Located at southeast of Seoul, Icheon, Gyeonggi-do is famous for their rice cultivation. When we drove up to visit a friend I thought it’d be a good opportunity to try one of the restaurants serving rice and side dishes. But instead, we ended up on a narrow country road in which our GPS led us. There stood a little shaggy place with a sign saying that they serve food. Not just any kind of food but their speciality: fish soup with noodles.
Last November, a few friends and I decided to go on a spontaneous bike trip to Youngsan-gang, a river running through the province of Jeolla-do. I mentioned number of times on my blog that Jeolla-do is the mecca of traditional Korean cuisine. Nowadays, it is a popular tourist destination not only for foreigners but for Koreans from other provinces as well. Living in Daejeon, the center of South Korea, it is just an easy two-hour bus ride to Gwangju, the largest metropolitan city of gourmet province.
The province of Jeolla-do (전라도) is known as a mecca of Korean soul food and home to traditional namdo (southern provinces) fares. Many foodies around the country travel down to the southern region for good foods and history behind them. Our 3-day hiking trip in winter Jirisan ended near Gurye, a small town located at the southwest corner of Jirisan National Park. After only having quick meals in the snowy mountain for three days, I craved for a nice, warm, home-cooked style meal with some makgeoli.
Visiting old, traditional restaurant always excites me. I get to take a peek at the culture and history behind not only the food but the neighbourhood where the restaurant first settled in. My hometown Daejeon is situated in the center of South Korea and is more known as a transportation hub than gourmet destination. However, it will still be worthwhile to visit a restaurant that is registered as the first dine-out restaurant in the city.
Our weekend bike trip to Youngsan-gang (영산강) was a great way to end this season. I haven’t been riding much since the eastcoast ride I had done over last Thanksgiving week. My bike had been sitting in the corner of my yard and was literally being covered in spider web. So being able to take her out again and into the nature was amazing despite the damp weather on Saturday.
Ipha (입하: beginning of summer) was on 6th of May this year which means summer has officially arrived. It is still a bit cooler at night but during the day the heat is already unbearable. It is times like this when you are vulnerable to cold viruses and that is eventually how I suffered almost five days with a strong cold. I was stupid to wear thin layers on the days when it seems like summer but the temperature drops after sunset. On a Wednesday after work, I dragged my sick body to grab me a bowl of samgyetang (삼계탕) – a traditional Korean soul food that is well known for effectively restoring stamina.
No surprise, Koreans love their kimchi. A soup made with kimchi called kimchi jjigae (or kimchi chigae) is probably one of the most beloved soul foods in Korea. Every Korean household has a container full of basic cabbage kimchi in their fridge which can be stir-fried then boiled to become a delicious pot of kimchi chigae. It is easy to make and so versatile that I might not be exaggerating to say that every Korean family may have their own version of unique kimchi chigae recipe.