Cooking, South Korea

Korean food: Bulgogi

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The late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti noted in his biography that: “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” I have met people in my lifetime who honestly don’t care about or care for food at all, and whose daily activity of consuming nourishment is more of a hassle than anything else. I don’t get how those people function. I love food. With a passion. I have a never-ending appetite for edible deliciousness of every spice, flavor and concoction. Naturally, one of my favorite actives while traveling is eating. You can learn a lot about a culture from their food, and even more if you watch them prepare it.

This weekend I attended a Korean cooking class in Jongno, to learn how to cook the Korean dishes gimbap and bulgogi. My mum did this when she was visiting a friend in Shanghai a couple of years ago, and I’ve always thought that it seemed like the perfect tourist activity if you’re visiting a new country and culture.

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I am head over heels in love with Korean food. The flavor and the extensive use of kimchi is not for everyone, but it certainly works for me. Needless to say I was excited to learn how to cook some of the dishes I eat on a weekly basis, and I was not disappointed.

So, today I decided to try and see if bulgogi made at home would taste as delicious as the one we made in class, and in the process share the very simple recipe with you all!

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You’ll need:

150 gr Beef (Sirloin or tenderloin)
1/2 Carrot
1/4 Spring onion
Handful of mushroom (I used king oyster mushroom)

2 tbs Soy sauce
2 tbs Sesame oil
2 tbs Pineapple juice (optional)
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Minced garlic
Sesame seeds
Pepper

Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, pepper and water together in a bowl. Slice beef into thin, long pieces. Cut carrot, onion, and mushroom into pieces, and make sure that the carrot slices are as thin as possible (if they’re too thick they wont be cooked properly). Put the vegetables and meat in a bowl and mix in the sauce. Let marinate for 10 minutes. Cook in a pan on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add sesame seeds on top and serve. Easiest recipe ever right?

When you eat bulgogi at restaurants in Korea, it’s usually accompanied by various side dishes and a bowl of fresh lettuce leaves. Fill a leaf with bulgogi and eat it as a wrap for a more fresh, and super-delicious meal.

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Have you ever eaten Korean food? What’s your favorite dish?

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