The cuisine of Korea

The cuisine of Korea

Haeun Lee

Different countries have different cultures and civilizations based on their traditions and behaviors. Korea is just one of the countries that are known for its sweet and tasty foods that highly depend on its culinary customs.  Korea is located between China and Japan and despite splitting to the northern and southern part; they still share important cultures, traditions, and civilization. Just like any other Asian country, Korea experiences the four seasons and has three major sources of their industrial and domestic water that includes yellow sea, the east sea, and the Korea straight.

Similarly to American eating etiquette, Koreans have their own table rules that are far much strict than the American rules.  For example in a Korean community, a young person having a meal with an older adult should not hold the spoon before the senior. Additionally, Koreans have a specific number of table settings depending on the number of dishes being served. Unlike the current trends in most communities where communities have different courses of meals, Koreans have no course method, and everything is put on the table at once so that people can choose what they want.  It is worth noting that Koreans have a specific table setting for foreigners which is totally different from that of the locals.

Moreover, rather than having a desert at the end of the meal, Koreans have a culture of having whatever fruit is in the season. Most of their meals consist of grains and cereals such as wheat or corns. One of the most common dishes in this community is called “bibimpap” which consists of a big serving of rice with sliced vegetables and meats with the inclusion of red pepper sauce. With the presence of three water mass bodies in the country, fish and seafood have never been a problem to Koreans considering that the three water bodies produce different kinds of sea foods. Notably, fish is used as the main source of protein in the country with small sardines becoming part of every dish prepared in Korea. Moreover, women who have given birth are often served a seaweed soup which is believed to have lots of minerals that come from the ocean.

Despite having a variety of dishes that can be prepared in Korea, there is a signature dish of kimchi has developed to a signature meal in Korea which includes fermented vegetables, Chile peppers, and seasonings.  Despite the fact that this is one of the oldest dishes in Korea, its recipe has changed over time which has led to variations in tastes as more and more recipes are introduced. However, one thing is common to the varieties of kimchi prepared in Koreas, and that is the fact that they all start with garlic, ginger, and scallions. Besides, this meal can be served all year long considering that it is often preserved in large containers which are either let outside or buried to ensure that cold weather does not freeze the mixture.

The fermented vegetables have a strong odor, and so is the taste and flavor of the kimchi. However, due to the integration of different cultures and people owing to increased globalization, these cultures have been slowly evolving.  For example, Korea has been influenced by China as Korea was initially part of China. The cuisine of Korea may seem complex, but it is tasty in its own way just like American food that is prepared in a different way.


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