A Food Diary South Korea – Where and What to Eat (Part Two: Savoury)
Of course, I didn’t live off cakes and ice creams (although it’s looks like it according to the photos haha) I had some tasty Korean Fried Chicken also known in Korea as KFC usually accompanied with beer, known in Korea as Chimaek and is hugely popular when out drinking with friends. Other savoury favourites were of course, Korean BBQ with the different cuts of meat, pork being the most popular and least expensive, Bibimbap (everyone knows bibimbap right?), Pajeon (Pancake), Mandu (Dumplings) I had Mandu a number of times as I am dumpling OBSESSED! Unfortunately the photos I have aren’t the best because I was too busy stuffing my face! But out of everything I ate in Korea (excluding ice cream which isn’t a proper meal so doesn’t really count anyway) my favourite meal I had was Pork Noodle Soup in Jeju – the broth was so flavourful, I couldn’t get enough! No wonder there was a line at the front.
With most meals you’re served with a few different side dishes known as Banchan, the most popular banchan is of course, kimchi! The kimchi we know is the fermented spicy cabbage type which is served with nearly every meal in Korea. I hadn’t tried a lot of kimchi before heading to Korea and have to admit I wasn’t really looking forward to eating it, but once I tried it during our first meal in Seoul I loved it. I don’t think it had anything to do with the place but maybe actually being in Korea changed my mindset. I enjoyed eating kimchi throughout the rest of my trip, along with all of the other banchan – radish kimchi, sautéed spinach, bean sprouts, fried anchovies all with some of sort dressing or seasoning like gochujang (chilli powder or paste), soy sauce or sesame oil.
On my to do list whenever I visit a new country is a food tour. They help you get an understanding, not only of the food but also of the culture, plus you’ll probably end up trying something you never would’ve had before. The tour we did was a Night Dining Tour run by Ongo Food Communications. Meeting at their offices we were greeted with a few salads to try as the chef was trailing a new dressing as they also run a cooking school. Our small group departed for our first course of the night – our first Korean BBQ in Korea. Walking down the backstreets of Insadong we arrived at a small, family run BBQ restaurant. Here our tour guide told us about the different accompaniments and how to wrap your meet in the 2 types of salad leaves. We also tried an alcoholic shot called Cojinganmek which is one part coke, one part soju and one part beer which got things going (I had 2!) the shot finishes with coke so the aftertaste is very pleasant :). The second stop is Tteokbokki which is a mixture of rice cake, fish cake and gochujang and by this point you’re starting to get very full. Stop 3 was Chimaek, where our group struggled to eat the chicken as we had eaten so much food. For the last stop we decided on trying Patbingsu, a dessert made from shaved ice, fruit, beans and condensed milk but is also served with a variety of other toppings. I wasn’t a huge fan of this because it’s so different to anything I’ve ever had for dessert but I’m glad I tried it.
Returning home from Korea I was determined to cook some of the yummy dishes I had devoured but also relatively easy to make so I chose Green Onion Pajeon and Bibimbap. I did really want to make my own kimchi but I ran out of time before my Korean dinner party. All were enjoyed by everyone at the party so I highly recommend you be a little adventurous and give these a go.