The cuisine of Korea is truly the undiscovered gem of Asian cooking: a tresure trove of exotic scents and flavours. Despite the cross-cultural exchanges with China and Japan, and the significant influence they have both had on the evolution of korean cuisine, it remains quite distinct from either. The cuisines of all the countries share the balance of salty, bitter, hot, sweet and sour - the "five flavours" - but cooking techniques and ingredients create a marked culinary difference between the three.
The Specialities of korea
In korea, certain key flavours such as garlic, ginger and soy sauce lend themselves to common preparation techniques such as pickling or grilling (broiling). Then there are the signature dishes, such as Kimchi (pickled vegetables, often cabbage), Bulgogi (barbecued meat) and Namul (vegetable side dishes.)
One might expect the Koreans to stir-fry in a wok like the chinese, or eat ingredients raw like the japanese, as these characteristics would be consistent with their geographical proximity. However, the Koreans have developed their own methods of cooking, including preservation techniques that give their cuisine a unique arrayof flavours.
From mild rice dishes and delicate soups, through to pickled vegetables and fiery seafood stews, there is something wonderfully mysterious about the taste of Korean food. Whereas the flavours in Chinese and Thai dishes are easily identifiable, Korean cooking blends fresh and preserved ingredients to create complex tastes. In korea there is also a above: The method of making kimchi varies greatly from region to region, but it always contains fermented vegetables.