugi and water kimchi), two types of stew (bean paste stew and salted fish stew), three types of jang (soy sauce, seasoned soy sauce and seasoned chili paste) and one steamed dish. In principle, the ingredients and cooking methods should not overlap among dishes prepared for surasang.

The twelve side dishes, served on small plates, consisted of nine different dishes (cooked vegetables, fresh vegetables, chilled roasted meat or fish, boiled-down food, pickled vegetables, dried meat or fish, salted fish, pan-fried vegetables, and slices of boiled beef) and three special side dishes (poached eggs, sashimi, and warm roasted meat or fish). The surasang of today has been handed down orally by royal servants and royal descendents of the late Joseon Dynasty; therefore, it may not be representative of the entire Joseon Period. Literature on daily foods enjoyed in the royal court is much more scarce than that on banquet foods. The only literature that elaborates on royal daily foods is Wonhangeulmyojeongriuigwe (a record of protocols) (1795). According to its records, there were meals prepared with only seven or ten side dishes."

According to the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, court ladies or goongnyeo (궁녀) were assigned the task of preparing the surasang (수라상) for regular meals ("Who Made Royal Cuisines?"). There was a "hierarchy of court ladies", ranked on age and experience, from the four year old na-in (나인) to a fifth-level sangung (상궁) (Institute). "For royal banquets, male chefs called daeryeong suksu [대령숙수] prepared the meals at sukseolso [숙설소], a kitchen built in a temporary house (Institute)." Due to the physical demands of the job such as "butchering an ox and boiling it in an enormous pot", men were deemed more suitable for the task and assigned to this job (Institute).

Two na-in, Jang Geum and Geum Young, setting the surasang for a feast

a brief history of the meals eaten by the kings of Joseon Dynasty and their preparation

Introduces Korean royal cuisine and the restaurant Pilkyungjae (필경제), a restaurant housed in a traditional home of the Joseon Dynasty, the home of descendants of King Sejong, the inventor of the Korean language. Lee Byung Mu, a descendant of the king, decided to open this restaurant to share the tradition of Korean royal cuisine with the rest of the world. Features sinseonllo (신선로), a hot pot made of meatballs and a variety of vegetables and gujeolpan (구절판, 'gue-jeol-pahn'), a dish with assorted sliced meats and vegetables served with thin wheat wraps.

Introduces "Goongyeon" (궁연), a restaurant that tries to "modernize royal banquet dishes while adhering to tradition." Features house dishes like saseul juk (kebabs made of bass fillets and ground beef), ginseng fries wrapped in dates (대추말이 수담튀김, 'daechumari suedahm tiigim'), daeha jjim (대하찜, a prawn salad made of pine nuts, chestnuts, cucumbers, and other vegetables with a mustard sauce). Describes the essence of Korean royal cuisine.

(2011 Presentation - Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine)

Introduces the purveyor of royal court cuisine to modern day Koreans, Han Bok-Ryeoh, and honors her and the work she has done to spread greater awareness of the cuisine to the Korean public. Reveals how the tradition was transmitted through the generations from a veteran court lady of the last king and finally to Han. Illustrates the beauty and majesty of royal court cuisine

(2011 Presentation - Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine)

Han explains how this cuisine became designated as an important intangible cultural heritage. This video goes into greater detail about how it was passed down from person to person. The food set in front of the guest conveyed his social standing and position. Royal court cuisine is the true heart of Korean cuisine. Highlights the spirit of this tradition, the course of meals presented to the king throughout the day, and the ceremonies held at the palace.

Preparation of the Surasang (Dae Jang Geum)

As president of the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, Han Bok-Ryeoh was instrumental in the development of the royal court cuisine featured in the popular Korean drama series, Dae Jang Geum ("대장금", 'The Great Jang Geum") or "Jewel in the Palace". Han was directly responsible for the food direction of the show, determining which dishes to feature on an episode after reading the script (Han Bok-Ryeoh, fncast interview). She and her staff at the Institute created the dishes that were seen on that show (Han). Due to the popularity of the series in several Asian countries and Iran, there developed a greater interest in Korean food, starting a boon in the demand for Korean cuisine in places like Hong Kong (The Young Reporter, Dawning Leung Hoi-ching) and Japan (allBusiness, Laura Miller, p. 6). Korean restaurants in these areas enjoyed a greater popularity due to this phenomenon.

