When we arrived in Korea, one of our first posts was about Korean food. Since that time we have had many more experiences with local food, some good and some not so much. So, we thought it might be a good idea to give a little update.
First, a quick lesson on how Koreans describe food. If the food is good, Koreans will say it tastes good. Makes sense. However, they have no phrase to say that food is not good. Instead, as a way to avoid insulting the cook, Koreans will state that the food “has no taste.” On a lighter note, one of Griffin’s co-teachers taught him the phrase, “Marchy chig ami da.” Which means, “this food is to die for.” It usually cracks up whoever he says this to. (Last night our Taekwondo instructor nearly choked to death on his food when Griffin said this to him. He could not stop laughing.)
First, and foremost, Korean food is sometimes very spicy. On one occasion, in particular, I tried a saucy pulled pork dish that was really delicious. I really enjoyed the sweet, yet, hot taste. However, I eventually had to abandon the effort as my eyes started to water and my nose started to run. I have not been able to bring myself to try it again.
Griffin had a similar experience with a dish called Heong-Uh (홍어). It’s a fermented fish with a recipe described to us like this: First, you catch the fish and skin it. Then you place it outside to dry for about a week. Then you put it in water to rehydrate. Then cut into pieces and serve. Notice I did not mention any cooking involved. So, basically, you are eating raw, rotten fish. Most Koreans we have surveyed about Heong-Uh report that they enjoy it… but only if they have had a lot of alcohol. As for us, the smell alone is enough to remind us not to try again.
We’ve also sampled plenty of other Korean cuisine that we would highly recommend. Galbi, a sweet marinated beef dish; Bulgogi, which is a beef dish that comes in a variety of seasonings; Sam gip Sar, which is a barbecued pork dish that you cook yourself and dress into lettuce wraps; and Sashimi, raw fish, are some of our favorites.
Check out our photos for a good look at some of the Korean foods we have enjoyed as well as shots of our school lunches.