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Past Webzine
WINTER 2008 Vol.22 No.4
Kimchi
Beauty of Korea
Byeoru (Ink Stone)
Background and Development of Korean Kimchi
Kimchi Ideal Health Food for a Well-being Lifestyle
Regional Influences Create Wide Varieties of Kimchi
Sharing Kimchi with Consumers Around the World
Seoul Hosts XXII World Congress of Philosophy 2008
Poet Ko Un “I am my own future!”
Archery Craftsman Yoo Young-ki Blends Strength with Resiliency
Elegant Earthenware Figurines Reveal Silla’s Spirituality
Magnum Korea Exhibition Images of Korean Society’s Diversity
Kevin O’Rourke Passionate Translator of Korean Literature
Sung Shi-yeon A Humble yet Forceful Presence at the Podium
Jeongseon’s Natural Beauty Endures the Passage of Time
Yaksik Rice Cake Tasty and Healthy Treat
Korea Delivers with Speed and Agility
Dance of Exorcism at the Fringe of Existence
AUTUMN 1993 Vol.7 No.3
  Feature
  Table Setting and Cookery
  Han Pok-chin
Professor of Traditional Cooking Department
Ch'unchon Professional College
Text-Only in EnglishPDF in EnglishPDF in JapanesePDF in Spanish Single Column Print Advanced Search
 
WHEN we lake a careful look at Korean food, we find a close cultural exchange between Korea and other Asian countries. Common characteristic; of Korean dietary culture and that of China and Japan are easily found; the form of the meal based on rice is an example. However, in spite of some shared characteristics, the food and customs of the three countries have developed in totally different directions Let us take a look at the different kinds of food, ways of preparation and custums associated with serving the foods in Korea.
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Main Dishes
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Rice, Pap
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Pap consists mainly of plain white rice, to which other grains are often added. The grains are boiled in water and then well steamed until the rice is thoroughly cooked. Sometimes, vegetables, seafood or meat is mixed with the rice. Pibim pap is boiled rice mixed with other foods and hot soybean paste.
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Porridge, Chuk
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To make porridge, whole grains or broken grains are boiled with plenty of water until they are thoroughly cooked and the mixture becomes thick vegetables, meat, fish or shell-fish are sometimes added to the mixture. Nuts and beans are also used for porridge which is mainly eaten for breakfast, as a delicacy, and occasionally offered to people who are sick. Thin rice gruel is made of whole grains of rice boiled in water and then strained.
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Noodles, Kuksu
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Noodles are usually eaten at lunch time as a simple and light food. Mainly made of the starch of wheat buckwheat or arrowroot, noodles can be divided into three different types warm noodles in hot soup, cold noodles in mid meat soup or white water kimchi soup; and noodles mixed with vegetables and meat without soup.
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DumplingSoup, Mandu and Rice-cake Soup, Ttok kuk
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Dumpling and rice cake soup, like noodles, are also served as a simple main meal On New Yeats Day, every Korean family prepared rice cake soup to offer to its ancestors. It has been the first meal of the day since early times.
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Dumplings consist of a thin pastry skin which is filled with a variety of ingredients. The contents include minced meat, kimchi tubu, bean sprouts and other vegetables, nuts, meats and seeds. Dumpling soup is particularly enjoyed in winter. Rice-cake soup is made of sliced white rice-cake boiled in meat stock.
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Shared Side Dishes
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Soups, Kuk and Tang
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Soup is the most important side dish when the main dish is rice. Soups are divided into clear soups thick bean paste soups meat stock soups and chilled soups. Soups are made with shellfish, vegetables and seaweed as well as meat. The meat is usually used to make the stock, and then vegetables are added to make soup well balanced in meat and vegetables. Especially in the soup of beef, all parts of the animal, including the bones, intestines, and the blood, are used.
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For seasoning soup salt, soy sauce, red bean paste and hot soybean paste are used. During the hot summer, chilled soups made of cucumber, seaweed, and sea tangle are often eaten.
