It's officially that time of the year! The air is cooler, the leaves are beginning to fall, and sweater weather is slowly rearing its head around the corner. The spookiest month of the year has rolled around once again, and this Halloween it won't be the cool breezes that give you the chills. Here's a list of 5 Korean horror movies you should dive into this Halloween.
Fans of the K-Entertainment scene could recognize this thriller instantly, and for good reason. The Wailing was insanely successful upon its release, winning an impressive thirty awards for directing, acting, cinematography, and of course the work as a whole. The Wailing follows police officer Jong-Goo as he investigates a strange string of murders caused by a disease that drives its victims to homicidal outbreaks, and eventually death. Tensions are raised, and panic sets in as he realizes that his daughter is showing some of the same symptoms. Racing against things he doesn't understand, the audience is strapped in alongside Jong-Goo as he tries to find the source of his daughter's illness and extinguish it before its too late. The Wailing is gripping at every turn, with a strong story that you don't want to look away from. It's a must watch for the spooky season.
Based on the grim Korean fairytale of Janghwa Hongryeon jeon (장화홍련전 or The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon), this early 2000s horror flick takes the already creepy foundation and cranks the scare factor up to a thousand. The movie tells the story of Su-mi, a teenage girl just released from a mental institution, headed back home to her sister. Only, it's not a happy reunion as she was hoping. Faced with the hauntings of her family's past, and an evil stepmother; the audience watches as Su-mi navigates her way through the nightmarish home while trying to protect herself, and her sister from its evils. Though the fairy tale had been adapted many times before, it was Kim Jee-woon's adaptation that gained the most attention. It became the highest grossing Korean horror film and the first to be played in American theaters. It also inspired an American remake titled The Uninvited that missed the mark for both domestic and international audiences.
Lee Jong-suk is known for portraying the hero you can't help but swoon for. With heart throbbing, and recognizable roles in dramas such as W -- Two Worlds, While You Were Sleeping, and Pinocchio, V.I.P showcases the renowned actor in a new and terrifying light. In this thriller, Lee Jong-suk plays the son of a high ranking North Korean official. He's accused of taking part in a string of murders that stretch across the South and North Korean borders. His father's high ranking status makes him practically untouchable and to catch him South Korea's lead detective pairs up with a disgraced police officer from North Korea to bring the killer down. V.I.P is action-packed and stocked full of twists and turns. It's a grand game of cat and mouse that will have you questioning who is chasing who up until the very end of the movie.
New, and creative ways to terrify an audience is cool and all but nothing tops the classics! The third installment to the Whispering Corridors anthology, Wishing Stairs follows in the creepy footsteps of its predecessors to the highest point of terrifying tales (literally). From jump scares to ghosts, dangerous deals to rotating heads; this movie is bound to leave you sleeping with the lights on for a few days. Centered around a creepy urban legend of a twenty-ninth step that grants wishes, our protagonist finds herself living a nightmare after her wish for a spot in the ballet takes a dreadful turn. Yun Jin-Sung's story will leave you wary of making deals (and also of stairs). Oh, and if you're worried about watching the Whispering Corridors anthology out of order, don't be! Each film is separate from one another and tells a different story featuring a different cast of characters. But you could sit down and stream all four in one go. If you dare.
It wouldn't be a haunting list of Halloween movies without a school ghost story, now would it? Mourning Grave follows the story of In-Soo, a boy who can see ghosts and forms a (not as weird as it sounds) relationship with a female ghost who haunts his new school. But this isn't a quirky comedy about a young boy who falls in love with the undead. There's another, much darker, spirit that looms over the school. Known as the masked ghost, this resentful spirit torments the students of In-Soo's school and one by one they begin to go missing. It's up to In-Soo to find out what happened to the masked ghost, and why it's so angry before its too late. The film stars Kdrama stars Kang Ha-Neul, and Kim So-Eun which offers a nice change of pace for the Kdrama fanatic.
Sadly, this list has come to an end but there are so many terrifically terrifying Korean movies out there to last you all year! These are just a few of those great ones that we hope you'll enjoy. From ghostly hauntings, urban legends, murder mysteries, and so much more; these 5 films will make you triple check your locks at night. Happy watching!
Maangchi shares recipes of the various dishes and makes learning recipes fun. She often talks about the background of the dish and the season it is eaten in Korean culture. She also shares her memories of eating certain foods while she lived in Korea and making the dish for her children. Maangchi also includes commentary while cooking that'll make the audience fall in love with her. If watching videos while you cook isn't your thing, she has a website that has all her recipes.
