korean food

Ask Korean Guys – One Food? 11

If they could only eat one type of food for the rest of their lives, what would they choose?

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Picnic in Mountains 6

Some thoughts about differences between Australia and Korea:

Our friends didn’t spent very long looking for the ideal picnic place. Wherever seems to be fine most of the time. Our picnic was technically on a man made weir… so on concrete rather than up on the rocks, and right near the road. There were nice places further up but going any further didn’t seem to be an option. Australians are really spoilt for space and I think that affects our desire for finding the best picnic places. Koreans don’t seem to mind as much. Plenty of times I’ve seen Koreans just plonk down wherever to have a picnic, side of roads, gravel packing lots – places Australians would never have a picnic. The scenery doesn’t seem to be the most important thing. Many Australians have probably had the experience of going for a picnic in a national park somewhere and trying to find the ideal place, “If we just hike for 20 minutes, scale this cliff face, wade through this river, there is the PERFECT picnic place I swear!”

Koreans won’t go swimming usually! I mentioned in the video that it would be inappropriate to wear a swimming costume (cossie in Australian slang) anywhere other than the beach or a pool. For Australians, and I think most westerners, people are likely to strip down to swimming costumes pretty quickly once they reach the ideal spot (some people even going skinny dipping). The only other person who went swimming besides from my husband and I was that one older guy, and he didn’t get in for long. The biggest reason Koreans often have for not swimming is that it’s too cold. I noticed this in Korea and with the Koreans who board with my parents in Australia. As an Australian, I’m not really that worried about cold water and I know within 5 minutes I won’t feel the cold much. Koreans just don’t have the same swimming culture and experience to know that. I’m sure those in colder European countries who swim a lot know how refreshing cold water can be! I think a big part of the Australian experience is going swimming, working up an appetite and then eating.

Koreans do food really well! I know lots of Australians do food well, but we can be pretty happy with just a bunch of sandwiches. For this picnic there was a bunch of different meat and vegetables and eating is constant grazing the whole time. When one type of meat is done, another goes on, there was rice and kimchi and side dishes then it moved on to ramen, then fruit. So much is centred amount just eating food. I don’t know how much of that is because of this particular group or people or region.

No one went properly exploring. People wandered around a bit but I was the only one who went quite far up the river. I know if I was with a bunch of Aussies they would be likely to trek up the river to see what was up there. I have lots of memories of camping and picnics when I was younger and someone going off exploring and coming back saying, “There is a waterfall up there!” or “Come check out this rock pool” and then everyone goes to have a look. Koreans love the outdoors and hiking, but it’s a much more structured activity. They get all dressed in the brand hiking clothes with the equipment and everything.

It was a really nice day and I’m really glad I got to swim a bit. I wonder what the Korean side of this would be. “The Aussie girl was really weird and went swimming twice and didn’t care about eating all the food and then just disappeared completely at one point.”

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Wonji Food Videos 3

Two short videos on some food we ate in Korea. This is at Wonji, which is a small town near where my husband lives. But even small towns in Korea have many many restaurants.

 

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Our Cooking Show Video 18

We did this last night because it was rainy and we were just staying in. I really wanted to make something with all the excess strawberries. Strawberry shortcake would have been nice but ovens aren’t used much here, and no oven in this house. So we couldn’t do any baking…

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Vlog 4 6

We went out with friends the other night and filmed it. Here is a glimpse of what people do in Jinju!

It’s really normal for these guys to go to many restaurants in one night. I get pretty full by the end of it! We only went to two places this time and didn’t go to norebang this time. People had to work the next day and everyone is getting older. Mr Gwon sure can’t drink how he did when he was younger. He managed to stick with just beer. I don’t drink very much at all, so I’m not drunk, I’m just really tired! I think it makes me even more tired when everyone is speaking Korean because I don’t understand enough. My brain is trying to process everything but I can only understand some things.

I’m really enjoying all the food though!

Hopefully this is a good glimpse of average guys in the Jinju area. Mr Gwon’s friend’s are pretty funny.

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Too Much Food 24

Too Much Food

Mr Gwon always get fat when we come to Korea! He just can’t help himself when it comes to Korean food. We are really encouraged to eat when in Korea too, friends and family are always urging us to eat.

He is a little worried about the meet up on Saturday because he has put on so much weight in the past 2 weeks. He’ll have to hit the gym hard when we get back to Australia.

By the way….. EBS is filming me right now hahaha.

 

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Something to eat? 17

something to eat

We usually don’t have much in our fridge… but it’s important to always have kimchi! I’ve mentioned before how we share an apartment because rental prices are so high in Sydney and we live in an area close to the city. Unfortunately sharing has a lot of downsides and I don’t feel comfortable cooking a lot in the kitchen. Also we still live very much like students and there is a big supermarket right near us so we just buy things as we need them. That does mean that some days there isn’t much in the fridge.

 

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Cheese? 17

Mindy asks:

What is your favorite Korean meal and what is his favorite Australian meal?

 

Let’s start with my favorite Korean meal. I like a lot of Korean food. I really like samgyupsal (grilled pork belly) especially with kimchi. I do tend to order bibimbap a lot because I love all the vegetables. (Luckily I often take photos of meals I order so I can show some).

Bibimbap

I also really like japchae and yukgaejang. And I love lots of side dishes!

JapchaeWhile I do like a lot of Korean food I can still be picky. My husband orders this a lot but I refuse to eat it.

Pig IntestinesYeah… pig intestines soup.

