Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A home cooked Korean meal

After a freezing week in Korea, it's good to be back in sunny Singapore! What started out as a work trip evolved into a winter vacation with close friends.

We arrived on a Monday morning, took the airport bus (I love the airport shuttle service. It's cheap, reliable and comfortable ) to Insadong to meet our friends, dumped our baggage at Pine Suites, a traditional Hanok that overlooks the Changdeok Palace in Bukchon, before heading out the door.

This is my fourth trip to Seoul yet I always find new things that impress me. This time, it is the underfloor hydronic heating system. Assumed to be invented in the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D. 668), the "ondol" heating system originally worked by heating a stone under the floor from the smoke of a fire built at one end of the room. These days, hot water pipes are used instead.

I think it is a safe and fantastic way to stay comfortably warm. I used to dread taking showers during winter but in Korea, the ondol keeps the entire house so cosy that you don't step out of the bathroom shivering.

Korea is famous for their cold winters, so we came prepared with lots of warm clothes. The temperature dropped to -14 degree C on our first day, so it was nice to start the trip with a home cooked meal. EY's sister had kindly invited us for lunch at her house. She's such a fabulous cook, we were thoroughly spoiled by her hospitality.

Fried dumplings.

The mashed potato balls were the best I've ever had.

Kimchi made by EY's mother.

The beef stew had chestnuts, almond and cashew nuts in it. Perfect for a cold winter day.

The Koreans eat a lot of fresh salad but their vegetables are so fresh and crunchy, they are nothing like what we eat in Singapore. The onions are so sweet and crispy, they don't taste like onions at all. The texture of the sprouts is crispy yet firm. I'm determined to grow even more sprouts to make my own salads at home.

An interesting kimchi made using cucumber and dried fish.

This calamari dish was really yummy. The stuffing is a mixture of glutinous rice and vegetables.

It is a tradition to serve soup with rice cakes and dumplings during the new year and we had the privilege to enjoy a bowl each. We were supposed to eat up everything in the bowl but I was too stuffed to eat up all the rice cakes.

After a hearty meal, we made our way to Naksan Rampart.

To be continued....


Petunia Lee said...

The food looks so professional!!

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Looks so good.. I would love to find the recipe of the calamari dish and the salad sauce!

Blur Ting said...

OKC - I made the calamari yesterday but it wasn't the same. I used cooked glutinous rice (you know the breakfast food type?) and mixed in some chives and stuffed in the squid. Must use really thick and fat squid because when you cook, it will shrink and the stuffing will be squeezed out. I steamed lightly and cut up before dipping in egg. Maybe must coat with some flour first before dipping in egg. Mine just didn't look the same as this.

Blur Ting said...

The salad dressing had ground sesame in it. It was really good. I could eat the salad all day.