Korean Barbecue, Hardwood Charcoal-grilled Meat
If you are curious about Korean barbecue, try 'Sutbul Gui/Charcoal-grilled Meat.’ Sutbul Gui is a method of grilling meat over a fire by placing a grill over hot hardwood charcoal. When people in the U.S. barbecue, they usually use a dedicated grill outdoors or a separate space with a fire pit, but in Korea, a table with a hearth is used, so it is fun to sit around and grill on the spot.
Korean hardwood charcoal is famous for its excellent efficacy because it is made by carbonizing raw oak wood at a high temperature of over 1000°C. It lasts for a long time, has good firepower, and high far-infrared emissions, so it cooks the meat quickly and effectively. Also, the scent of oak penetrates the meat and improves the flavor during the grilling process, so you can feel the special taste. Enjoy a different taste of meat with Korean-style barbecue 'Sutbul Gui/Charcoal-grilled Meat.
‘Sutbul Hanu Gui/Charcoal-grilled Korean Beef’ Full of Tasty Juice
In Korea, beef is considered a fine food. In particular, ‘Hanu/Korean Beef’ is known for its high sweetness and excellent marbling, resulting in a smooth texture. Beef is delicious no matter how you eat it, but you can enjoy the best taste when grilled over charcoal. If you grill it over a gas flame, the outside may burn or lose moisture, becoming dry. However, if you grill it over a charcoal fire, you can taste the juicy and tender meat because the outside and inside are cooked at the same time.
For grilling, people mainly eat sirloin or ribs. It is a popular part because of its chewy taste. If you put the meat on a red-hot charcoal fire, it will brown instantly, and your mouth waters just by looking at it. Sutbul Hanu Gui/Charcoal-grilled Korean Beef is very flavorful by itself, so you do not need to have other side dishes. The best way to enjoy the natural taste of beef is to eat it with only a little salt. Every time you chew, the savory juice fills your mouth, making you happy.
Flavorful 'Sutbul Dwaeji Galbi/Charcoal-grilled Pork Galbi' with Smoky Flavor
Sutbul Dwaeji Galbi/Charcoal-grilled Pork Galbi is the best way to feel the attraction of a charcoal fire. It is a method of grilling pork ribs aged in sweet soy sauce seasoning over charcoal, and the smell of grilling spreads far because of the seasoning, drawing people's attention. It's sweet and salty, so anyone can enjoy it. Also, it's cheap, so it's often mentioned as a family eating-out menu.
When pork ribs are grilled over charcoal, they go through a natural smoking process because smoke rises whenever seasoning or oil drips through the grill. When the smell of fire permeates in this way, the taste of the ribs improves beyond measure. Because of the unique flavor created by the scent of charcoal fire, some people deliberately smoke it before eating. When eating pork ribs, dip them in onion soy sauce or eat them with vegetables to make them richer. Kimchi Jjigae or Naengmyeon/Cold Buckwheat Noodles also refresh your appetite, so try them together.
Light and Crispy 'Sutbul Dakgalbi/Spicy Charcoal-grilled Chicken'
Dakgalbi/Spicy Stir-fried Chicken is one of the favorite foods of foreigners visiting Korea. It is based on red pepper paste seasoning, but it is sweet and not too spicy because a lot of soy sauce and sugar are also added. There are two ways to cook Dakgalbi in Korea: stir-fry it on an iron plate or grill it over charcoal. Cheolpan Yori/Griddled Dish is to stir-fry meat with vegetables, and 'Sutbul Gui/Charcoal-grilled Meat’ is to grill the meat by itself. Both are popular because they taste different depending on the recipe, although they use the same chicken ribs.
Sutbul Dakgalbi/Spicy Charcoal-grilled Chicken is attractive for its light and savory taste because the grilling process reduces the fat. In addition, because it is grilled over direct heat, you can feel the crispy yet chewy texture. In Korea, chicken grilled with spicy seasoning is the most popular dish, but if you can not manage spicy food, you can order it grilled with salt or soy sauce. It is also recommended because the salty seasoning enhances the savory taste of the chicken and you can enjoy the subtle smoky flavor better.
More Delicious Food Dried in the Winter Wind
As seasons change in Korea, food preservation methods have been developed to keep food harvested in season preserved for a long time. Salt-pickling, vinegar-pickling, and drying methods that remove moisture from ingredients are representative examples. In particular, in Korea's cold, windy winter, it is easy to dry things naturally as is the conditions are like a freezer. So, in winter, a scenery of vegetables and fish hung iut to dry becomes visible in highland or coastal areas.