"Dae Jang Geum - Vol. 1" DVD (Amazon)
Free streaming at IMDB

To learn more about the food featured in this series, you may refer to the following set of instructional dvd's.

"Royal Court Cuisine from the Kitchen of Jewel in the Palace
with Yang Mikyung" (Korean)
DVD Set via Yes24.

This set features "more than 100 recipes" from the series (Yes24). Hosted by Yang Mi Kyung, the actress who played the mentor to the lead character, Seo Jang Geum, the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty, the recipes have been "adapted for the taste and convenience of the modern viewer" (Yes24).

For more information about Korean royal court cuisine, you may refer to the books published by the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine or go to their site and Jeonbuk Food Culture Plaza for additional reading. For more images of royal cuisine, you may refer to "궁중요리" by 요리를 배우는 사람들 and Timespace's image gallery. For recipes, you may refer to Daum 미즈쿡's section on 궁중요리. There is also a popular Korean language blog by Calla called 전통떡으로 대박난엄마 that focuses on traditional Korean cuisine with a few recipes on royal cuisine.

친절판 정과 or Hospitality Platter of Jungwa via 전통떡으로 대박난엄마

정과 or jungwa (pronounced 'jung-gwa',
fruits reduced in honey or sugar water)
친절판 ('chin-jeol-pahn', 'hospitality platter')

궁중 떡볶이 or Sauteed Royal Court Rice Cakes via Rimi
궁중 - Royal Court ; 떡볶이 - Sauteed Rice Cakes

via 사랑언덕

갈비찜 - Braised Beef Ribs

via 추억은 영원히

골동면- 'goel-doeng-myeon'

Haepari Naengche or 해파리 냉채 via Epicurious Travels
a modern take on the royal dish

Posted by tastingkorea

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Traditional Korean Cuisine

Han Style - Chapter on Hansik

In Korea, traditional Korean food is referred to as '한식' or hansik (pronounced 'hahn-shik'). According to Jang Eun-ju, a cuisine researcher at Han Style, "Hansik has developed in parallel with the changes of the Korean history and culture. Hansik is not only nutritious but also provides the joy of eating. And so, it is said that hansik is food that satisfies not only the mouth but the five senses, i.e. the senses of touch, sight, smell, taste and sound. The different color ingredients used to cook Korean foods satisfy the eyes. Korean foods taste delicious and smell good. Foods cooked using many different ingredients make interesting sounds when eating. The spoon and chopsticks allow for a delicate sense of touch. In other words, one can enjoy the beautiful colors and shapes of the dishes with their eyes and various tastes with their nose and mouth. Hansik allows diners to enjoy the pleasant sizzling sound when cooking bulgogi. It also provides diners with pleasant experiences that satisfy their sense of touch with lettuce wrapped rice."

an introduction to traditional Korean dishes, including royal court cuisine

Han Style - Cover

The Essence of Han Style

Cathlyn's Korean Food Challenge
Episode 7: Hansik Stories (Part 1)
An introduction to the heart of Korean cuisine

According to Han Style, the key principles of Korean cooking are/were*:

1. Main and side dishes were developed separately.

2. Spices and seasonings are used with fine detail, but in most cases, used similarly for each dish. (ie. There is a consistency to the way each dish is seasoned. - Tasting Korea)

3. Cut almost all ingredients beforehand as the cooking techniques are complicated.

4. The types of food are developed in a diverse manner according to their table setting.

5. There should be greater emphasis on the taste rather than the form of a dish.

* Translation of principles provided by Tasting Korea

Korean food can be divided into five categories (Han Style):

1. Royal Court Cuisine (궁중 음식)
2. Regional Foods (향토 음식)
3. Seasonal Foods (시절 음식)
4. Food for Special Occasions (의례 음식)
5. Buddhist Temple Cuisine (사찰 음식)

For a greater overview of traditional Korean cuisine, read "About Hansik" at Han Style and the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine's articles on the "Overview of Korean Food" and "Seasonings and Style of Korean Food" as well as "Special Food for Special Occasions" and other articles in its series on "Traditional Korean Food Culture". A more extensive exploration of the history and culture of Korean traditional cuisine can be found in the "Food Culture" section of the Jeonbuk Food Culture Plaza site.