Asian at Home with Seongkyoung Longest has hundreds of recipe videos, as well as vlogs of her cuisine travels in Asia. This channel is full of Korean recipes that are easy to follow and quickly draw you in. Before you know it, you will have spent all night watching her delicious recipes and end up drooling at your computer screen. Seongkyoung also has a large selection of Asian cuisine recipes that are just as entertaining to watch. Seongkyoung also has her own website where you can find all her recipes.
Future Neighbor is a fun and relaxed channel to go to learn Korean recipes and get a good laugh. Daniel and Katie serve up easy to follow recipes with a dash of humor. Each recipe has a difficulty rating that is shown in the video after the introduction. They scale the recipe on an easy, medium, or hard range so that it can help viewers choose which dish they want to try. They also have a playlist of vlogs that include them traveling to different cities and enjoying different dishes. Just like the previous two channels, Future Neighbor also has a website for easy access to their recipes.
These channels will hopefully help you satisfy those pesky cravings… and maybe you can impress your friends by preparing them their favorite meal.
When planning a dream vacation, some may look forward to sightseeing or museums the most, but for a foodie, street food is where it’s at. There is no better way to experience a country’s culture than when enjoying its street food. Whether you’re walking around the city during the day or night, you can always smell or hear something inviting you in for a taste. Street food in Korea can be described in three magic words: quick, cheap, and delicious. Here are some popular Korean street foods you MUST try the next time you visit Korea:
Hotteok is best described as a filled Korean pancake. Some places offer a savory option with a japchae filling;however, the original, sweet hotteok will always be a fan favorite. The original hotteok is filled with a brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnut mixture. The beautiful crispy, golden brown exterior is appealing on its own; however, when you take that first bite of sweet, sugary, and nutty goodness, you will be left wanting more.
There’s something about the smell of freshly baked bread that leaves a smile on your face. Gyeran-bbang is one of the most popular winter street foods. “Gyeran” means egg, while “bbang” means bread. Put it together and voilà! You have Korean egg bread. Some describe the bread as a sweet, cornbread-like flavor - just without the corn. The addition of a whole egg certainly makes this snack both hearty and filling. Be sure to eat it while it’s still warm to achieve maximum satisfaction!
For all the chicken lovers out there, here is the dish for you. This Korean style popcorn has a perfectly crisp exterior, is cut in perfect, bite-size pieces, and is covered in sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. To complement the crispy chicken pieces, some places include rice cakes for a slightly crispy and pleasantly chewy texture. Don’t bother looking for a fork because this addicting dish is meant to be consumed with a toothpick.
Think these cute fish pastries look very similar to the Japanese taiyaki? You’re correct! Bungeoppang (Bung-eo-ppang) is the Korean word for taiyaki. Traditionally, this fish’s pancake-like exterior is filled with red bean paste, but people today are filling them with all different kinds of ingredients such as matcha, ham and cheese, chocolate, and Nutella. Even bungeoppang ice cream cones are becoming more popular. They also come in tiny fish sizes. Not only are they adorable, but you can also eat a ton of them and not feel too guilty.
If you are looking for a simple, light snack to warm you up, this is the dish to try. Eomuk guk (or odengguk) means fish cake soup in Korean. Usually, when one buys eomukguk, they get a fishcake skewered on a stick with a cup of light, savory broth.
Tteokbokki is a very popular street food dish, known for its tender rice cakes, covered with a mouthwatering sauce that is both spicy and slightly sweet. Often, slices of fish cake or ramen would be incorporated into this dish as well. This dish is a snack that is perfect to have in any season and at any time of day.
Pajeon is not anything like your regular pancake. Unlike traditional American pancakes, the main component of Korean pancakes are vegetables such as scallions or green onions. A popular choice is haemul pajeon, or seafood Korean pancake, which can have clams, oyster, or squid. The vegetables and seafood are mixed into an egg mixture and pan-fried until each side is beautifully golden brown. Don’t let this pancake fool you. Although it looks light and healthy, it will fill you up fast.
Soondae is a Korean blood sausage filled with pork blood, glass noodles, and rice. There are many ways to eat soondae. Some dip the popular blood sausage in gochujang or a sauce of the owner’s creation, while others eat it plain. In the drama Strong Woman Bong Soon, Bong Soon orders soondae with soybean paste. This unique Korean blood sausage may sound strange, but it is worth a try.
Korean toast is perfect for an on-the-go breakfast. This breakfast sandwich is comes packed with ham or sausage, finely sliced cabbage, carrots, cheese, egg, and ketchup. To add an extra taste of happiness, sugar is often lightly sprinkled on top of each slice of buttered toast. Korean toast is all you could ever wish for in a breakfast sandwich.
Hodugwaja is a Korean walnut cake, similar to a bungeoppang with a different shape and filling. Not only does the filling have red bean paste and small walnut pieces, but the whole pastry is shaped like a walnut, making it fun to eat and easy to travel with. A bag of these walnut cakes is the perfect snack during the cold Winter nights.
