Here I’ve picked 12 pictures that show a variety of the food that over the past year – for various reasons – I considered worthy enough to take a picture of! (I don’t always remember to take a snap. I’ll try harder next year.) Anyway, in no particular order, here’s the list.
1. According to traditional Korean medicine, we should eat COLD food in winter and HOT food in summer (see samgyetang). So here’s some icy makguksu (cold buckwheat noodle soup) to get us going in the winter of 2013. The broth has a savoury, vinegary, mustard flavour with sesame seeds and seaweed. Yum.
2. Healthy TV snacks for us this winter included dried persimmon, raw chestnuts, jujube berries, and rice cakes. Mr Kim doesn’t really like any of these foods, so I ended up eating all of them myself 😕
3. At Lunar New Year, it’s tradition to give gifts. The shops are full of all sorts of gift sets from walnuts to washing powder. I received this set of sesame oil, canola oil, tinned tuna, and ham. Thank you.
4. In May we went to a green tea festival held every year in Boseong in the south of Korea. Like many other tourists, we felt the need to queue up at a restaurant for a bowl of green tea noodle soup. It didn’t taste good and the broth was bland – it tasted particularly bad since we had had to queue up. I think it is just a gimmicky tourist attraction – not recommended.
5. I am a fan of street food. And if I see something new I want to try it. However, here’s something I liked the look of but didn’t try – strawberries (and bananas) on sticks. I should have tried the strawberries but I didn’t. And now I regret it.
6. Working around Seoul city this year I’ve got to sample a variety of coffee shops to fill in time in between classes. This peanut butter and banana sandwich with green lea latte was adorable.
6. I was given this cake by a student. It’s a sponge cake with chestnuts. It’s bought by the slice and each piece comes individually wrapped in plastic! It’s the sort of thing I wouldn’t go in a bread shop and buy myself, but it tasted good.
8. In Britain I always thought that beer should be served with salty snacks – peanuts, crisps, etc. If you order an alcoholic drink in Korea you will (99% of the time) be given some kind of snack to go with it -drinking without food is not the done thing. But the snacks or side dishes are often SWEET – it’s not unusual to order a plate of fruit in a pub to go with beer. (I still don’t think beer and fruit go together, though 😕 ) These snacks were colourful, and pretty sweet as usual – like sugary crisps. But even though I know they are too sweet, the colour and shapes are so tempting that I can’t stop eating them!
9. I’m always drawn to trucks selling various snacks. This one is selling rice crackers.
10. For a crunchy, sweet Korean hangwa snack at Chuseok Harvest Festival, I like these sweet potato cakes.
11. Of course we need some sashimi in this list somewhere. I love the presentation of this raw abalone and jeoneo sashimi (hichory shad) both served on sesame leaves – jeoneo is a fish eaten in autumn.
12. OK this was my ‘Halloween’ lunch at work (well it was around that time anyway) – fried mushrooms (taste good like they have been fried in wine) with runny egg sandwiches. Tasty but hard to eat. It’s the pumpkin juice on the side that makes it seasonal 😉 The juice, which has the consistency of soup, has an uplifting colour and tastes good too. This was my first experience of a pumpkin drink. (My lunch is ordered for me so I never know what’s coming – keeps things interesting!)
So here were some common snacks and dishes from this year. Next year I want to expand my culinary experience. So watch this space. 😉