What is Korean food?

Korean food is, as its name implies, the traditional food of Koreans in Korea and abroad. The cuisine is varied, from the dishes of Korean royalty, to those prepared in the cities inside and Seoul, to port cities like Incheon and Busan. Korean food is also consumed in the Chinese northeast. Korean food is often spicy and seasoned with spices having certain legacies of Chinese cuisine and Japanese cuisine, with certain variations.

Korean Food

Korean Food

The daily Korean diet is based on rice, vegetables, fish, seafood and dubu tofu in Korean). What is known as “Korean food” dishes are typically served as an accompaniment to rice. Unlike the Western-European tradition, in Korea there is no concept of first or second “plate” but all foods accompany the rice (반찬 ban-chan) in a kind of culinary coordination of small plates. Gochujang  is a spicy red sauce that is often used in Korean cooking.

A popular food in the cuisine of Korea is bulgogi (which literally means fire meat) and kimchi (fermented dish made ​​of vegetables). There is also many fermented foods, vegetables and legumes, soups, teas, liqueurs and soft drinks. Kimchi and doenjang sauce (made ​​with soy) are the the best known examples of Korean fermented foods.

There are a variety of dishes with high vegetable content. A feature of this cuisine is the rarity of fried foods, contrary to what happens in neighboring China, and therefore there is not extensive use of oils used in frying techniques. It is customary to boil, blanch, roast, steam, etc… When fried food is prepared, very little oil is used and it is often vegetable oil.

Other dishes include bibimbap, galbi (which is roasted beef ribs accompanied by various vegetables), mandu, stuffed vegetables and meat mandu (dumplings), as well as mandu soup.

Korean metal chopsticks (젓가락)

Korean metal chopsticks (젓가락)

The main meal of the day is at noon, and rice is usually served with 3 and 12 small side dishes as an accompaniment. Each diner is usually served a bowl of soup and a bowl of rice, but the rest of the dishes are placed in the center of the table and shared. Although the fork was invented in Asia, it fell out of use centuries ago. Koreans use spoons and chop sticks when dining. Interestingly, Koreans often use metal chopsticks (젓가락) while neighboring countries like Japan and China tend to use wood.

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