Beondegi is boiled or steamed silkworm pupae. Although beondegi seems like a bizarre street snack, it is quite popular in Korea. Some people describe beondegi as having a nutty taste, similar to that of boiled peanuts. This snack is served in a small cup with a toothpick to eat with. If you are feeling adventurous and are looking to get your protein for the day, try some beondegi.
Korea knows how to do hot dogs right. The plain Korean hot dog has mozzarella cheese for an extra touch of savor and panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch. After frying, the hot dog is rolled in sugar and topped with ketchup and mustard, making this snack the perfect balance of sweet and savory. As if the cheese corn dog wasn’t enough, Korea also has a french fry corn dog. That’s right. A hot dog dipped in batter, rolled in french fries and fried. Korean hot dogs are a food lover’s dream.
Those are just a dozen must-try Korean street food snacks. The street food culture in Korea is vast. Which Korean street food snack is your favorite? Be sure to comment down below to let us know.
Korean fried chicken is known around the world, it’s been popularized by dramas like My Love from the Star and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. Though, we’re not here to discuss the popular beer and chicken combo known as Chimaek (치맥). There’s many mukbangs (먹방) or eating shows dedicated to this specific kind of fried chicken known as Dakgangjeong (닭강정). But what exactly is it?
First, we need to talk about Gangjeong. It has been around for a long time. It’s a traditional Korean dish that consists of hollow rice puffs made of rice, spices, and peanuts. Gangjeong is served at important events like weddings and Korean New Years, just to name a few; while Dak Gangjeong is more of a street food that can be bought on any occasion. Dak means chicken in Korean; Dakgangjeong is essentially crispy chicken. Some people call it popcorn chicken or even chicken nuggets. It really depends on who you’re talking too.
DakGangJeong is downright heavenly. Not too heavy but still very filling. There’s a variety of flavors too, depending on the place! From spicy to vinegary, even garlic flavored; there are various mouth watering flavors. It also doesn’t have bones, so all of you boneless wing fans out there can rejoice. Looking at the Instagram hashtag for a split second will leave your mouth watering.
For those who plan on visiting the L.A. County, Koreatown, Los Angeles is the place to go if you want to try this delicious dish but can’t afford to travel all the way to Korea. There’s a restaurant that makes some of the best Dakgangjeong in the area. The GangJung is on the third story of the MaDang Courtyard, a place always populated by people of all ages. They also have regular fried chicken on their menu but the DakGangjeong is really worth a try.
If you want to take a try at making Dakjeongang in the comfort of your home, I recommend Maangchi’s recipe. She’s a delightful cooking teacher that comes from Yeosu, South Korea. The dish can be made from different parts of the chicken such as chicken breast or the drumstick; however, in her tutorial, she makes the dish by using the wings. As long as you use chicken and you have the crispy Gangjeong along with it, then you have Dakgangjeong. You can find her recipe here or watch her cooking tutorial on Youtube. She demonstrates how to cook the chicken step by step and gives great advice in order for people to get the best of her recipe. So, now you know what you have been missing out on.
HOT CHICKEN (BULDAK) RAMEN! What isn’t there to love? Spicy noodles, quick to cook, easy to eat in a pinch. Koreans love ramen, and you can too! Especially if you are the type that REALLY loves spice!
This year, I received my first official Korean food to try - ramen! For my birthday, my mom got me 5 different types of hot chicken ramen to try, and I was thrilled to try each one of them! I’ve watched so many videos about Korean food, and have seen people talk about how spicy it could be, but I never once thought that it looked very spicy. However, I didn’t realize that this ramen was the “Hot Chicken Ramen,” which people even do spicy ramen challenges with! Here are my impressions on the 5 types of ramen I got, and how they tasted for me.
Regular Hot Chicken Ramen was the first one I tried. It was unlike ramen that I’ve had before because the noodles had a slick texture which made for easy eating. The spice level for me was more than anything I’d ever tried before. It was as if I had eaten a chili pepper with a hint of noodles. For someone who’s never eaten a chili pepper, I wasn’t prepared for the spice level that accompanied the noodles. As soon as I took a bite, my mouth was on fire. But I kept eating them, hoping that eventually the pain would lessen, and that I would then be able to enjoy these noodles. Overall, my first experience with any Korean food was definitely different! If you enjoy heat, then these noodles are definitely good to try.
Cheese Hot Chicken Ramen was the second flavor I tried. I decided to only put half of the sauce onto it to try and make the spice level less destructive on my mouth. Honestly, that didn’t help at all. I couldn’t really taste the cheese flavor past the spiciness of the noodles, but I’m sure it was there. Since it was only my second try at eating ramen, I couldn’t tell a difference in the spice level between this ramen, and the regular hot chicken ramen. If you enjoy the subtle hint of cheese in your noodles, then these would be a perfect fit for you.
