Food and alcohol go hand in hand. In Korea, the snacks that are eaten alongside an alcoholic beverage is given a special name: anju. While anything can be considered a “drinking snack,” some foods pair better with certain kinds of alcohol than others. One way to determine if a snack is considered anju, is to see if it is finger food.
If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to go out, some quick preparations of anju include sliced fruit, nuts, or crackers. Some prefer quick, salty snacks because the salt absorbs the alcohol in the drink.
One of the most well-known alcohol and snack combinations in Korea is chimaek: a happy marriage between Korean fried chicken and beer. Fried foods are a popular choice when it comes to pairing snacks and drinks. May it be fries or dumplings, I don’t think anything can beat the combination of Korean fried chicken and a glass of cold, refreshing beer.
Pajeon and Makgeolli
Makgeolli, or Korean rice wine, is one of the oldest types of alcohol in Korea. The tangy, slightly sweet, and fizzy beverage is best suited with pajeon, or Korean pancake, on rainy days. Combining the rich, hearty flavor and texture of pajeon complements the light and almost citrus-like flavors of makgeolli.
Jokbal (족발) and Soju
Soju has made itself known across the globe. Going to any Korean barbeque place, you will see a menu composed of several choices of flavored soju. While soju pairs well with many kinds of meat, jokbal is said to be best. Jokbal, or braised pig’s trotters, is usually served in large portions, making it perfect for sharing amongst friends. The only tough decisions you’d have to make would be to order the spicy or classic version of jokbal. Wrap up a piece of jokbal in a piece of lettuce with some shrimp sauce and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a wholesome meal.
What’s your favorite anju?
As always, drink responsibly!