Seasonings Used in Korean Food

Chef Youngsun Lee explains the seasonal approach in cooking Korean food (Zen Kimchi):

"We are very seasonal. We have four seasons in Korea. So we do follow seasonal food, like, religiously. There are unwritten rules we have to follow as a Korean chefs:
  • Spring — bitter (new sprouts, etc): This will bring our appetites back from the long winter. Also eating new sprouts means getting nature’s force — life, new life in spring — from the new life into our body.
  • Summer — sour (vinegar base, citrus, etc): As the weather gets hot, we loose our [sense of] taste. So by having sour food, it brings our appetites [back] and also keeps our bod[ies] cool and moist.
  • Fall — spicy (hot pepper, etc): Prepare for a long, cold winter. Pepper was introduced to Korea about 300 years ago. Before that, there was not much spicy food. All of our kimchi used be white. [배김치 (bae kimchi) is pickled but not spicy.]
  • Winter — salty (kimchi, pickle, etc): Long-lasting food, such as fermented dishes are served to help in surviving winter. And we use “sweet” to balance all these flavors. But, again, sugar was introduced to Korea about 300 years ago, so before that we used to use honey or fruits for sweetener. Still till these days, we like to use honey or fruits for our sweetener instead of sugar."

(Han Style)

This video focuses on Korean food and its spread to other countries like France, Japan, and the United States as well as the health benefits of Korean cuisine with a focus on the art of making kimchi, fermented bean paste, and soft tofu as well as soft tofu stew. Buddhist temple cuisine and its purpose as well as Korean cuisine's spread to New York in restaurants like Bann are also featured.

("Tourism" section of

A quick and vibrant introduction to Korean cuisine. Introduces the core influences on Korean cuisine and the main types of dishes as well as more extensive coverage of the science and tradition of kimchi and jang (장, a term that refers to a group of sauces comprised of red pepper and soybean paste as well as soy sauce). Korean table settings, food for special occasions/different seasons, and the value of using one's hands in Korean cooking are also featured. A crash introduction to Korean food.

In the following video, watch how ancient Korean cuisine has influenced and shaped the Korean food we know today.

Posted by tastingkorea

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is Authentic Korean Cuisine?

The Institute of Royal Korean Cuisine at Changdeokgung Palace

Those of us who grew up in Korean homes have a good idea of homestyle Korean cooking and often other forms like restaurant fare and street food. But what constitutes authentic Korean cuisine? Discerning what is authentic from what is common may be challenging if we have not been exposed to the traditional forms of Korean food. That is not to say that food cannot be authentic if it is not traditional. According to Seoul Eats, the modern form of patbingsu emerged "after the Korean War and during the US occupation" using the "surplus supplies" from the U.S. army base (except for the red beans).

Being exposed to dishes in all their variations helps one determine the common approach to preparing a dish, but it is also important to study the history of Korean cuisine to understand what is truly authentic. Dishes emerge from a certain time and place and the spirit of the people and culture that inhabited that period of history. Modern Korean cuisine is greatly influenced by the culinary traditions of its past, but is a different creation in itself. The use of industrialized ingredients like commercial soy sauce, daenjang (된장, soy bean paste), and gochujang (고추장, red pepper paste) make it more convenient for modern day Koreans to prepare their own food. Of course, there are Koreans that make their own soy sauce and pastes, but preparing Korean food today is a much different endeavor from before the industrial age with the mass production of these essential ingredients. Food, like other products of culture, evolves with the times and the changing mentality of the people.

