Monthly Archives: July 2017

Healthy and Delicious Korean Food

How often is it that you eat something that is both completely satisfying and nourishing? That is why I love Korean food: It fills me up, and it makes me strong. Besides, it is delicious. By “completely satisfying,” I mean that your appetite was sated; you could not eat another bite. A slice of watermelon can be completely satisfying — if a meal was eaten not long before. That meal might have consisted of lots of greasy, salty, low-nourishment food.

When was the last time you ate an entire meal that filled you up without damaging your heart with salt and fat or loading you up with empty carbohydrates? If you are honest about it, you will probably have to admit that it has been a long time.

Korean food is flavorful, colorful, and meaty, but it also nourishes the body like few other cuisines. Eating Korean barbeque can be a real eye-opener because you wrap each morsel of meat in antioxidant-rich leaves and spiced up with tiny slices of garlic. On the side you always get probiotic Kimchi, rich in lactic acid, and usually hot green chili peppers full of vitamin C. The best side dish might be “myul-chi” which is a kind of anchovi dried out. It is full of calcium, protein, omega fish oil — and it tastes salty. It’s like eating beef jerky that is actually good for you.

One more word about kimchi: This stuff is amazingly good for you, and they make all kinds of kimchi. It’s not just the cabbage. Koreans seem to be able to ferment just about anything. A word of advice on kimchi if you are not accustomed to it: It is exotic and strange at first, but by the second time you eat it, you will not want to live without it. In fact, some Korean people say that they can’t live without kimchi — and they are only half-joking.

One big difference you will notice between Korean food and Western food is the dessert. Typically, you will be given a cup of cold and refreshing cinnamon tea, along with a plate of fruit. This cleans the palate, but it is also full of nutritious goodness because of the fruit. The heaviest dessert you will ever get in a Korean restaurant is “pat ping su” — a kind of crushed ice with red beans and sugary stuff in it. The sugar is not good for you, but at least it does not clog your arteries like cheesecake.

Strange Korean Foods

Having spent the better part of five years in Korea you can believe I’ve eaten plenty of strange Korean foods.

Live octopus? Sure. Tube worm? You bet. Pickled jellyfish? Delicious.

These are all fine examples of curious Korean cuisine and worth a try if you find yourself in the Land of Morning Calm. Granted, they may not be as accessible as, say, a hamburger or fried chicken, but they’re lots more interesting!

If you’re looking for a more adventurous meal let me recommend one of my favorite strange Korean foods.

Pig Guts Soup

Chances are even if you know next to nothing about Korean food you’ve at least heard of kimchi and Korean barbecue. Both are deserving of their fame and a definite treat for the taste buds.

Korean barbecue is particularly delicious: Imagine meaty cuts of pig that fall somewhere between pork chops and bacon in taste and consistency grilled right at your table. A fabulous foody experience.

But after you’ve butchered a pig for barbecuing there’s still plenty of meat leftover. From the hooves to Wilbur’s inner-workings, you’ve got lots of good eating still to do.

Koreans are big on making the most of every pig they butcher and nowhere is that more evident than in a bowl of pig guts soup.

When you dig into this strange Korean food you’ll find discover a bounty of pig intestine, liver, and bits of pork. It is quite literally a bowl of pig guts.

How does it taste? Well, the flavor isn’t as strong as you’d probably imagine, although every time I’ve enjoyed this dish there is the faintest aftertaste of manure.

It isn’t overpowering, mind you, but it’ unmistakably there. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a shock. I mean, you are after all eating a pig’s digestive track.

Like a lot of Korean cuisine you can choose to spice up pig guts soup with red pepper paste. A dollop of this ubiquitous condiment gives the dish some kick and helps to mask the aftertaste.

A Piggy’s Tale

Traditionally, pig guts soup was most popular amongst peasants, farmers, and laborers. It still has a reputation as “peasant food”.

This plebeian history tends to be reflected in the clientele scarfing down pig guts soup today. A typical restaurant serving the stuff will offer a good cross-section of low-income Korean society: poor college students, gritty blue collar types, factory workers, and folks who enjoy life’s simpler pleasures.

A bowl of pig guts soup will run you about 6,000 won at most restaurants. You won’t need to break the piggy bank to enjoy it. In addition to an affordable price, this strange Korean food does a good job of keeping you full.

I’m not sure if intestines are just very filling, but after a bowl of pig guts soup I’m set for hours.

