Koreans’ representative soul food bringing back memories and happiness
Originally, soul food used to refer to traditional food that African Americans ate after hard labor before emancipation, but now it is used by everyone to mean ‘food that consoles the soul (mind or spirit)’. For this reason, we count these foods like the mandu we ate while on holidays, our mother’s kimjang kimchi, the doenjang jjigae cooked by a grandmother, and the delicious roasted chicken that father bought for the family while on his way home, the tteokbokki and sundae we ate with friends after school, and even ramyeon, which is the staple food and snack for all Koreans, as the representative soul foods for Koreans.
Koreans’ soul food from the viewpoint of foreigners
CNN selected the top 40 ‘soul foods that Koreans miss the most.’ What is the most common soul food of Koreans in the eyes of foreigners? Patbingsu (red bean shaved ice), the must-have choice for summer desserts, was No. 40, ppeongtwigi (rice puffs), a memory of the congested highway, was No. 38, and gimbap was No. 25. Tteokbokki was No. 11, ramyeon No. 7, chimaek (chicken + beer) No. 6, jajangmyeon No. 5, samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) No. 4, and kimchi No. 2. The first place went to ‘haejangguk,’ the most favorite soup of Koreans. It was a foreign survey, but it is clear that a large number of Korean soul foods are included in the list.
‘Kimchi’, always there when you need it
Kimchi, the representative soul food of Koreans and the icon symbolic of K-Food. A meal without kimchi makes us feel that something is missing. It is difficult to make kimjang (making of kimchi for the winter), but even if there is no kimchi in the refrigerator, we never fail to buy more. Freshly cooked rice and ripe kimchi will enable you to finish a bowl of rice in the blink of an eye. When we eat well-cooked ramyeon, and when we eat well-grilled samgyeopsal, ‘kimchi’ is the best match that will help you feel refreshed inside.
Still Korean! The moment you get homesick! ‘Kimchi’
One of the main joys of overseas travel is to enjoy delicious foods in a new culture. Various dishes, made with local ingredients, unique seasoning and new cooking methods, make us very happy. But the moment you become fed up with all sorts of delicacies, that is, when the foreign foods are no longer welcome, isn’t it the kimchi, which you have in your suitcase, that will help you regain your appetite?
Hot ‘jjigae’ that fills your hunger and empty soul
We have dissolved fermented doenjang made of soy in soup and boiled it with meat or vegetables ever since the Goguryeo era. Thousands of years of history of not being able to do without guk, tang or jjigae may now be ingrained in our genes. So even though we may have all three meals in restaurants, we still want to eat home-made food with jjigae at least once a day for some reason. Did you have a hard day today? Are your body and mind tired? Steaming, freshly cooked rice and savory doenjang jjigae or spicy kimchijjigae will warm your insides and help you to relax your mind.
Convenient but nicer and more delicious today’s jjigae
Is it burdensome to prepare jjigae after work? How about HMR jjigae for an occasion like this? If you have a child who is not yet accustomed to spicy tastes, the savory doenjang jjigae with beef brisket will be good, and if you have some leftover pork, kimchi jjigae that can bring out the deep taste of kimchi to life will be just right, too. If not, thick budae-jjigae, which is similar to that served in a restaurant in Uijeongbu, is recommended.
Crispy, spicy and energizing ‘chicken’
Chicken is the best snack in Korea. Some even say jokingly that between birth and death, there is always chicken. Fried chicken, which first appeared in the 1950s in Korea, became the most affordable snack because chickens can be raised in large numbers. Various types of fried chicken with variations, such as spicy, sweet and salty, are widely known as ‘chimaek’ and enjoyed with beer, and ‘somaek’ enjoyed with soju. After World Cup 2002, chicken became popular as a ‘festival food’, enjoyed during sports games and on the beach during vacation. Korean chicken makes everyone who eats it together, happy and energized, and is becoming part of K-Food that has captivated the taste buds of people around the world.
No more waiting to order food on the phone! Only 8 minutes is enough
On a leisurely weekend, we need to catch up with our favorite TV series, watch the movies we want to see, and all family members can watch a soccer game on TV. At a time like this, ‘chicken’ is a must. If a whole chicken is too much for you if you are alone, and if you can’t wait for the chicken you ordered to be delivered, Gourmet Chicken is recommended. Whether you want hot spicy chicken dipped in cajun chili sauce or sweet & salty soy sauce with boneless crispy chicken and crispy nuggets. All of them take only 8 minutes to be prepared!
The food you eat today is your soul food of tomorrow
These days, teenagers and people in their 20s are exposed to a great deal of fast food, restaurant food and delivery food. Hamburgers, pizza, ramyeon and tteokbokki are ranked high on their list of soul foods. These foods are transformed in various ways depending on the taste buds of different generations. Some of them are so spicy that they are considered ‘hellish’ to taste, and fusion foods with tons of cheese are also very popular. Furthermore, the people of this generation love chicken so much that not only ‘chicol’ and ‘chimaek,’ but also ‘chibap,’ i.e., cooked rice mixed with chicken seasoning, are very popular. In this way, although we have different tastes and preferences, we regard kimchi, guk, jjigae, chicken and tteokbokki as our soul foods perhaps because all of us have agreed that we are living in the same age, have the same culture, and are now creating a new one. We enjoy these foods together, and we are living the best way we can right now. The warm home-made food, the lunch we had with our friends, the lunchbox we had in the office, and the ‘hot’ menu feature we ate in a new restaurant may become one day another soul food that will bring back ‘today’ and comfort us when we are tired and worn down someday in the future.