Everyone asks me how the food is here in Korea.
It is fabulous.
So far, I haven’t had anything I didn’t like. Back home I was a fairly picky eater (I got better as I got older, I swear!) but here I’m finding that I’ll try anything. Moreover, I like everything! I haven’t been adventurous enough to try squid, octopus, or the dried things with eyes on the plane (I’ve been told they were tiny fish) yet, but I’ll get to those eventually.
Most of the food here is pretty spicy. I thought I liked really spicy foods back in the states, but spicy is here is like a whole new level of hot. The food at my school has been very mild, but when I go to Korean restaurants I routinely feel like my mouth is on fire. I’m counting on building up my spice tolerance, because I really love the food.
Surprisingly, I am a fan of kimchi, which is a traditional Korean dish of various fermented vegetables and seasonings. It’s usually made of cabbage, but they also make it with radishes, scallions, and cucumbers, to name a few. All of the kimchi I’ve had so far has been spicy, but they do have variations that aren’t. Kimchi comes with just about every meal in Korea.
They bring you tons of side dishes (banchan) at Korean restaurants. Side dishes can include tofu, kimchi, beans, veggies, etc. Rice and soup are also served with just about every meal. I learned that it’s impolite to eat your rice with chopsticks (which is great, because I suck at using chopsticks, especially the flat metal ones in Korea). It’s also impolite to pick up your soup bowl to eat it.
This is bibimbap, my first Korean meal on the flight from Chicago to Incheon. You put the steamed rice (container on the left) into the bowl in the middle with veggies and stuff, then mix it all together with a spicy red red pepper paste and a sesame oil. It was really good- I need to find it here in Korea!
First meal IN Korea! I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but it’s battered and fried jumbo shrimp on rice with seaweed and veggies. It also came with white kimchi and noodle soup. All very tasty.
My second Korean BBQ experience. SO AMAZING. This was before all the meat was cooked. I have no idea what all the meat is, but it’s nothing crazy like horse or dog. That’s kimchi at the bottom (they put it at the bottom so the juices from the meat flow into it and fry it), and mushrooms, potatoes, and tofu at the top. You can also add cloves of garlic.
When you eat Korean bbq, you’re supposed to take a piece of lettuce or rice paper and wrap up whatever you want- meat, garlic, mushrooms, kimchi, veggies, various sauces, seasoned oil, etc. They bring you everything you could possibly want. You can also just eat stuff straight from the grill plate.