A typical Korean meal consists of several large dishes accompanied by as many as twenty side dishes, called banchan.

 

 

Korea

 

 

 

 

 

Until the arrival of the 20thcentury, Korea was a rural country filled with small farms.  Owing to its high population density, a multitude of villages were formed outside the main cities.  Growing, preparing and eating food has always been considered a social event, with tradition dictating that elders, superiors and guests eat first.

 

With mountains covering 70% of the country and the ocean on three sides, seafood is plentiful and moisture from the water results in the fertile soil required to grow rice and grains.  Dried cuttlefish is the most popular snack food, and seaweed is also a local favorite. Long winters have necessitated the preserving of food, and all traditional households have earthenware pots filled with kimchee, or pickled vegetables such as cabbage, radish or cucumber, soybean and chile pastes. No other country in the world has as many fermented dishes as Korea.

 

A typical Korean meal consists of several large dishes accompanied by as many as twenty side dishes, called banchan.  Food is generally cut into small pieces, which are easy to pick up and cook fast, reducing the use of fuel.  Only rice and soup are to be eaten individually; all other dishes are shared, with each person using their spoons and chopsticks to select their choices. The most common dishes are made with rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken, seafood and tofu.  Rice is eaten with almost every meal, and serves to offset the strong spice from red pepper paste, green onion, bean paste, garlic and ginger. Unlike other Asian countries, Koreans do not drink much tea, instead opting for water with their meals.

 





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