Curry Hot Chicken Ramen was the third flavor. This was honestly the best ramen I tried out of all 5 types. It was the one that was the least spicy and actually tasted a bit sweet. At first, I was skeptical because of how spicy the other two were, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this ramen. The texture of the noodles was the same as the other two - this was nice because I had gotten used to the texture of the noodles when using my chopsticks, so it was less difficult to pick up. Based solely on how this ramen tastes, I would definitely try curry, since I’ve never tried curry before! So if you enjoy curry, or would like to experience what curry tastes like, then these noodles are for you.
Stew Hot Chicken Ramen was the next one to try. The directions stated to put the sauce in the water and boil it with the noodles. This one was different than the rest because I had to keep the liquid in the bowl after boiling it. I think that made this ramen extra spicy, since the spice got cooked into the noodles when boiling. Out of the first 4, it was definitely the spiciest, and I personally would never eat it again. If you enjoy spice, this one should be really enjoyable; otherwise, not so much!
2x Spicy Hot Chicken Ramen was the last one for me to try. I wasn’t excited at all to try this one after watching so many people try this and say the spice is unbearable. Even after I had prepared myself to eat it, I was still very nervous. Most of the ramen I had already tried was extremely hot for me, so this one could be super bad if I wasn’t prepared! As soon as I put the ramen into my mouth, it was on fire! I felt like my teeth were melting from the spiciness of the noodles! I was only able to eat about 3 bites before I quit. Honestly, I don’t think I could ever eat these again since my mouth was on fire for at least 10 minutes after I ate one bite. Hopefully though, if you REALLY enjoy spice, you will love these ones. I know I won’t, but there are people out there who can handle it better than I can.
Overall, this experience with eating different ramen flavors was really enjoyable. I finally understood why so many Koreans eat ramen all the time. I didn’t know what was in store for me when I started this journey, but I’m really glad I did it! I’m not one who takes spice lightly, so I hope that by reading this, it can show you which ramen might be best for you to try depending on what you like!
Ah yes, one of the things Korea does amazingly: festivals! One of the most traditional Korean festivals is the Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival. This is an annual festivity that occurs around late September to early October every year and, by the end of this article I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s quite the spectacle! The event takes place for 2 weeks from October 1st - October 14th and is held to honour and commemorate the thousands of Koreans who sacrificed their lives during the Japanese invasion in the late 16th century.
At the festival, lanterns are lit all along the Jinju Namgang River, shaped as many different characters, landmarks, and even some of Korea’s most traditional figures such as historical leaders, animals, instruments and much more! Some of the exhibitions there are even interactive and and great for taking some memorable photos.
The lighting of the lanterns symbolises the way of communication that was used during the war period, when lanterns were used as military signals to prevent the Japanese, during the Jinjuseong battle of 1592, from storming across the Namgang river. They were also used for family members to communicate with each other outside of the Jinjuseong Fortress.
There are many activities that are held during the festival to get the attendees more involved. One of the many events is lantern making. Here, the attendees are able to make their very own lanterns. On them, they write some future goals or wishes. Then later, they set them off down the river and watch their lanterns, along with many others, aglow in the dark, on the water. It’s a moment that is said to be quite a peaceful and joyous one.
There are also Wish Lanterns that can be purchased, where people write their wishes down on their lanterns and hang them up in the Tunnel of Wish Lanterns, a tunnel filled with a stunning array of thousands of radiant, red lanterns that beautifully light up the sides of the Namgang river!
Attendees also have the opportunity to witness amazing parades and performances!
Along with the many activities to do during the festival, a ferry is available during the afternoon and evening to allow people to get a closer look at the mesmerising path of lanterns afloat on the water, and take a break from the bustling crowds in the streets.
And what is the one thing every brilliant festival has? Food! There are many food stands scattered around the festival area, offering many different choices, such as, Japanese Takoyaki, Hurricane Potatoes, Skewers, Kebab, Spicy Rice Cake (떡볶이), Fishcake (오뎅) and many other street food favourites. You’ll also find some of Korea’s funky Lightbulb juice being sold there too, so make sure to grab yourself one!
Another must-see attraction at this spectacular event is the fireworks display in the evening. The mesmerising glowing scene of colour sparkling against the dark night sky really completes the whole experience!
So there you have it, everything you want and need to know about the bustling Jinju Namgang Lantern Festival! I’m sure we can all agree, this definitely sounds like a brilliant festival! With its great cultural heritage, beautiful and striking scenery, and fun activities for everyone, this festival truly is one to attend!
When the time comes to pack up, get up and go, a few items come to mind to never leave behind. Clothes? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Phone charger? Obviously. Believe it or not, snacks are just as important!