When ingredients are dried in the winter wind, they are frozen solid on a cold night, and the moisture evaporates as they melt in the sunlight during the day. Since it is naturally dried, raw materials are not damaged, and the temperature is low, so it does not rot, becoming a nutritious and delicious dried food. Of course, it is advantageous to be able to eat dried food for a long time, but it is also attractive that it tastes different from the original ingredient. Let's experience Korean delicacies with dry ingredients to work up your appetite.
Flavorful Siraegi Bap/Dried Radish Leaf Rice and Siraegi Guk/Dried Radish Leaf Soup
Korea has a culture of making kimchi from late fall to early winter, so there are many radish leaves. In winter, vegetables didn't grow well, so people dried radish leaves and started eating them like a vegetable called 'Siraegi/Dried Radish Leaf.' Radish leaves are woven in rows and hung in a well-ventilated place to dry for about a month. The greater the temperature difference between day and night, the softer the texture and the deeper the flavor of Siraegi. In addition, dietary fiber increases 3 to 4 times during the drying process, and it is very high in calcium and vitamin C, making it an excellent nutritional food.
'Siraegi/Dried Radish Leaf’ is mainly used for soup, rice, and salad. The most common kind of 'Siraegi Guk/Dried Radish Leaf Soup' is a dish made by adding siraegi to Doenjang Guk/Soybean Paste Soup and has a savory taste. Depending on the restaurant, perilla seed powder is added to make the taste stronger. 'Siraegi Bap/Dried Radish Leaf Rice' is made by adding siraegi to rice and cooking it together. When you open the rice cooker, the aroma of siraegi spreads along with the seaweed, increasing your appetite. When you eat Siraegi Bap, it is good to have it with 'Gangdoenjang/Seasoned Soybean Paste,' which is made by boiling it with soybean paste and vegetables. The salty and flavorful taste of soybean paste goes well with Siraegi Bap. The texture of the resulting salad is soft and easy to digest, and it is a satisfying food, so even if you eat a little, you will be satisfied.
Hwangtae Gui/Grilled Dried Pollack, the More You Chew, the Richer the Taste
In Korea, people eat pollack raw but also dried in various ways. Depending on the drying method, it is called by various names, such as Hwangtae, Meoktae, and Kodari, but each has a different attraction. Among them, Hwangtae is called 'winter luxury.' This is because pollack is hung on a deokjang in a cold, windy alpine area and frozen and thawed repeatedly for more than 20 days. If dried quickly with a machine, the taste becomes crisp and light. Hwangtae, dried naturally for a long time, has a soft texture and rich, savory taste. In addition, during the drying process, the protein content is increased to 4 times that of beef, so it is suitable for supplementing protein in winter when physical activity is low.
Hwangtae is regarded as a high-quality ingredient because it requires great care. In particular, Hwangtae Gui/Grilled Dried Pollack has excellent taste and texture, so it often appears as a side dish for high-end Korean meals. When making Hwangtae Gui, dried pollack is soaked in water, then seasoned with red pepper paste and grilled on a hot iron plate. Because of the red seasoning, it is appetizing just looking at it. Hwangtae is chewy and soft and has a sweet and spicy taste. The more you chew, the more savoriness comes out, so the slower you eat, the better it tastes. If you eat it with rice, it becomes a great side dish, and you can enjoy it as a bar snack with alcohol. You can enjoy it in a convenient and more refreshing way if you eat it with thick Hwangtae Guk/Dried Pollack Soup.
Gwamegi, a Semi-dried Food with a Unique Attraction
Gwamegi is made by hanging herring or saury in a deokjang and half-drying it in the sea breeze in winter. It is a winter delicacy that becomes popular in December. 80% of gwamegi is produced in Guryongpo, a seaside village in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do. This is because the winter temperature here is the most suitable for drying gwamegi. It is made by repeatedly freezing and thawing in the sea breeze, evaporating moisture. When the moisture content drops below 40%, people enjoy it raw, and it is characterized by its chewy texture because it is semi-dried.
The taste of gwamegi is unique. It is easy to eat because it is very savory, while retaining the unique fishy taste of herring or saury. Dip it in chojang or sesame oil to fully enjoy the unique taste of gwamegi. If you are accustomed to the taste of gwamegi, it is time to experience the attraction of wraps. When you order gwamegi, it comes with vegetables, laver, seaweed, water parsley, red pepper, garlic, and kimchi. You can enjoy them in combination as you want. In particular, 'laver' boasts fantastic harmony with gwamegi. If you put a piece of gwamegi, chojang, water parsley, garlic, etc. on top of laver and wrap it up, the fishy taste disappears, and the savory taste doubles. Raw seaweed is also an ingredient that goes well with gwamegi. If you dip it in chojang and eat it with seaweed, you can feel the fresh scent of the sea. It is a taste that comes to mind in winter.