My husband is a lot less picky than me, especially when it comes to Australian food. The only major thing he doesn’t like is lamb, and I swear that’s just psychological, not to do with taste at all. He doesn’t have a particular favorite Aussie meal, he just likes almost everything. Something he has taken a real liking to here is cheese though. He said he hated cheese when in Korea, and having seen the cheese available in Korea, I can understand why. But here in Australia there is such a huge range of good quality cheeses so he has realised cheese is delicious. He also likes eating crackers with dips too, something not really done in Korea.

Over Christmas when we were with my family we had a lot of cheese and crackers. Now usually we set them out on the table for everyone to have for morning or afternoon tea, but my husband would just get them for himself and sit at the table stuffing his mouth. (I also drew my siblings in the background).

cheese and crackers

This is an accurate representation of our Christmas.

In particular he likes water crackers with Mersey Valley Cheese. (Seriously, Mersey Valley, we love your cheeses, they are the best).

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Like and Dislike 14

I was asked if there was any food from my country that I dislike, but my husband likes, and if there any Korean food that I like but he dislikes.

First up, let’s talk about Korean food. The answer is:

likeeverythingEVERYTHING! I’m much more picky about Korean food. I eat most of it but there are still things I won’t eat, like intestines, and I can be picky about how I eat things with bones. His mother makes amazing fried chicken but she knows I don’t like eating chicken right off the bones, so she’ll make sure I get all the boneless or near boneless bits. It’s really sweet, she puts all the good pieces directly on my plate.

So what about Australian/Western food? What does he like that I dislike? The major thing I can think of is steak.

steakI’m not a big meat eater (and slip in and out of vegetarianism) and prefer my portion of meat to be small with lots of vegetables. What I love about Korean food is the smaller and thinner meat portions and the way it’s integrated into the food, instead of just a slab of meat as in a lot of Australian cooking.

However, because Koreans in general are used to smaller portions of meat in Korea, they can get quite excited about the large and cheap cuts of meat in Australia. Australia has a big meat industry and has the space to pasture feed livestock. So my husband really enjoys a big steak but I cannot eat that much meat at once. And it’s pretty boring to me.

I have been disappointed a few times before, when invited to dinner by other Koreans who are living in Australia because I’ve expected to eat Korean food. Instead dinner will be just big chunks of meat barbequed or fried. While they think it’s great to be able to eat this much meat at once, for me, because I’ve grown up with Australian barbeques and an excess of meat, it’s not that great. I’d much prefer to be eating a variety of Korean dishes and have the meat much more marinated or seasoned and with vegetables. But I understand why they focus on the meat when in Australia.

In order to answer this question I was going through some of my favourite Korean foods/drinks to see if my husband dislikes any of them.

Me: “Banana Milk!”

Him: “Everyone likes that!”

Me: “The potato pancake your mother makes?”

Him: “Everyone likes that!”

And it went on…. I just like the popular food and he likes everything anyway.

 

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Seaweed Birthday Soup 16

I’m eating seaweed soup at the moment because traditionally Koreans eat this soup on their birthdays. You can read all about why on The Korea Blog HERE.

One of my Korean friends made it for me today. I really enjoy it these day but I didn’t always…

When my husband and I first met it was just before my birthday. He was very strongly wooing me and had arranged a birthday lunch for me. As well as cake and fruit platters there was seaweed soup… While I liked a lot of Korean food at that point I hadn’t really had this before and honestly looking down at the slimy seaweed in liquid- it didn’t seem that appetizing. My husband and his friend insisted that I must eat it because it was my birthday. Luckily after I forced down a few mouthfuls they didn’t make me eat anymore.

I only started enjoying seaweed soup when I started cooking it myself. Maybe by then I was used to the texture. I’m not sure what changed but now I really like it.

You can’t under estimate how important this is for Koreans on their birthdays. They have such a strong attachment to it. Earlier this year when the crazy naked guys (seen in other comics) were still living next door to my parent’s house I realised this. You can’t really buy Korean groceries in my hometown so Koreans must buy Korean food in Sydney. Because of this, it is hard to replenish supplies and Koreans here get used to going without. It was one of the guy’s birthday next door and they did not have the ingredients for seaweed soup. My husband was already next door at their party when I joined them.

My husband pulled me out of the room (yes the Korean drama arm grab thing) and asked for me to go back home and prepare seaweed soup for this guy. We did have the ingredients at home because we’d stocked up in Sydney recently. I knew it must be important because my husband had never requested for me to go home and cook before! If he was in the habit of telling me to go back to the kitchen I would be in the habit of punching him in the face. So I knew this must be important.

But oh the stress! I’d never prepared seaweed soup for any Koreans besides my husband before! All I had was my Korean cookbook. I studied the recipe again and again before starting to make sure I got everything right. My mother was amused, not only at my stress, but at why Koreans prefer soup for their birthday and not cake.

Eventually, after agonising over the taste I realised it was the best I could do. I took it next door and presented it to the birthday boy. He tasted it. Then the other guys tasted it. They declared it was delicious! At first I thought they were just being polite but my husband reassured me that it was very good. I was hesitant to believe my own success at first but then I watched them fight over it and finish every last drop. The birthday boy was so happy that he could have seaweed soup on his birthday. He told me had been wanting it so badly and had been upset because he thought it would be impossible to get. He then prostrated himself on the floor in a deep bow several times to thank me- he had been drinking though hehe!

Unfortunately my husband is not here with me at the moment because he just started a new job and we don’t have a new apartment in Sydney yet. We plan to celebrate together later.

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