Pass the Pig Guts Soup

If you’re up for this culinary adventure pig guts soup is easy to find throughout Korea. Just look for “naeg jeong mari guk bap” on the menu and prepare for the local’s eyes to bug when you place your order.

The Cultural Reflection of Korea

A culture always has its own unique trait that separates them from all others, even when it comes to food. For famous cultures, when you talk about their food, you will always have one dish that would come to mind. For Korean culture, we often think of kimchi almost automatically. It’s because this is the staple side dish. Together with rice, kimchi accompanies every meal. There are a lot of other Korean foods that gained fame among the tourists and the food enthusiasts. It’s not only kimchi that makes the Korean cuisine more unique but it is considered to be an important part of their culture because this is made at a certain season in large quantities to sustain them until that season comes again. The time for making kimchi is termed “kimchang”.

For many centuries, Koreans have been eating sea food, products in the fields and mountains. Their food is special and exotic. The distinguishing factor of a Korean food is the amount of spice there is. Korean food is usually spicy. Their basic seasonings include red pepper, soy sauce, green onion, garlic, sesame, bean past, vinegar and wine to mention a few. Korean foods have a variety of side dishes. The favorites include kimchi, beanpaste soup, broiled beef and fish including steamed vegetables. A complete Korean meal is called “Hanjoungshik” composed of foods like grilled fish, steamed rice, soup, vegetable dishes, steamed short ribs and kimchi.

Table manners are also unique when it comes to the Korean culture. You have to be knowledgeable about these things while you dine with Koreans in the future. They use chopsticks and a spoon for their eating utensils. The spoon is used to scoop rice while the chopsticks are used to eat different side dishes. It is very important to note that using both at the same time is considered to be bad manners. High and low tables are used for dining but during the Choson Dynasty, the low tables are used predominantly due to the ondol, a floor heating system that was the fad during that time. These tables have beautiful shapes and decorations though the high tables are making a comeback in the homes of modern Korean families.

Korea also has a variety of eating establishments that include street vendors, small restaurants, and formal ones that offer a full-course meal. There are also fast foods that offer western and Korean dishes. Fortunately, it is not necessary to give a tip since it is not a custom in the country.

Together with meals, Koreans do not often drink anything instead water or barley tea but when they drink, they have many kinds of beverages. Tea and many coffee shops are very common in the area. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, Koreans are fond of the famous drink known as soju.

The Best of Korean Food in New York

Korean food has always been synonymous with Kimchi, Bibimbap and barbecues at the table. Over the last few years Korean culture has been building steam all over New York City. Many Korean restaurants in New York have set up shop in a tiny slice of the city called Koreatown. This jam-packed neighborhood boasts of the best spas, delicious Korean barbecues and mouth watering Korean food in NY.

Here you will find authentic Korean food options ranging from fine dine, fast food, casual dining and the best Korean delivery in NY. Restaurants in K-town have definitely gone and put Korea on the map with their take on traditional food as well as a modern approach, showcasing their culture on the plate.

If you are into karaoke, Koreatown is the place to be. After enjoying a few drinks along with Karaoke you can enjoy a great Korean meal at the restaurants in Koreatown. Many restaurants here have been in the business for more than a quarter century and are the go-to place for many Karaoke-ers. A few restaurants are open 24 hours and serve authentic Korean comfort food to its diners.

One of the most famous dishes among the locals here is the Seolleong Tang. It is a delicious bowl of broth, which is made by boiling ox bone for more than twelve hours to extract all the flavor, and is served with noodles and rice. Another delicacy here is the Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage), which is made using high quality ingredients imported directly from South Korea. You can choose between the cabbage and radish Kimchi. The famous Korean dish is also incorporated in other dishes like the Kimchi Jeon (Vegetarian pancakes), which are a perfect takeout or delivery option.

If you are planning to visit this compelling neighborhood anytime soon, start your meal by ordering for a glass of soju. Soju is an alcoholic beverage of Korean origin that is traditionally made from rice, wheat and barley and is consumed neat. If you are not too adventurous you can choose from a list of beers, or try a ginger ale paired with their fried or steamed Mandu Dumplings. These are homemade pork dumpling that pair perfectly with soju, beer or ginger ale. If you do not have a big appetite, you can try out the Cured Salmon Bibimbap with ikura or try a traditional Korean dish called Bulgogi.

Some of the other dishes that are a must have at these Korean restaurants are Bossam and naengmyeon (cold noodles) which are a hit during the summers. You can also choose between their pork or beef barbecue dishes. If you are having trouble understanding the names of the dishes, ask your server, they will be more than happy to help you and take you through each dish.

