My first taste of Korean cooking was from a nook at SM Makati’s Foodcourt called “Kimchi”. It was more than 15 years ago but I still remember how I devoured the Korean beef barbecue that I ordered. It was so good that whenever I go there, I just ordered the same food. It wasn’t until I was in my last year of college when I first tried “kimchi”. I guess I was so hesitant to try it because of the smell. It just happened that I like hot and spicy food that made me try this Korean staple.
When I came here, I had no idea whatsoever how to cook Korean foods. I didn’t even know what constitutes a Korean meal. It didn’t take me a long time to learn, though. I just opened my mind and accepted the fact that we can’t afford to eat out everyday and that I’ll have to learn how to prepare home-cooked meals for the two of us and for the occasional visitors.
A typical Korean meal consists of three or more side dishes called “banchan”, rice (“bap”) and soup (“guk”) or stew (“chigae”). “Banchan” or side dishes may be any of the following: “namul” or vegetables, meat or fish simmered in sauce (“jjim” or “jorim”), broiled or barbecued dishes (“gui”), pan-fried dishes (“jeon”). Unlike Western meals, desserts are served along with the main meal.