I'm a big fan of trying different cuisines and love making Thai and Indian dishes (among others) at home, but I've never been interested in trying Korean food because I've always assumed I don't like it. To be fair though, I'd never really given it much of a chance, so I bought a few Korean ingredients (like kimchi and gochujang, a red pepper paste) and chose a few recipes to test out!
(Sorry in advance for the instagram pics, that's all I had for these dishes!)
The idea of fermented cabbage didn't appeal to me that much, but I forced myself to try a piece of kimchi on its own and actually kinda liked it! So I decided to start simple with kimchi fried rice:
I used a recipe from the Kitchn, which I liked because it added some extra greens to the dish. The only changes I made were to add some salt and pepper for seasoning and cook a fried egg instead of scrambled. It was super easy to make and I thought it was a great introduction to Korean flavours. I'm not crazy about fried rice in general, and I can't say I was CRAZY about this meal, but I still happily ate it all.
Next up, I tried kongnamul bap (beansprout rice bowl), which is kind of like a fancier version of kimchi fried rice, with the addition of bean sprouts, mushrooms, and a soy sauce dressing.
I used mushrooms instead of beef and topped my bowl with a fried egg, as Kevin from Closet Cooking recommends. I liked the extra textures and flavours that the vegetables added, but did find the soy sauce very overpowering, and I'm not a huge fan of soy sauce. I'm not sure I'd make this again any time soon, but I think that's just because of my personal preferences.
I had higher hopes for my third attempt, jap chae (or Korean glass noodles), as it's supposed to be a very popular dish, and I generally prefer noodle dishes to rice dishes.
I had a really hard time finding the sweet potato noodles needed for this dish, but after reading the label of every single kind of noodle in the Asian market, I finally found them in a box against the wall on my way out! They were kind of strange and chewy, but I liked them! And the overall dish was definitely my favourite of the three; the flavours were pretty basic, but I liked that it was a bit healthier, and as I said earlier, I love noodles so much more than rice!
In the end, I don't think I can say I'm now converted to a lover of Korean food, but there are still a LOT of dishes I haven't tried yet, and I've learned that while I might not love it as much as other cuisines, I at least don't have to be afraid of it! I'm not sure how much authentic Korean food I'll get to try in Seoul as I have a feeling that by the end of our exhausting days I'll just want to grab something from the food court and go fall asleep in my room, but I'll be sure to update you all on my eats when I get back! (And if you have any recommendations for something I should try to get while I'm there, let me know!)
Now would also be a good time to note that I'll have limited time for blog activities while I'm away, so I won't be able to post anything next week and might be slow in responding to emails and comments, but I can't wait to get back and start working on holiday recipes!