Whether traveling by road, rail, or air, a good travel snack has the power to set the tone of the journey (and let’s not even get into neglecting to bring snacks at all). What better way to pass the time between scenery, sleep, and that not-always-guaranteed conversation?
Best case scenario is bringing along a selection that taps into cravings for something sweet, something salty, and everything else in between; but in case of a limit, here’s a list of 8 Korean snacks to take along on your next trip.
You didn’t think you’d heard the last of our beloved Honey Butter Chips, did you? There’s no slowing down for these semi-sweet snacks with a satisfying crunch. Grab a bag to share or keep them all to yourself. We won’t judge!
Not exactly the deep-fried version, but this delicious oniony snack will have you playing with your food in no time. Eventually, you’ll eat it, too. How many can you fit on your fingers before the taste is too hard to resist?
Pretzels may be another travel tradition, but it doesn’t mean they’ve gone stale. This snack is one that turns tradition on its head. Take a break from the hard, breaded biscuit that you’re used to, and try out these twisted puffs with a coat of salted caramel glaze. Don’t eat them too fast, you’ll definitely want to save some for later!
Still at a loss for what to bring along for the ride? Try a mixed bag with the help of a SnackFever box! They’re perfect for road trips, and if you can’t bring the whole box, the snacks inside are easy to toss into a carry-on. Prep for your next adventure by ordering one today.
What are your favorite K-snacks to munch while traveling? Leave a comment below to let us know!
Sometimes when you travel, you need a little something to really make your trip pop!
Going back and forth to Korea for the past 3 years, if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that South Korea does not fall short of festivals or parties. If you're traveling to the land of some of the biggest festivals in Asia, here are 5 festivals to check out in Seoul and Busan. Can't make these this year? Not a problem! These festivals are selected so you can plan your future trip accordingly! *Note: Dates change every year so be sure to check the dates on the official links when you go!
1. Busan International Film Festival Running Oct 4th - Oct. 13th
One of biggest film festivals in Asia - if not the biggest film festival in Asia takes place for almost 10 days at all of the major theaters in the city (mostly in Haeundae and Centum City area). There are screenings for both international and domestic films, a BIFF shop, and so much more; it is insane! This is a cannot miss festival for movie buffs, and I am personally excited about the opening movie this year. Tickets information can be found HERE on BIFF's official website along with other details for the events.
2. Seoul International Fireworks Festival and Busan International Fireworks Festival Seoul's IFF on Oct. 6th, Busan's IFF on Oct. 27th
I put these two together because of obvious similarities, but I have only been to Seoul's annual fireworks show. And a show it is! Fireworks accompanied by lights, lasers, the whole multimedia sha-bang that reminded me of Thunder of Louisville, the firework show from my hometown - only bigger and brighter!
Taken place along the Han River at Yeouido Hangang Park and perfected since 2000, there's everything from food trucks, events, performances, a market and so much more starting at 1 PM. The opening ceremony is at 7 and will feature more than 100,000 fireworks. My tips if you choose to go are to bring something with sleeves to be able to put on (mosquitos and sometimes a wind chill) and to take the subway as there will be roadblocks for buses. Check out Visit Korea's site HERE for performance times and more info.
If you decide to go to Busan's festival which will have similar activities and set up, it takes place at Gwangalli Beach between the Busan Aqua Hotel and Homers Hotel. You can find out more HERE ,and admissions to these are free!
3. Jeon-ju Bibimbap Festival Running Oct. 25th to Oct. 28th
Stepping away from Seoul and Busan, I have only been to one festival outside of these two cities, and that is Jeon-ju's Bibimbap Festival. It is a whole 3-day long event dedicated to just bibimbap! This is where I learned everything I know about one of Korea's most famous rice dishes.
This is a place for cooking competitions, sampling different recipes from all over, and even where you can learn to make a huge bowl of of the dish yourself during the United Bibimbap opening event. And I mean huge. There's plenty to see, eat, do, eat, try and eat during this festival. What makes it better is that it is held in Jeon-ju Hanok Village and Korean Intangible Cultural Heritage Hall. Admission is free and starts at 11 AM, but note that some programs and event do charge so be sure to check the official website HERE for details before you head down.
In Downtown Seoul, along the water path of CheongGyeCheon Stream that stretches for 1.2 km, the 10th anniversary Seoul Lantern Festival will take place. This year's theme, "Seoul Dream, Flowing Light" will feature hundreds of lanterns made by local artists and those from all over the world, broken up into 4 different categories: Sparkling Memories, Dreaming of a Future, Traditional flow, and New Dream. Some known events are contests both at the festival and on social media, making your own lanterns, sending of wish lanterns (the ones released to fly), and much more. The event is free but some participating events may have a fee so be sure to check it out HERE.
