Jigae, Kimchi, Pibimpap, Bulgogi and Galbi - 46
Koreans, I think it is fair it is fair to say, are very proud people and when it comes to food, this is no different. ‘Kimchi’, ‘Pibimpap’, ‘Bulgogi’, ‘Galbi’ and ‘Mandoo’ are just a few of the dishes that Koreans often eat and take pride in feeding foreigners, when they visit. Korean cities are full of small restaurants, new one’s popping up all the time, many often closing months, later such is the speed with which new restaurants are opened and closed - such is the competition.
With a passion for food and a work environment where men are usually forced out of companies at the age of forty to fifty, owning a small restaurant or bar is a popular trend. Most Western friends do like Korean food and ‘Dak Galbi’ (a type of chicken and rice dish) restaurants are now even opening up in places such as New York City, as the interest in Korean food begins to be exported.
The exodus of Korean food to destinations outside of the Korean peninsula definitely seems to have started, with Korean food in America now becoming more and more popular. In New York City visit the excellent ‘Cho Dang Gol’ Restaurant Midtown West, 55 West 35th Street. (btw 5th & 6th Ave. -Phone: 212-695-8222) or Kang Suh, Midtown West, 1250 Broadway (32nd St. Phone: 212-564-6845). Dak-kal-bi is becoming more and more common throughout New York City.
I felt (and still feel) that overall, Korean food is good and like in many countries one visits, not every dish suits everyone. Nevertheless, there is probably enough to please most visitors to Korea. Korean food is similar to other Asian countries in that the food does largely consist of the staple food, rice – but content wise, Korean food is quite unique. Surprisingly for foreigners, a very high percentage of Koreans even eat rice for breakfast.
This might seem to be a little too heavy on the stomach at that time in the morning, for Westerners, compared with cereal, fruit or yoghurt, but it is what has been popular for many years and continues to be popular. Jigae (similar to a soup) and rice are popular for breakfast. I have never tried this for breakfast but I promise to in the future. It will not surprise you when I tell you that when one of my students went to study English in Vancouver, Canada, one of the first things she said she would pack was her rice maker.