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Stews, Tchigae
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Stews are served in one common pot and are thicker than soup. They are mainly divided into soybean stew, hot soybean stew, and dear stew. Soybean stew is most loved by Koreans, and the taste differs according to the way the soybean paste has been prepared and the ingredients added. The main additions include fish, fresh chilies, beef, anchovies and various vegetables. Hex soybean stew also include fish, tubu and many vegetables. Clear soup is seasoned with salted fermented shrimp and includes tuba, radish and shellfish.
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Instant Beef Casserole, Chon-golf
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Chongol is a casserole of seasoned meat and vegetable, fried and then immediately boiled with very little water. It is cooked on a small stove near the table. Specialized restaurants have special tables with a stove in the middle of the table.
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Steaming, Tchim and Son
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Korean steaming is done by boiling the food in a soup or by cooking the food in steam. In the former method, meat like pork or beef is boiled on a small fire for a long time until it is very soft in the latter method, usually fish, shell food or shrimps, are placed on a steamer ewer boiling water. Both are called Kimchi Son is a kind of tchim, the main ingredients of which are vegetables and tubu. The vegetables include pumpkin, cucumber, anchovies and eggplant in which are boiled or steamed with other mince ingredients including minced beef.
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Salad, Saengch’ae
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Any kind of fresh, seasonal vegetable can be mixed with seasoned soy sauce, hot soybean paste cc mustard to make a salad. Other ingredients include sugar and vinegar, so that the taste is both sour and fresh vegetables like radish, lettuce, cucumber, and parsley are preferred. Sometimes salads are made of seaweed, cuttlefish, shellfish or shrimps, parboiled fish before being mixed with the dressing and vegetables.
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Seasoned Vegetables, Namul
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Namul is sometimes called sukchae whim means cooked vegetables. It is the most popular Korean side dish and no meal is complete without as a large of variety as the housewife has time to prepare. Green vegetables are parboiled in hot water and seasoned with various ingredients. Other vegetables like bracken, royal fern and the root of brood bellflower are boiled, sea stoned and stir-fried. Namul should contain enough sesame oil and sesame powder to be soft and tasty. Some fresh mountain vegetables are seasoned with hex soybean paste to whim vinegar has been added. Chapchae is a dish of mixed vegetables, to which glass noodles and a little beef are added.
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Parboiling reduces the bulk of vegetables and loses fewer nutrients than other types of cooking. Sesame oil is a map- seasoning and the main source of vegetable oil which helps absorb oil soluble vitamins. Sesame powder is another seasoning which is also nutrition.
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Hard-boiling, Chorlm and Ch’o
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Hard-boiled dishes are mainly shared side dishes. Meat, seafood and vegetables are boiled and strongly seasoned to create choric which can be kept for a long time. Cho is sweeter than cborim and refers to food that has been well boiled in the beginning with starch paste added to thicken the sauce. The seasoning of cho does not need to be as strong as that of chorim. The most popular cho is made of sea mussels.
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Pan-Frying, Chon and Chijim
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Meat, fish, or vegetables are sliced, seasoned with salt and pepper and then dipped in flour and egg batter before pan-frying. Pan-fried fish is called chonyuo and all chon used to be known as chounyuwa in the royal palace. Chonyowah means “flowers pan-fried in oil” and refers to the seasonal flowers that were fried and eaten. Chon usually cooked in a sahllow pan, Chijim consists of different vegetables mixed with flour and fried in a little oil. P’yongan Province is famous for pancakes made of ground mung bean paste and Tongnae in Kyongsang Province is well known for pancakes made or spring onions and seafood, served sizzling at the table.
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Broiling and Grilling, Ku-i and Chok
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Ku-i or Chok broiled or grilled food. Meat, fish, vegetable and mushrooms are first seasoned or marinated and then put on skewers. San-chok consists of raw ingredients. After skewering tire food is broiled or grilled. Urum-chok consists of pre-cooked skeward food. Chijim nurum-chok is made of raw ingredients, which are skewered, then dipped in flour and egg barter before being cooked.
