One of the main things I love about Korean culture is their food. Before I went to Korea, I hadn’t eaten too much Korean food, just bibimbap and Korean BBQ. But even then, I knew I loved the vibrant colors and intense flavor of Korean food.
One of the best things about living in Korea is being able to eat so much cheap, delicious Korean food just by stepping outside your doorstep. In every part of Seoul (and other cities, I’m sure), there are amazing little restaurants in every street corner owned by families – they’re cheap, authentic, delicious. I found it very difficult to find a restaurant in which I had a BAD meal. Plus, Korean restaurants (along with many other restaurants in Asia) don’t charge tax or tip, so it’s really easy and convenient just to eat out basically everyday.
Some of my favorite Korean dishes were kimchi jjigae, pudae jjigae, pajeon, and labbokki. I loved pretty much everything I ate in Korea, but these were the standouts for me.
Last week I decided to make some Korean food. Now, this is a big step for me, seeing as I groan whenever my mom asks me to try cooking. Cooking to me has always been a bit of a chore, because you need to go out and buy specific ingredients, and without the right ingredients, the food won’t taste right. I basically make only ramen and spaghetti, the two easiest foods to make. But seeing as I love Korean food, and that the closest yummy Korean restaurant is over 30 minutes away, I decided to give cooking Korean food myself a go.
So since I explained to you that I kind of hate cooking and that I have very little experience, I thought it’d be best for me to try an easy dish for my first Korean experiment. I chose Kimchi jjigae because it’s pretty simple – you just put kimchi and some other simple ingredients into a pot and let it simmer for a bit, and voila! You have kimchi jjigae. I have to give a lot of credit to Maangchi for her Korean recipes, because without them, I wouldn’t even had the confidence to try making anything. Her recipes are simple and easy-to-follow, and she often includes videos, which is very helpful.
Here are my kimchi jjigae ingredients:
And here’s my kimchi jjigae after being boiled:
It turned out a lot sweeter than it’s supposed to be (it’s not supposed to be sweet, more sour), so I’ll have to work on that for the future. Also, I used the wrong tofu – it’s supposed to be the slick, smooth one, but I bought tofu that said it was “soft” on the cover – clearly smooth and soft are not the same things. But my parents said they thought it was really delicious, so I was pleased ^^
Next, I tackled kkatdugi because my mom randomly brought me home a radish from the store. So I went on Maangchi’s site again, and of course, there was a recipe for kkatdugi (cubed radish kimchi). The ingredients required for this kimchi are really commonplace – garlic, ginger, green onions – so you won’t have to go too out of your way to buy them. The one weird ingredient that it calls for that I’d never heard of before is fish sauce. Apparently we had some in our garage that we never even opened. Go figure.
Here are the ingredients pre-mixing.
And here’s post-mixing:
I have yet to try it because it’s supposed to ferment outside for several days, so I will update you later once I taste it!
Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post and if you want me to try making any other Korean food, please let me know and I will try my best!