Last but not least, one of my personal favorites is the Busan One Asia Festival! Busan One Asia Festival is a huge K-pop event full of concerts and exhibitions for everything Korean including fan meetings and so much more. There's honestly so much to do here that it can't be summarized. A few announced performers for the opening and closing concerts are EXO, Wanna One, Seventeen, NCT 127, Celeb Five, Mamamoo, EXID, GFriend, Dynamic Duo, Red Velvet, NCT Dream, and more. And don't forget other groups and artists will be performing throughout the festival as well. Check out the official website HERE for more, and also check out this great opening and closing awards concert package deal for foreigners from TRAZY HERE (it includes round trips to and from the station to the concert, a bus tour, coupon book and more). Prices vary!
And there you have it, my 5 favorite Fall festivals that are a must if you are in Korea. Again, all of these festivals happen every year so it's okay if you can't make it this year; there's always time to plan a trip for next year! Are there any favorites for those of you who have been to Korea? Or do you have a list of festivals you would like to go to? If so, leave a comment below telling us! We love updating our travel itineraries with new places and events.
If you go back to any of the K-Dramas you have seen, there is this one scene which is pretty common: a mother coming to her child's house bringing a big bag full of plastic containers with food to stock up the fridge. All that food you see is called banchan. So what exactly are these colorful, bursting with flavour array of dishes?
Banchan (반찬) which in English translates to side dish, are served as accompaniments with the main course. They are an integral part of the Korean cuisine, from simple meals made at home to a full spread at celebrations, they are always — always — there. These dishes can be had as a meal all by themselves.
These scrumptious dishes can be traced back to the mid Three Kingdom period. They are said to have been the product of Buddhist influence. The dominant Kingdoms had adopted Buddhism as the state religion, which led to a nationwide ban on eating meat. With meat out of the picture, vegetable dishes became the primary aspect of meals. Court kitchens developed a variety of methods for preparing, cooking, and presenting these dishes to the Kings. More simple dishes were developed by the less affluent or common people. With the Mongol invasion, the proscriptions on meat ended. Even though meat became a part of the staple diet again, nearly six centuries of a primarily vegetarian fare had left its mark on Korean cuisine.
The best way to get to know banchan is by grouping them into various categories depending on the preparation technique. Almost all the side dishes fall under these categories : kimchi and jangajji (장아찌, fermentation and pickling), namulmuchim (나물 무침, steamed, marinated, or stir-fried vegetable, herb or greens), bokkeum (볶음, stir-fried), jorim (조림, simmered in a seasoned broth), jjim (찜, steamed) and jeon (전, pan-fried pancake-like dishes)
Kimchi This is the essential banchan of a standard Korean meal. Some Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi. It is the national dish of Korea. Kimch is made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings, including gochugaru (chili powder), scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood). It is said that there are over 150 varieties ranging from vegetables, seasoning, and region.
Namul Muchim Namul means vegetable or root; muchim means to season. For namul any type of vegetable, herb, or green can be used. The ingredient includes roots, leaves, stems, seeds, sprouts, petals, and fruits. Mostly the vegetables are blanched before being seasoned but the preparation method can vary; they may be served fresh, boiled, fried, sauteed, fermented, dried, or steamed. Namul can be seasoned with salt, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, doenjang (soybean paste), gochujang (chili paste) and many other things. The dishes can vary according to season.
Common dishes :Kongnamul (seasoned soybean sprouts), Sigeumchi-namul (parboiled spinach dressed with sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce) etc.
Jorim In Korean, jorim means “simmer or boil down.” For these, ingredients such as fish, seafood, meats, dubu (bean curd/tofu) and vegetables are simmered in seasoned broth until the liquid is absorbed or reduced down. These dishes are usually soy sauce based, but gochujang or gochugarucan also be added, especially to fishes such as mackerel or cuttle fish. Common dishes: Jang-jorim (soy sauce simmered beef), Dubu-jorim (simmered tofu) etc.
Jjim Jjim refers to dishes made by steaming or boiling ingredients that have been marinated in a sauce or soup. In Korean cuisine, this technique originally referred to dishes cooked in a siru (earthenware steamer). Meat, chicken, fish, or shellfish are usually the main ingredients. They are marinated and put to a boil with a small amount of water. Various vegetables and seasoning are added for enhanced flavor. Common dishes: Gyeran-jjim (steamed eggs), Galbi-jjim (braised short ribs).
Jeon Jeon are pancake like dishs made by seasoning fish, meat, vegetables, etc., and coating them with wheat flour and egg wash before frying them in oil. Some are sweet desserts such as hwajeon (flower pancake). Common dishes: Gamja-jeon (potato pancake), Pajeon (scallion pancake).