Dwaenjang or 된장 via Trifood

So what makes a food authentically Korean if the culture that creates it constantly changes? In order to determine that, one needs to look at the time and place from which a food originates as well as its ingredients and method of preparation. In order for a food to be authentic to a specific place, it needs to originate from there. There needs to be confirmation that the dish originated from that place without any foreign influence. This can be done through genuine historical records (written or oral) or artifacts. The combination of ingredients and the full preparation of those ingredients needs to be directly from that area. So kimchi is Korean although it uses a red chili pepper that may have originated elsewhere. The combination of ingredients (cabbage, red pepper flakes, garlic, etc.) and the method of preparation (kimchi fermentation technique) is original to Korea.

Fermented cabbage dishes do exist in other cultures like Germany where sauerkraut is made. Both kimchi and sauerkraut have cabbage as the main ingredient and use fermentation. However, the combination of ingredients used in kimchi is different from the combination used in sauerkraut. Kimchi uses pepper and garlic, etc. Sauerkraut just uses cabbage and salt. Kimchi and sauerkraut both use salt in the fermentation process, but in kimchi, it is necessary to coat individual leaves with a paste unless one chops them before brining. In sauerkraut, the cabbage is shredded, so it is just enough to mix them into the liquid brine to start fermentation.

The individual ingredients or the methods of preparation used in a dish do not have to be unique, but the combination and how that combination is prepared needs to originate directly from a particular place without any foreign influences. That is why one cannot argue that chicken soup is authentic to one specific place as many cultures raise chickens and use them in soup. It did not originate from one specific place. It originated from many places, so one can say that chicken soup is authentic to all of them. But samgyetang (삼계탕), a Korean soup made of stuffed chicken, rice, and ginseng, etc. is definitely unique to Korea in its combination of ingredients and style of preparation, so it is definitely an authentic Korean recipe. Uniqueness to a particular region makes a dish authentic to it. But authenticity is not about uniqueness, but the way a dish is conceived. Did it originate directly from a culture without foreign influence in terms of its combination of ingredients and the total preparation of those ingredients? Then, it is authentic.

Samgyetang or 삼계탕 Recipe from Top Chef Korea

Can fusion dishes be considered authentic? I suppose one could say that they are authentic to the influences that created them. For example, yakiniku. This is a Korean Japanese version of Korean bbq (Korean-style grilled meats). Is yakiniku Korean? It has a lot of Korean influences and is pretty close to Korean bbq in terms of its ingredients and preparation. However, one cannot deny that there is a slight Japanese influence in its sauce and cut of meat. It is not an authentic Korean or Japanese dish, but a largely Korean dish with Japanese flourishes. Just like mapa dubu is a largely Chinese dish with Korean flourishes. To be authentic to a region, a dish must be authentic in terms of its combination of ingredients and total preparation of those ingredients.

To get a better idea of what is truly authentic to Korean cuisine, you can read the series of articles on "Traditional Korean Food Culture" presented by the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine. I have also written a post, Learning More About the History of Korean Food on the Web, as well as Great Blogs to Teach You About the Culture/Background of Korean Food to highlight some online resources to learn more about the background of Korean food. I have shared offline resources as well in my post Great Books to Learn More About Korean Food Culture.

