Flavours of Korea

Mini-Glossary to Some Basic Korean Dishes and Terms

Anju Appetizers or drinking snacks or nibbles -- a tapas-like array of dishes or bowls of nibbles spread out on the tabletop to dip into -- usually savoury, pungent and strong-flavoured foods that help promote a healthy thirst, to be quenched with copious amounts of soju, makkolli, or beer.

Chongol Korean one-pot stew, usually a combination of meat, fish, beancurd, and/or vegetables, often cooked at the table over a burner. Similar to Japanese sukiyaki.

Gui Barbequed or grilled food, often cooked at the table over a burner or charcoal. Pulgogi or bulgogi, Korean style marinated barbequed beef, is the most famous -- and most delicious -- such dish.

Guk or Tang Boiled soup or stew.

Jon Batter-fried vegetables, meat, or fish. Pajon -- green onion pancake -- is the best known of many varieties.

Kalbi Short ribs, either barbequed or braised in soy sauce.

Kimchi Virtually the national dish of pickled vegetables, usually first salted, then seasoned. There are countless varieties, though the most common consists of salted Korean cabbage, layered with garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, and salted or fermented fish, shrimps, or oysters. Some say kimchi is an acquired taste: we say it is one well worth acquiring.

Kochujang Hot chilli and bean curd paste which is one of the staples of the Korean kitchen.

Kujolpan Nine-sectioned lacquerware dish filled with mixtures of meat, seasoned vegetables, fish, and pancakes: another example of elegant refined palace food.

Maeuntang Korean "bouillabaisse" -- an outstandingly delicious hot and spicy fish soup that contains great chunks of any variety of fresh fish, stewed with chillies and kochujang.

Mandu Korean dumplings, filled with ground pork, kimchi, spring onions, and bean curd, usually poached in a richly flavoured beef broth.

Muk Mung bean or acorn curd, made into a jelly-like slab, to be marinaded with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilli. Rather rubbery and bland in texture but nice accompanied by hot, sticky rice.

Namul The generic term for seasoned vegetables, sometimes served raw, stir-fried, lightly steamed, or boiled. Namuls are served at every Korean meal, and are made with any number of vegetables, as well as with wild roots, sprouts, stems, and leaves.

Naengmyon Cold buckwheat noodles.

Pab Rice, the everyday staple of Korea.

Pibimbap One of the classics of the Korean kitchen, a one-dish meal consisting of a mixture of rice and any assortment of cooked cultivated and wild vegetables, perhsps some meat, a fried egg, and topped with a generous dollop of kochujang.

Pindaettok This mung bean pancake is another favourite street food or drinking nibble, cooked and served piping hot off the griddle and usually filled with ground meat, bean sprouts, chillies and fresh coriander.

Saengsonhoe Raw fish.

Pokkum Stir-fried or braised dish: nakchibokkum, stir-fried baby octopus is a popular drinking food.

Shinsollo Splendid medley of meat, fish, vegetables, gingko nuts prepared in a special Shinsollo pot kept warm with charcoal in its chimney. A dish formerly eaten only by royalty.

Twoenjangtchigae A mouthful of a name for a pungent and unforgettable soy bean paste soup that is virtually the soul of Korean cuisine -- deeply flavoured and scented, this simple soup is an everyday staple, as essential as rice and kimchi.

Tubu Tofu or beancurd.

Yukhoe Korea steak tartare -- raw ground or finely chopped beef marinaded with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame seed and served on bed of shredded Korean pear.

© Marc Millon

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