[Three] Five dishes for newbies to Korean food

I recently went to eat Korean food with my friends and I was surprised to hear that one of my friends, Monica had not tried it before.

So, I have decided to dedicate this blog entry to Korean food for everyone like Monica who have yet to have tried Korean food.

Here are five Korean dishes I would like to recommend for newbies to Korean food :)

#1) Although it is getting close to autumn,it is still summertime! These days, you may have heard about the dish 냉면 (It's pronounced "naeng-myun"). It is a popular cold noodle dish.
If you listen to K-pop at all, you may have heard the song Naeng-Myun by Jessica of Girl's Generation and Park Myung Soo, a famous comedian in the show 무한도전 ("moo han do jun") or also known as "Infinitey Challenge".
(in the picture above, Jessica and Park Myung Soo are singing "Naeng-Myun" live)

When I first heard the song, Naeng-Myun, I thought it was funny that this food dish was used to compare summer love, but this song has grown on me. The dance is really funny too actually. During the chorus "naeng-myun, naeng-myun, naeng-myun", they do a dance move that looks like they are eating the naeng-myun noodles. Even Tae Yeon of Girl's Generation was doing the moves!
I definitely love naeng-myun, especially when my mom makes it for me at home! These days, if you go to a Korean supermarket, you can find instant naeng-myun packs which has the naengmyun noodles and sauce all included in the box. You just have to cook the noodles and make the naeng-myun soup by boiling water with the sauce included and then cooling it in the fridge before serving. Toppings are not included, but according to your taste, you can slice cucumber, cooked beef, a boiled egg and also few slices of Korean pear!
Here's an example of naeng-myun in a box
If you like spicy food, I would like to recommend 비빔냉면 ("bi-bim-naeng-myun") which is a spicy version of naengmyun (also called 물냉면, literally translates to cold noodles in water, to distinguish it from 비빔냉면, which translates to mixed cold noodles)
#2) One of my favorite things to order is 설렁탕 (pronounced "sul-lung-tang"). This is a warm dish, unlike naeng-myun which is served cold. Sullungtang is a warm beef-broth soup that is cooked for a long time (sometimes a few days) to make sure that the soup extracts all the flavours and nutrients from ox bones. It is served with sweet potato noodles and slices of beef. Sometimes it is not seasoned to allow the customers to pretty add salt and pepper and also diced green onions according to their own taste.
Here's Sullongtang served with rice, and two side dishes, 김치/kimchi and 깎두기 (pronouned "ggack-doo-gi")

#3) This next dish I am going to introduce is popular for many BBQ lovers. Korean BBQ ribs (갈비/"gal-bee") anyone?

Usually, in restaurants, the galbee is cooked right in front of your table in the small circular grill that is built into the table. With the galbee, Koreans also like to BBQ mushrooms, onions,  garlic, and sometimes even kimchi*!

*kimchi, pictured above, is a popular Korean side dish. It is fermented/preserved cabbage which is seasoned with various spices and sauces.

And voila, here is cooked BBQ galbee! Bon appetit :) 
 #5) My Chinese friends really like this last dish called 비빔밥 ("bi-bim-bab") which is rice served with a colorful array of vegetables including spinach, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and egg. 돌솥비빔밥 ("dol-sot-bibimbab") is the same dish that is served in a stone pot.

Here is bibimbab served with hot sauce and sesame oil. Adding the oil makes mixing the vegetables with the rice easier and the hot sauce is for people who likes spicy food!

#4) This fourth dish I am introducing is for all the noodle lovers out there! 잡채 ("jap-chae") I really like this dish as well!

Jabchae is sweet potato noodles with various vegetables that are chopped up (including pepper, carrots, potato, spinach, etc) and fried beef. This healthy dish is sometimes eaten on its own, or with with rice.

vegetables ready to go into the jabchae




Well I hope that you enjoyed this blog entry, especially if you are unfamiliar to Korean food! I hope I have convinced you to go out and try some!

Next time, I will explain what Korean 반찬 ("ban-chan"), Korean side dishes are.

In the meantime, I hope you have a chance to go eat some Korean food.

Yours truly,