5 mouth-watering facts about Korean food
The smoky taste of galbi, the sweet-spicy thrill of budae-jjigae, or the tossed up goodness of bibimbap—what is it about these popular Korean dishes that we love? Read on and catch Annyeong TLC, our three-hour marathon every Sunday on the things we love most about Korea - fashion, food and more food
#1 That sweetness in barbecued meat isn’t sugar or honey.
That hint of sweetness in your Korean barbecue comes from an ingredient you’d least expect—the Korean pear. Also known as the nashi pear, it lends sweetness to any marinade, tenderising the meat while adding a boost of flavour.
K-Tip: Can’t find Korean pears? A regular hard, crispy pear will do the trick.
#2 The one sauce that rules them all.
Stews, salads or marinated meats—everything tastes better with gochujang! This red chili paste gives a burst of spicy, sweet and savoury flavours. A staple in any Korean household, add as much or little you want for a pop of heat!
K-Tip: Gochujang is usually mixed into food rather than as a dip or garnish.
#3 This traditional dish is made exclusively of leftovers.
Toss leftovers into a bowl of rice with a little gochujang and mix it together for a meal of bibimbap! This simple and balanced dish is traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year to get rid of leftover sides before the fresh year begins.
K-Tip: Have your bibimbap in a piping hot stone bowl! It slow cooks the ingredients and crisps the rice for that extra crunch.
#4 Kimchi is more than pickled cabbage.
Move past the cabbage. Cucumber, radish, onion, spinach and even mushrooms can be kimchi! Try pickling different vegetables with one of the most versatile recipes yet. Add red chilli paste, gochugaru, fish sauce, fermented shrimp or even squid to give its paste an added kick.
K-Tip: The longer kimchi ferments, the more bitter it gets. Keep it fermented for three weeks for an optimal flavor.
#5 A Western-styled stew etched in Korean culture.
Ham, sausages and baked beans aren’t the usual ingredients found in a Korean dish. Budae-jjigae, also known as army stew, is made of canned goods brought in by the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Mix in a generous helping of kimchi for that Korean touch!
K-Tip: Add more textures to your Budae-jjigae! Toss some tteokbokki into your stew for an added chewy goodness.