In South Korea, the two most popular alcoholic drinks are undoubtedly soju and beer. While some people choose to drink copious bottles of beer or shots of soju, others mix the two into a smooth cocktail known as ‘somaek.’ Here, we will take a deep dive into how to make good somaek. Then, we will learn about some somaek food pairings, as well as Korean drinking culture tips.
Lifestyle and Culinary Tips
In videos or photographs depicting meals in South Korea, have you ever seen a black bowl or pot sitting in the center of the table? You may have noticed that, on one hand, these bowls contain stews, such as doenjang or kimchi jjigae. On the other hand, maybe they contained a soup such as samgyetang or a custardy egg dish named gyeran jjim. In Korea, this black pot is known as a ‘ttukbaegi’ (뚝배기). Here, we will take a deep dive into how people use the Korean ttukbaegi, where to buy these pots, and how to maintain them.
For those new to Korean cooking, you may have seen or heard references to the Korean ‘onggi’ (옹기). In English, people translate the word ‘onggi’ as a ‘Korean earthenware pot.’ On the Korean peninsula, pottery has been used since prehistoric times for tableware and food storage–The earliest known onggi on the Korean peninsula dates back to around 4000 to 5000 BC. As such, the onggi is an important part of both North and South Korean traditional food culture. Here, we will take a deep dive into how people use the onggi, where to buy these pots, and how to maintain them.
Undoubtedly, the most common ingredient used in a typical Korean households’ kitchen is soy sauce. Yes, many recipes use condiments such as gochujang and doenjang, but soy sauce is added into almost everything–From braised dishes and pickled foods to soups and stews, soy sauce is an integral part of building the Korean flavor profile. For Korean cooking beginners, picking out the correct soy sauce for particular recipes can be a daunting task. This guide is meant to help you navigate purchasing and using Korean soy sauce.
In South Korea, popular fruits from around the globe, such as oranges, strawberries, and bananas, are commonly available. Unfortunately, many native fruits to South Korea are not as easy to find in other countries and continents. Below, I listed some popular types of Korean fruit to look out for. On one hand, you may find these in your local grocery or Asian market. If so, definitely make sure to try them! On the other hand, some of these fruits may only be available if and when you travel to South Korea or other East Asian countries!