The Chewy Charms of Kalguksu/Noodle Soup and Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup
In Korea, rice is the staple food, so many dishes use rice, but Koreans also make and eat wheat flour as a special meal. Representative traditional foods that have been loved for a long time are 'Kalguksu/Noodle Soup' and 'Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup.' Both are dishes made by adding wheat flour dough to a hot, savory broth.
'Kalguksu/Noodle Soup' and 'Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup' are traditionally made by hand, not by machines. If you cut the dough into long pieces, it becomes Kalguksu, and if you tear it thinly by hand, it becomes Sujebi. Although the shape is irregular and clunky, you can feel it is made with great care because it is made by hand. Let's experience Korean wheat flour food with Kalguksu and Sujebi, where you can feel the charm of chewy dough.
'Hongdukkae Kalguksu' Made Thin with a Rolling Pin
Kalguksu/Noodle Soup is a dish where you can taste the harmony of firm noodles, savory broth, and sweet and spicy kimchi. Unlike machine-made noodles, handmade Kalguksu noodles boast thickness and an elastic texture. When traditionally making Kalguksu, a lump of dough is stretched thin, then rolled and cut into uniform thickness. When rolling out the dough, a special Korean rolling pin called 'Hongdukkae' is used. It is thick and long, so it is effective in making the dough thin. The noodles made in this way have a rough charm and taste more delicious. If you come to Korea and visit a restaurant called 'Hongdukkae Kalguksu,' you might also be able to see the layout of the noodle room if you are lucky.
The soup that completes the taste of Kalguksu/Noodle Soup is based on seafood broth. Adding anchovies, kelp, shrimp, clams, etc., and boiling it brings a strong savory taste. Adding sweet vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and onions as a garnish completes Kalguksu, which anyone can enjoy. The way to enjoy Kalguksu more is to eat it with spicy and sweet 'Geotjeori/Fresh Kimchi.' Unlike regular kimchi, Geotjeori does not ferment for long, so it has a crisp texture. Eating this kimchi with Kalguksu noodles tastes refreshing, so you can enjoy it until you finish it.
When you want something spicy, try 'Yukgaejang Kalguksu/Spicy Noodle Soup with Beef'
Kalguksu/Noodle Soup in Korea has only flour noodles in common, and the broth varies greatly depending on the cooking method. You can taste a variety of Kalguksu depending on the soup, such as Dak Kalguksu/Noodle Soup with Chicken that makes use of the lightness of chicken, Jang Kalguksu/Spicy Noodle Soup that is thickly boiled with soybean paste or red pepper paste, and Sagol Kalguksu/Noodle Soup that is thickly boiled with beef bones.
If you want to try spicy soup to commemorate your visit to Korea, 'Yukgaejang Kalguksu/Spicy Noodle Soup with Beef' is recommended. Yukgaejang is one of the traditional Korean dishes, which is boiled with beef, various herbs, red pepper powder, and red pepper oil. The spicy taste of red pepper powder melts into the beef broth, giving it a rich and spicy flavor. If you put flour noodles in this soup, it becomes 'Yukgaejang Kalguksu/Spicy Noodle Soup with Beef,' and the appearance of white noodles in red soup looks delicious. If you eat a spoonful of the soup, you will be surprised by the refreshing taste and flavor of the noodles soaked in meat broth. The harmony of finely chopped beef garnish, softly cooked vegetables, and chewy noodles is also appealing, so please enjoy the rich texture.
Chewy Dough in Savory Soup, 'Deulkkae Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup with Perilla Seeds'
Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup looks similar to Kalguksu/Noodle Soup, but the dough is not cut into long noodles but torn apart thinly by hand. The flour dough is tossed into the boiling soup, and the thickness is not constant, so it is fun to chew. Sujebi is used in many soup dishes because it can be cooked relatively simply by making flour dough. Even when making Kalguksu, Sujebi is sometimes added as a garnish, and some places combine the names of these two dishes and sell them as a menu called 'Kaljebi.' It is a dish where you can taste both the same yet different charms of Kalguksu and Sujebi.
Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup is also boiled in seafood broth like Kalguksu/Noodle Soup, but adding perilla sesame powder at the end gives it a completely different taste. It makes a thick sauce like Italian Gnocchi, and the more perilla seeds are added, the thicker the texture is, like cream. It is recommended that you smell Deulkkae Sujebi/Hand-pulled Dough Soup with Perilla Seeds before tasting it. The nutty and flavorful aroma you smell for the first time will Make your mouth water immediately. It is recommended to eat Deulkkae Sujebi with a spoon because it is good to taste the broth and Sujebi together. The softly spreading perilla sesame sauce and the rhythm of the chewy dough will give you pleasure throughout the meal.
