Joining the Taste of Korea posted a challenge on how well I know Korean food. I know there are a lot more food to taste and learn. The number of 반찬 (banchan) alone is too many to learn in one cooking session.
In Korean you say 배고파요 (paegopayo) or 배고파 (paegopa) when you want to eat or when you are hungry. The first one is polite way to say it while the next one is the casual way. You will also hear 배고프다 (paegopeuda) when someone declares that he/she is hungry.
I am always amazed by the number of food served in a typical Korean meal. The 반찬 or side dishes are way too much. Just before you know it you are full picking on these banchan even before the main dish is served.
My good friend Suhyeon treated us to a Korean dinner in one of the restaurants in Sinchon last April. The picture above shows the side dishes served. There were around 7 반찬 served. The 동그랑땡 (donggeurangddaeng – mini beef patties) in stone warmer and the 파전 (pancheon- Korean onion pancakes) were the best.
I specially request for 순두부 찌개 (sundubu jjigae – spicy soft tofu stew) since this is my favorite. Then another set of side dish were served although some of which are treated as seasoning or spice, I am surprised that another set of 반찬 was served along with the soup. Instead of the usual plain white rice what went along with the food we had is the 오곡밥 (ogokbap).
Ogokbap is actually sticky rice. It is made of five grains namely glutinous rice, millet, sorghum, black beans, and red beans. I heard that this is usually eaten by Korean families during first full moon day in hopes of peace and a good harvest.
At this point, 제가 배고파요… I am getting hungry looking at the Korean food I got to taste in the past. What I wanted to have right now is the 김치볶음밥 (kimchibokkeumbap – kimchi fried rice). To say I want to eat kimchibokkeumbap in Korean, this pattern can be used <food>을/를 먹을 거에요. 김치볶음밥을 먹을 거에요 (Kimchibokkeumbapeul mokeul koeyo – I want to eat kimchibokkeumbap). Depending on what letter or sound the food name ends you can simply attach 을 -eul for consonant ending food name and 를 -reul for vowel.
I got to taste this kimchibokkeumbap from Yoogane in Myeongdong last April. It was one of the best Korean fried rice I ever had. I got mine mixed with chicken and it was a super complete meal on its own. The pan above it humongous, I can’t imagine I would be able will finish it ~ but I did LOL!
I have never into spicy food until I became hook with Korea. Maybe it was a natural thing, me liking the country and the culture led me to liking the food as well. Honestly it is not that I like every Korean food I had before but I get to appreciate the taste itself and I slowly grew fond of spicy dishes. How about you? What is your favorite Korean food?