South Korean cuisine evolves through a complex interaction of environmental, political, and cultural trend. Seaweed, for example, is common in the meals in South Korea whose three sides are surrounded by oceans. A popular dish in South Korean sitcom, fried sauce noodles (jajangmyeon), in fact, is originated from the north part of China.
Unlike traditional western meals, typical meals in South Korea are generally not served in courses, but all at once. Usually, there are many side dishes (banchan), which are laid out together on the table. Steamed rice that should be served with the soup is also the foundation of most Korean meals and Kim chi is the vegetable staple served with nearly all Korean meals in the south. Kim chi will often be consumed at lunch, dinner and even breakfast.
Based on the concept that medicine and food originate from the same source, Korean cuisine in the south, emphasizes a balanced diet. In addition to balancing the portions of meat and vegetables, the "five colors" concept is also taken into account, while preparing a meal. "Five colors" refers to red, yellow, white, black and green, which are the colors you should expect when eating a formal Korean meal. South Koreans believe that food with different colors contains different nutrients, and thus the health benefits are increased.
Food with red color is believed to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. Red chili pepper can be found in the South Korean meal very often as a "red" food. Food with yellow color is believed to help detoxify the bloodstream and thus Corn and banana are often used. Foods with white color are believed to help maintain the health of the heart. Examples of white foods are the Daikon radish and pears. Food with black color is believed to help speed up the metabolism. Black sesame seeds and mushrooms are used in many instances as black food elements. Foods with green color are believed to help strengthen kidney and liver. Spinach and cucumber can often be found in a typical South Korean meal.
In spite of being based on the same theories of color variations, dishes from different regions in South Korea vary in tastes. In a nut shell, the dishes from the southern part of the country are more pungent and the dishes from the northern part are more delicate and the taste more subtle. There was a time when Korean food from the North took on its own special characteristics, but unfortunately, the North is just too impoverished and food much too scarce now. Most of the traditional North Korean foods are no longer found in the North, except for a few specialty restaurants in Seoul.
My love of Korean food and especially preparing Korean cuisine led me to design this website with the intention of sharing the same experiences and culinary delight that I have found in the cuisine from South Korea. The recipes here are a true representation of the lifestyle and richness of South Korean food culture. I hope you enjoy them, "jal meokkesseumnida!" (잘 먹겠습니다)