Remains Hot Until Finished, Korean Hot Pot Recipes
If you are interested in Korean food, you may have seen food served in a black bowl at least once. This black bowl is a traditional Korean earthenware pot called 'Ttukbaegi (Hot Pot).' Ttukbaegi is made from clay and baked at a high temperature of about 1,000 degrees or more, so this heat-resistant ceramic pot retains heat very well. It takes some time to heat up, but it does not cool off easily, allowing you to enjoy a warm dish until you have the last bite.
The food that serves best in ttukbaegi is soup or stew dishes. Ttukbaegi is particularly ideal for serving ‘gukbap,’ soup with a bowl of steamed rice, or ‘jjigae,’ stew that simmers various ingredients for a long time in a relatively small amount of broth. Travelers who have experienced the charm of ttukbaegi in Korea often get one as a useful souvenir. If you put your stew in this stone pot, the sauce does not cool down quickly, making your culinary experience more satisfactory. Here are three ttukbaegi dishes that Koreans desire most and that would provide you with an unforgettable and ‘hot’ culinary experience.
‘Ttukbaegi Bulgogi (Bulgogi Hot Pot)’ Enjoyed With Sweet Broth
Bulgogi, along with grilled pork belly, bibimbap, and kimchi, is one of the most popular Korean foods among foreigners. Bulgogi marinated in soy sauce is sweet and savory and loved by many. Among other types of bulgogi recipes with different meat choices, ‘ttukbaegi bulgogi’ or ‘bulgogi hot pot’ is the most commonly enjoyed. Ttukbaegi, whose size is perfect for individual portions, is a great choice for a solo diner and can be enjoyed as soon as served without having to keep boiling it on a burner on your table like jeongol or casserole.
Ttukbaegi Bulgogi is also delicious. It is made with a variety of ingredients, such as mushrooms, green onions, carrots, and more, topped with marinated beef, which then is simmered in broth. Tasting sweet, not spicy, it is enjoyable ven to those unfamiliar with Korean food. Along with veggies, glass noodles make the dish more delicious. If you have a mouthful of soft glass noodles soaked in the seasoned broth and tender meat, the savory flavor will absolutely delight your taste buds. Another tip to enjoy the dish is to drizzle the sweet broth over your cooked rice like a sauce and mix them together. It would tastes so good that you may want to have another bowl of steamed rice.
The Longer It Is Boiled Down, the Tastier It Becomes, ‘Ttukbaegi Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup Hot Pot)’
Seolleongtang, or ox bone soup hot pot, is one of the Korean soul foods. It is a Korean broth soup made by boiling down ox bones, brisket, and other cuts, featuring milky-white broth. If you can't choose the breakfast menu on your trip to Korea, seolleongtang is highly recommended. It is not only a high-protein, nutritious meal but also, as the LA Times puts it, the best food to get minerals in the morning.
Seolleongtang is made by simmering for 6-12 hours to allow the flavor to be gradually extracted from the bones. The longer it is boiled down, the richer and tastier it becomes. It is usually and preferably served in ttukbaegi so it doesn’t cool down quickly until you finish the whole bowl. When the soup gets cold, you may get a pungent, meaty smell from it. The taste may seem bland at first, but adding a little salt will make it more savory. Another tip to enjoy it is to have it with kkakdugi or diced radish kimchi. It is said that kimchi is an inseparable side dish for seolleongtang. So add some of the sour juice of diced radish kimchi to your ox bone soup, and you will find it amazingly delicious in a different way.
Korea’s Most Famous Homemade Cuisine, ‘Ttukbaegi Doenjangjjigae (Soybean Paste Jjigae Hot Pot)’
You can’t talk about Korean cuisine without mentioning ‘doenjangjjigae,’ or soybean paste jjigae. Made with fermented Korean soybean paste dissolved in a broth along with zucchini and tofu added, it is one of the most famous, classic Korean foods. It tastes best when cooked in ttukbaegi as the earthen pot with excellent heat retention helps the soybean paste broth permeate through the ingredients well. For this reason, Koreans try not to forget to use ttukbaegi to cook and enjoy this savory stew.
Because doenjangjjigae goes well with most Korean dishes and you can make endless variations of the stew depending on the other ingredients added, you would never get tired of eating it. For example, if you add beef to it, the soup will taste thicker and deeper, while with some clams, you will have a lighter and more refreshing flavor. You can add some extra spicy chili peppers for a spicy kick or ssamjang, or red chili and soybean paste to enrich its savory flavor. In fact, it would be fun to experience a different taste of soybean paste jjigae at each restaurant you visit. In particular, soybean paste jjigae is a great after-barbecue meal option. So, don’t forget to order one after enjoying your meal at a Korean BBQ restaurant. The meat's fatty taste, and the savory flavor of the soybean paste stew will allow you to have a deeply flavorful and comforting dining experience.