I was formally introduced to Korean cuisine and its food tasting experience when my friends from South Korea visited me here in Cebu in 2011. After their English studies in Bacolod, my friends, Jinyoung and Yongwoong, decided to drop by for a couple of days before heading back to their home country for work and business.
Before we move on to my long story-telling, I want to let you know that it’s so amazing on how I’ve known them before seeing each other in person. We’ve met on Twitter.
Things I Appreciate About The Korean Cuisine
I was already familiar with the Korean culture. I was once and still is, an avid follower of Korean TV programs like Arirang and MBC and had been a massive listener of Korean Pop. Not to forget the very attractive and enticing Korean dramas and movies that would definitely make you cry your heart out (even though you don’t understand what they are saying).
But the best thing about learning a new culture (except for studying and mastering their language) is trying their food. Yes, let’s talk about Kimchi and everything edible from Korea.
To those people who are trying to be adventurous with food, they always say that Korean cuisine is an acquired taste. I guess it is applicable to all cuisine, specifically those that are new to our sense of sight and taste.
For so many years, and the enjoyment of having unlimited everything (yes, most of the Korean restaurants here in Cebu offer that), the reason why I keep on coming back for more of this unique and amazing cuisine are these:
1) The table is full of deliciousness
From pickled vegetables, food paste, and if you’re lucky, soups and stews, almost everything is there on the table. Korean cuisine is primarily served with the main course, sides, soup or stew.
The rice-and-kimchi is a basic combination and is a must for Korean dining.
Avail unlimited pork belly as your main dish without thinking about the price, and sides that come along abundantly, everyone will be happy until the end.
2) It’s a fun way to eat with a large group
Take advantage of the unlimited servings with family and friends because with Korean food, the more the merrier. Price range may differ from restaurant to restaurant. The cheapest, from my dining experience, is ₱390; the most expensive is ₱999. The price is per person and it depends on what’s included.
The grilling pan will be placed at the table. If you order an earthenware full of kimchi stew or a soybean paste stew, you will circle around the food while you talk, laugh, and eat with friends.
It’s surely fun.
3) An all-around taste testing extravaganza
The Korean food can cover everything from the food pyramid. Fresh vegetables, meat, beans, oils, and more. The diversity of the cuisine will surely awaken your eyesight. The flavor will also compete for the center stage.
From spicy to salty, and bitter to sweet, your taste buds won’t get bored with the different array of taste and seasonings.
When you eat Korean food, probably it can be your first time having a dip for your grilled meat that is made up of sesame oil, black pepper, and salt. It can also be your first time to eat with lettuce wrap, or spice up your meal with pickled vegetables with red pepper paste.
Korean food can be interesting and out of this world in some cases.
4) More fun with metal rice bowls and chopsticks
Things might get overboard with you while having Korean food. Not only that the taste is something off for your preference, you can also have to try using utensils and plates made out of metal (or sometimes, ceramics).
The most challenging part as well is this: the chopsticks, considering they are metal that made them very odd, they are also flat. That is why if I bring my friends with me they always request for the usual wooden chopsticks and a fork.
By the way, the basic Korean eating utensils are a spoon for the soup and the rice, a pair of chopsticks for picking up pieces of meat and a metal bowl for the soup or for the rice.
5) “So, that’s how they taste and look like”
I am not sure, but I am guessing you have had the opportunity to watch Korean drama and series on television and have seen a Korean food or snack. The most prominent show on television that featured Korean cuisine is the Korean epic drama, “Jewel in the Palace”.
The fantasy of trying Korean food came from the urge to try them when you saw them on TV and your favorite actor or actress sample them on one of the scenes.
If you have experienced dining at a Korean restaurant near your area, leave in the comment section below where it is and I might consider going there with my family and friends.