Apart from being open 24 hours, all year around, many restaurants here offer weekly specials like ‘Happy Hour’ and ‘Taco Tuesday’, which are a treat for most of the regulars. If you are too lazy to visit this bustling neighborhood, some restaurants here offer an order online option. You can now enjoy delicious Korean food in the comfort of your homes with a click of a button. You can browse through the menu, select the dishes you like and have it delivered to your doorstep.

What Makes Korean Food

Korean food is well-known globally for being spicy, flavourful and delicious. But did you know that Korean cuisine also offers numerous health benefits? Korean cuisine is so healthy that South Korea boasts of an obesity rate of just 3.5 percent. Now, contrast that obesity rate with the likes of the United States (34.4%), the U.K (25%), Mexico (30%) and New Zealand (25%).

Many may attribute such low obesity rate to genetics of Asians in comparison with Caucasians – the latter being bigger in build than the former etc. – but that’s not true either. Koreans are healthier than many people largely because of their diet, proof of which is the Cambridge World History of Food’s report that the average Korean meal contains 13 percent less fat than those found in the diets of Americans and Europeans.

General Health Benefits of Korean Cuisine

Aside from the fact that Korean food lends itself well to a non-obese population, it also offers many other health benefits. Said benefits to good health will not come as a surprise once the ingredients, condiments and materials used as well as the cooking tools, techniques and technologies applied are considered.

The most common ingredients used in Korean cuisine are vegetables, which we all know to be full of the macronutrients and micronutrients essential in the maintenance of good health. From the side dish to the main dish and from fresh to fermented, vegetables like cabbages, bean sprouts and spinach are generously used. Add in the generous uses of garlic, ginger and other beneficial spices and Korean cuisine is very healthy

Meat, by contrast, is used sparingly which magnifies Korean cuisine’s health benefits. Even when it is a meat dish, the Koreans prefer the lean and healthy types like lean beef, chicken breasts and fatty fishes. As a result, the risks for cardiovascular diseases are significantly lower, thanks to lower saturated fat and cholesterol content in Korean cuisine.

The cooking tools, techniques and technologies used for preparing Korean food are the healthy types. Grilling, stir-frying, stewing and fermenting are the most popular ways to cook Korean cuisine, all of which means that the foods are cooked in their own juices. In contrast, many foods in countries with high obesity rates like the United States are deep fried in vats of oil.

Here are a few of the expected health benefits when one adopts the Korean mindset to food and Korean cuisine itself:

Lower risks for cardiovascular diseases like hypertension as well as neurological illnesses like strokes and dementia
Lower risks for certain types of cancer because of the anti-carcinogenic properties of vegetables
Stronger internal organs especially the liver and the kidneys
Better digestion because of increased appetite for easily digestible food
Stronger bones due to the presence of isoflavones in beans and mushrooms
Healthier skin since there are lesser amounts of preservatives

Nutrition Information of Korean Foods

Each of the popular Korean foods has its own health benefits by virtue of the ingredients and cooking techniques used on it. The following are just a few of most popular:

Bulgogi is a grilled dish consisting of marinated barbecue beef although it can also be made from chicken (dak) and pork (dwaeji). Since this is grilled over an open flame, it cooks on its own juices and, hence, no fatty oils are used. Caloric content is 310 per serving.

Jeyuk bokkeum is fiery pork served with rice, leaves of lettuce, Chinese cabbage, perilla (Sesame leaves) and other large leafy green vegetables as well as slices of raw garlic and chili peppers. Calorie per serving is 221.

Bibimbap may have slightly higher calorie content – 560 calories for a single serving – than other types of Korean food but the health benefits are still there, nonetheless, thanks to the seasoned vegetables, tofu, egg, meat or seafood in the dish.

Ddukbokki is made from rice cake combined with fish cakes, garlic and onions. Very hot and spicy has many of the benefits associated with gochujang and chilli’s, as well as being very low in fat. Calorie count is 378 per serving.

A discussion on the health benefits of Korean cuisine will not be complete without mention of kimchi, a traditional spicy Korean condiment served from morning till night in virtually all dishes. It is known to improve the circulatory system because of the garlic, fish paste and chilli as its main ingredients, click here for more health benefits of Kimchi.

It’s not just food which makes the Korean diet so healthy, South Koreans also gain a lot of health benefits from the drinks that they consume, the teas such as green and ginseng are full of anti-oxidants and aide the bodies systems while drinks containing barley like Shik-Hye and Barley tea, help the digestive system.