Kimchi (김치), the national dish of South Korea, is a name almost synonymous in the country with eating a meal. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a meal is not considered complete without a side of kimchi. For those unfamiliar with this fabulous dish, (let us give you a bit of background,) kimchi is made up of salted fermented vegetables. In its most popular form, it is made of salted fermented napa cabbage, carrots, radish, scallions, and a paste made usually from garlic, chili powder, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce. This popular form is called tongbaechu-kimchi (통배추김치.)
Throughout the county of Korea, there are hundreds of variations of this fermented dish, and the ingredients can vary greatly by region or season. Kimchi has been around for over 2000 years, but in its humble beginning, it resembled more of a pickled vegetable than the red, spicy version we are used to today. The current form was not invented until the 17th century when chili peppers were introduced by Portuguese traders. Even then they were not widely used in kimchi until the 19th century. Traditionally stored in clay pots buried in the earth called onggi (옹기), the making of kimchi was and still is a time for bonding among family members. Recipes are handed down through families that date generations back. (If you would like to know more about the different types of kimchi click here.)
Although no longer as common to store kimchi in clay earthen pots, it is still customary to get together to make large batches as a family or a community. Traditional kimchi festivals are held in Korea around late October or early November. Historically this was the best time to store it in the buried ceramic pots as the weather turned cold.
Today a large portion of the Korean population lives in apartments making the usage and burying of onggi difficult. To offset that, the kimchi refrigerator was invented to keep it at the perfect temperature throughout the fermentation and storage process. Kimchi is best fermented at a cool 2 to 7°C (35.6°F to 44.6°F) and stored at 0 to 5°C (32°F to 41°F). It can be eaten at several stages during the fermentation process. For every person, when to eat it is a personal preference. Some prefer it freshly made while others at at different stages in the fermentation process. Whatever the preference keep in mind that the longer kimchi ferments the sourer it becomes.
Apart from being a great tasting dish, kimchi is also known for its health properties. High in vitamins and lactic acid, it is used in diets to maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation in the body, and was even thought to help in the fight against the SARS epidemic. This tasty food is not only eaten as a side dish but also used in other Korean dishes like seafood pancakes or haemul pajeon (해물파전), kimchi stew or kimchi-jjigae (김치 찌개). It's also a popular flavor for ramen noodles or added to fresh ramen. (If you would like to know more about the many other types of Korean side dishes click here.)
These are only a few of the uses for kimchi which has become a global phenomenon. It has been featured in many global cuisines from toppings on hamburgers, tacos, hot dogs, sandwiches and pizzas to added flavor in fried rice, hummus, and deviled eggs.
From a restaurant in Florida serving kimchi quesadillas (http://www.chimikimchi.com/) to kimchi covered hot dog in Toronto, Canada (https://fancyfranks.com/), the uses and flavor of this unique dish have caught the attention of the world. However you decide to use it, this amazing dish has multiple applications and looks to be around for many years to come.
Many of you probably already know about kimchi, maybe have seen it or have eaten it. If you've only heard of this wondrous dish or maybe want a more in-depth guide to kimchi, check out "Korea's National Dish: Kimchi."
Now, you might be thinking; "What do you mean kinds of Kimchi, there is only one!" This where you will be pleasantly surprised.
First off, let's talk about the common kimchi you've most likely seen in restaurants and on television known as whole cabbage kimchi. It is paired up as a side dish with almost everything for all meals of the day. It can also be used in many delicious main dishes.
Personally, when I go out to get some Korean BBQ, I love this specific type of kimchi grilled; it brings out some more of the hidden taste. There are also different variations to this side dish like adding apples, salted fermented shrimp, and even meat! Depending on the region in South Korea, this kimchi is made differently. For example, Hamyeong-do is close to the sea so they add in fresh fish or oyster as an ingredient. Gangwon-do stores the kimchi for a more extended period. You can even add any ingredient you want and make it more you.
The next one is radish kimchi, which is also a common dish. There are two kinds of radish kimchi, the red seasoned (very similar to the whole cabbage kimchi) and then there is the white pickled kimchi. The red kimchi is what I find to be perfect for a hot day, its crunchy spice is refreshing however it is usually in season or known to be eaten in late autumn (when Korean traditional radish is harvested). On the other hand, the white kimchi which is much sweeter and sour is used as a cold side or even eaten as a soup.
Now I have to take a few steps back and introduce white kimchi. The reason I gave this kimchi a solo piece is because it is also quite popular with children and the elderly. Red kimchi can be way too spicy and strong for such sensitive palates, instead, this is used to introduce the taste of kimchi to children. It is saltier and has a stronger vinegar taste than the spicy kimchi. People love to make broths with this specific dish or add it to their soups.