Posted by tastingkorea

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Koreans Love to Mix It Up

One distinct quality of Korean food is the number of dishes that involve mixing and stirring. You can see this in dishes like bibimbap (비빔밥, 'mixed rice'), bibim mandu (비빔만두, 'mixed dumplings'), and bibim guksu (비빔국수, 'mixed noodles') as well as deopbap (덮밥, 'covered rice') dishes and desserts like patbingsu. Korea is a food culture that loves to mix and stir things up. In fact, bibimbap was once called 골동반 (pronounced 'gohldoengbahn'), represented as 骨同飯 in hanja (Sino-Korean characters), containing the meaning 'to mix in a jumble' according to professor Choi Joon-Shik. The point of mixing it up is to meld the flavors of each ingredient so that the resulting dish brings out the combined and individual flavors of each ingredient (Choi). There is something about this fusion that manifests the collective psyche of Koreans in such a magnificent way. Each ingredient is added for the unique contribution it brings to the flavor of the dish, but then, all ingredients are combined to bring out the collective flavor of the whole (Choi), a wonderful mishmash of different textures and flavors. This fusion of diverse ingredients creates a dynamism that cannot be achieved by individual ingredients alone. It is this complexity of textures and flavors that creates the richness and depth that stimulate and tantalize the tastebuds. It is through this potpourri that one can see the rich and dynamic spirit of Korean people and culture, the sense of oneness or uri (우리, 'us') mentality that is characteristic of the people and the passion that can be seen in many Koreans, our movies, and our dramas. Koreans really love a deep and hearty flavor known as 고소한 맛 (pronounced 'gosohahn maht') and bibim dishes do an excellent job of bringing that out.

Here are some wonderful examples of the mixing that Korean dishes are known for:

Bibim Naengmyeon or 비빔냉면 via 무지개의 달콤한 세상

Bibim Guksu or 비빔국수 via Beyond Kimchee

via One Fork, One Spoon

Bibimbap or 비빔밥 via Eating and Living

(Nalchi Ahl - 'flying fish roe' ; Hwe - 'raw fish')

Posted by tastingkorea

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Korean Food in K-town vs. Korea

Is Korean food in K-town (Koreatown) fully representative of the food one can find in Korea?

The answer is no. No matter how many restaurants you have eaten in K-town, you cannot understand the depth and breadth of Korean cuisine until you actually go and eat in Korea. Having a much larger population (almost 49,000,000) than the select group of Koreans who live in the U.S. (around 2,000,000), Korea has a greater diversity of restaurants and dishes served to the general population. Where in K-town can you find a restaurant specializing and serving only one dish? I recall eating at a small restaurant near Daegu (Korea's third largest city) that served only samgyetang (soup made of chicken stuffed with rice) and accompanying banchan (side dishes) like chicken gizzards, kkaktugi (cubed radish kimchi), etc. It was delicious. Where can you find Korean restaurants specializing in organic food in the U.S.? I remember a restaurant near the mountains of Daegu that served organic vegetables grown on its farm. Those are just two examples of Korean restaurants in one area of Korea that you are not likely to find in the U.S., a country with the largest Korean population overseas outside of China. Korean restaurants overseas cannot afford to have such a specialized focus due to the smaller population of Koreans in those countries.

Of course, eating Korean food as prepared in K-town does give you a good idea of a certain style of food found in Korean family restaurants. Eating Korean bbq or a homestyle meal can give you a good idea of what to expect from such establishments serving those dishes. The bulk of overseas restaurants are family style, catering to the local Korean immigrant/expatriate community. Most Koreans living in the U.S. left Korea before or during the 70's and 80's, so restaurants cater to this demographic who form the majority of their client base. Family restaurants do the best in the Korean community because they appeal to the widest demographic, from young to old, lower to upper class. Since Korean cuisine has not received wide notice outside of the Korean community until recently, restaurants had to make sure they served their Korean base. It was and is a matter of market demand just like with any other business. But one fortunate effect of this is that Korean food is one of the least bastardized cuisines in America. Even so, there is no need to adapt it for the tastes of the mainstream as it has gotten more popular without this modification. As long as Korean food is available and enjoyable for those who seek it, that is all that matters. Quality over quantity.

Now, there could be a greater variety of Korean restaurants in K-town compared to what is available today. But with higher-end restaurants like Dohwa (traditional), Danji (authentic Korean and fusion) and Jungsik (New Korean - Korean with French techniques) and the opening of Kristalbelli (Korean bbq cooked on crystal infrared grills) by J.Y. Park, the Korean music mogul, the Korean food scene is expanding in New York and the rest of America. There are also places like Bibigo where you can create your own bowl of bibimbap on order, serving "fast Korean", Korean food made quickly, but without the downsides commonly associated with fast food. As Korean food becomes better known, perhaps there will be more opportunities for entrepreneurs to open restaurants that go beyond the known standard of Korean bbq or homestyle cooking.


