K-Dramas. K-Pop. K-Fashion.
The K-wave is taking all Filipinos by storm as the South Korean culture continues to invade the realms of Philippine entertainment. But this wave is just getting bigger with one latest addition to this Korean craze: the Korean food.
The spicy flavor that is predominant in all of Korean food has surely appealed to many Filipinos that Korean restaurants are popping here and there like mushrooms.
Long queues of people savoring to experience Korea in their taste buds have become a normal scene in our country. In Cebu, these restaurants are most often found along the streets of AS Fortuna and Gorordo, and in Ayala.
To those who are curious to find out the taste of Korean food, below are the most popular choices you can find in every Korean restaurant. But to those who have already tasted it, let us help you relive that moment when your tongue first lit up from the splurging spice in tasting the Korean food in your mouths.
The staple in Korean cuisine, kimchi is a side dish made of salted and fermented cabbage and radish seasoned with chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and salted seafood. With its spicy, salty, and succulent taste, it is what makes every Korean food Korean.
Over time, countless innovations paved way for different preparations of kimchi, and with this evolution comes variations of its taste. As of now, there are over 200 known ways of preparing kimchi, and it only continues to grow.
Bibimbap is a bowl of rice and seasoned vegetables with fried egg or beef on top.
The vegetables most often added are cucumber, zucchini, radish, mushrooms, and soybean sprouts.
This Korean bowl is served with a separate chili pepper paste or gochujang on a tube that the diner can add according to how much he or she likes the degree of spiciness to be. All of the ingredients are then mixed thoroughly so that every spoonful is full of the Korean carnival of flavor that satisfies the mouths.
If Filipinos have lechon, Koreans have samgyeopsal. Literally meaning “three layers,” samgyeopsal are pork belly slices served raw to the customers. Most often unseasoned, this meat is usually the centerpiece of the Korean dining experience where the customers get to cook the meat on a grill by their table.
However, the samgyeopsal experience does not stop there. When cooked, the meat can be placed on fresh vegetables rolled up to a wrap or ssam. Along with the meat, seasoned vegetables in little slices, most prominent of which is kimchi, is added, and everything is eaten in a mouthful.
All of the ingredients including the natural taste of the samgyeopsal blend together to take you into a roller-coaster of spices that can make you say, “Oomf! Korea!”
The Korean wave is not going to wane away any time soon. But no one is complaining. When it comes to food, the unique flavor that the Korean dining experience offers is a firework experience for the adventurous, a bountiful bonanza to fans, and a seductive spark for the curious to be crazy for Korea.