Cucumber kimchi, ah, the beautiful spring and summer reminder. It is perfect for the heat but can be eaten in any season. It ferments much more quickly than the other kimchi dishes. This kimchi pairs up reasonably well with rice dishes but not much of a great combo to put in soups or hot broths.
A simple kimchi that has a hot and spicy taste is green onion kimchi. This kimchi is simple to eat and many people prefer to add a fishy taste to it by adding fish sauce or fermented shrimp with it (like the over many variations). A delicious recipe is adding this kimchi into a Korean pancake batter; earning a perfect salty, spicy, soft and subtly crunchy combination.
These are just some of the many kimchi dishes out there and even more by how different each region prepares them. Have you heard of any of these specific kimchi dishes before? Maybe you have heard of more and have a favorite? Comment below if you do! Sharing is caring!
This is just one of the many side dishes if you want to know more mouth-watering side dishes read about them from this article on Banchan!
New platforms have come and gone for the world to connect with one another. Whether it's through social media or through a new messaging app, people have gained the access to connect with their friends and people with the same interest with a simple click of a button. In 2010 the internet company Kakao launched a new messaging app named KakaoTalk, an app that would connect individuals from all corners of the world.
The popular app, KakaoTalk features free talk, text, and video messaging for those who can download the app. The application is available for iOS, macOS, Android, Bada, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Windows NT, and Nokia Asha. This messaging app has become very popular not only among Koreans but also worldwide; it has allowed people to find friends with common interest no matter how far you are from one another. Another exciting feature that has made them popular, especially among the youth, are the characters that come along with the application; a few of you may know them as Ryan, Apeach, Tube, Neo, Frodo, Jay G, Muzi and Con. These characters are not only mascots for the messaging app KakaoTalk, but they are also characters in which any ordinary individual can oftentimes relate to. Each cute and lovable character has their own unique personality and were even welcomed guest at this years KCon.
Ryan, who happens to be the leader of the Kakao Friends, is a maneless lion and the member who never really seems to smile; although his emotions can be interpreted through the position of his classic straight eyebrows, the rest is left to the imaginations of everyone else. He is among the most popular of the Kakao Friends who was just as cute when he was a young cub.
Apeach is a genetically modified peach who loves an adventure and finds comfort in causing mischief. The cute little peach is infamous for looking like something entirely different when showing off his backside but that won’t stop Apeach from having the time of its life.
Muzi is a Korean yellow radish in the disguise of a rabbit; this Kakao Friend is seen with the most mysterious of the Kakao Friends, Con. Con is an alligator-like friend who is believed to be the creator of his companion, Muzi; these seem to be enough of an explanation as to why these two odd friends are always together.
The next of the friends is Neo, the sassiest and most stylish of the friends family. Her hobbies include shopping and accessorizing herself with pearls, her glasses and her signature bobbed wig. Her main priority, however, after shopping is her preppy boyfriend, Frodo.
The only one of the Kakao Friends who seems to have a job is no other than Jay G, our mole friend. He is a secret agent who like many of us has our own idols and inspiration. You may have figured out that Jay G’s biggest inspiration is the famous hip-hop artist, Jay Z. But, don’t let his serious appearance fool you. The cool secret agent is actually a sensitive mole that simply asks for some love.
Our next friend is Tube, a cowardly duck with prosthetic feet. Like many of us, this duck has his insecurities which is why he wears prosthetic feet in order to hide is very small ones. He is the only one of the Kakao Friends who has an alter ego; when this friend is upset he has the ability to turn into a hulk-like duck who breathes fire. I’m sure many of us have felt this way at some point or another when we have our bad days.
And now, it is my pleasure to announce the newest additions) to the Kakao Friends family! Twin penguins, Kero and Berony. These mischievous little ones are always causing trouble while they look for their mother. However, these little cute penguins are no ordinary penguins as they hate the cold. This probably explains why they can’t find their mother, they can only last 30 minutes outside of their homes before they hurry back to be near a fire!
The wonderful world of Kakao is available to almost every individual in the world in any form and shape. Whether it’s through the app or through beauty. These cute friends have partnered up with various companies including The Face Shop where you can buy their Kakao Friends makeup line; the Kakao Friends makeup line is to die for. Lotions to mirrors are available both in store and online. Their online store is also the website to search if you want the cutest products that come straight from Korea. Cute merchandise and products can be found there; Kakao now offers global delivery in 52 countries so there is no need to worry about getting your products straight from Korea. From clocks to pajamas; tooth brushes to plushies; gummies to stickers; you can find everything you need and everything you want on the Kakao website. The online store of Kakao is a place where your inner child can roam free; a place where you can buy almost anything in the form of your favorite Kakao Friend. So pick a favorite or pick them all. Grab a buddy and explore the world of Kakao.