Posted by tastingkorea

Pickling Vegetables in Korean Cuisine

Korean cuisine is notable for its mastery and use of pickling in a wide variety of foods, particularly vegetables. There are two ways to pickle a vegetable in Korean cuisine, depending on how well you want to ferment it. You may not want to ferment it at all, which means that you can prepare it quickly to eat right after. The resulting creation is known as geotjeori or 겉절이 (vegetables that are pickled right before eating).

Kimchi, on the other hand, requires fermentation, so it is important to soak it in brine until the vegetables soften to the desired texture. Beyond Kimchee has an excellent series of posts introducing the background and art of making authentic Korean kimchi (part 1, part 2, and part 3). I like my kimchi to taste fresh and crunchy, so I don't keep it around for too long. Once it has gotten to the point of staleness, it loses its appeal to me as a fresh dish. But once that happens, it can still be a delicious addition to fried dishes like kimchi bokkeumbap (김치 볶음밥, kimchi fried rice) or jeyuk bokkeum (제육볶음, kimchi pork saute). For best flavor, however, it is best to wait until the kimchi goes sour, turning into shin kimchi (신김치, sour kimchi). This also goes quite well in kimchi chigae (김치 찌개, kimchi stew). The tartier taste of shin kimchi makes for a kimchi chigae with a greater tang and deepness than that made with regular kimchi. Korean Food at Home has an excellent post on how to ripen and sour kimchi.

Kimchi or 김치 via Misty Yoon

Kimchi Bokkeumbap (with egg) via My Korean Food

Jeyuk Bokkeum or 제육볶음 via Eating and Living

Tuna Kimchi Stew or 참치 김치 찌개 (Korean) via Naver Kitchen

Tuna Kimchi Stew (English) via Migi's Kitchen

Posted by tastingkorea

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Origin of Buta Kimchi is Jeyuk Bokkum

Buta Kimchi is a Korean-Japanese dish that originates from Jeyuk Bokkeum or 제육볶음 in Korean. Jeyuk means 'pork'. Some bloggers have used 'stirfry' as a translation for 'bokkeum', but I don't like using 'stirfry' as it refers to the traditional Chinese cooking technique of "cutting [food] into small pieces and stirring constantly in a lightly oiled wok or frying pan over high heat (Webster's Dictionary)." Jeyuk Bokkeum does not require constant stirring, but constant attention, so I prefer to use 'saute' as a translation for bokkeum. Jeyuk Bokkeum is also known as Dwaeji Bulgogi (돼지 불고기, 'fire pork' or barbecued pork). "Thinly sliced pork is marinated in a spicy chili pepper paste (gochujang) based sauce typically with lots of fresh garlic and ginger (Eating and Living)."

The red pepper paste not only adds spice, but masks the gamy smell (비린내) of pork. Korean food is really good about masking the 비린내 of meats. You will notice this in Jeyuk Bokkeum as well as other meats like crab and beef, etc.

Posted by tastingkorea

The Origin of Yakiniku is Korean BBQ

Yakiniku/Korean BBQ via Chef Taro

Yakiniku is a popular dish in Japan, but its origins are in Korean BBQ. Korean immigrants started the original form of yakiniku, known as horumon-yaki, by grilling tripe and large intestine. Later on, they added meats used in Korean bbq and called it 'yakiniku'. The Japanese have added their own flourish to this dish, but "it remains close to its Korean roots (Chef Taro)."

Here are the most common meats grilled in Korean bbq:

According to Simon Park of "The Heart of Food", "Samgyeopsal is nothing more than uncured pork belly, sliced thin like bacon but with the rind removed. The name, which translates to “three layered meat”, is a description of the strata of meat and fat that invariably makes up this cut. Typically, it is prepared in the Korean BBQ style i.e. cooked and eaten at the table one piece at a time. Traditionally, the cooked meat is dipped into a salt & pepper dipping sauce prior to consumption."

Wikipedia has an excellent overview of Korean bbq and the types of meat grilled.

Posted by tastingkorea
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