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Seasoned and Raw Fish and Meat, Hoe
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Hoe is raw or slightly cooked meat or fish which is eaten with seasoned soy bean sauce, seasoned hot soy bean paste, mustard paste of oil and salt mixture. For raw Hoe, the soft parts of beef, fresh fish such as croaker, flatfish, pomfret or oyster, and sea cucumber are used. Some kinds of white fish, octopus, squid, and shrimps are slightly boiled before being served as hoe.
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Pickles, Changatchi
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Seasoned vegetables are pickled in soy bean sauce, soy bean paste or hot soy bean pasted. The vegetables include garlic, garlic stalk, sesame leaves, radish and, cucumber. Just before eating, some of the pickles are cut into slices and again seasoned with sesame oil, sesame powder and sugar.
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Sliced Boiled Meat, P’yonyuk
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A large piece of beef or pork is boiled, converted with a cloth and then pressed. The remaining mass is cut into thin slices and eaten with seasoned sesame sauce or fermented shrimp sauce. The parts of the meat used for pyonyuk can come from any part of the animal
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Jelly, Chokp’yon and Muk
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The tough pans of beef such as the leg, muscle, or skin are boiled for a very long time. The meat is discarded and the broth is poured into square vessels, and cooled to make chokpyon. The jelly is cut into slices or small pieces and served with seasoned soy sauce.
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Muk is made of the starch form the mung bean, wheat, or acorns and it is eaten in the same way as cholpyon, sometimes adding vegetables and beef. Seasoned mung bean muk is called tangpyonchae.
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Fried Flakes, Tui-gak and Pu-gak
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Tui-gak is roasted dried flakes of kelp, sprouts of tree-of-heaven, or walnuts. Pugak is prepared by frying potatoes, chilies, sesame leaves, laver and leaves of the tree of-heaven, which have all been thoroughly dried.
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Beef or Fish Jerk, P’o
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Meat po is usually made of beef seasoned with soy sauce and then dried fish po is prepared by drying the whole fish or by drying slices of the flesh seasoned with soy bean sauce. Pol-lack po is dried without seasoning.
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Fermented Vegetables, Kimch’i
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Kimchi is unique to Korea and is the most important accompaniment to any meal or even to a snack. Korean cabbage and/or radish is salted, seasoned with spices like chili powder, spring onions, and garlic and then left to ferment. When ready the Kimchi has a sour taste due to the presence of lactobacillus. The hot taste of the chili stimulates the appetite and help digestion. Seafood is also added as a minor ingredient to supply protein and add to the taste.
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Fermented Seafood, Chotkal and chot
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Chotkal is made from raw fish, shrimp, or shellfish mixed with salt and seasoning. The proteins and nucleic acids are hydrolyzed freeing the amino acids and giving chotkal its peculiar smell and taste. Shrimp chot and anchovy chot are mainly used as minor ingredients for kimch’i. Chot made of pollack spawn, cuttle fish, shells or oysters are used as side dishes.
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Rice-cakes, Ttok
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Korean rice cakes, ttok, are mainly divided into two categories according to the method of cooking. They are either steamed or fried, the latter being first steamed and then fried. Ttok can further be divided by the method of preparation into two types: the pounded and the shaped.
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Steamed Rice-cakes, Siruttok
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Grain, are powdered, mixed and steamed. There are two kinds of siruttok, with or without layers. Siruttok with layers has powdered red beans, mung beans, or sesame between the layers of rice powder or glutinous rice powder.
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Fried Rice-cakes, Chonbyong
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Glutinous rice is kneaded in hot water, shaped and then fried.
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After being shaped, seasonal flowers or leaves are placed on top before the cakes are fried to create hwajon.
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Shaped cakes, called chuak, are stuffed with sesame-seed powder or Chinese dates mixed with honey. The cakes are shaped into halfmoons then fried and served in honey.
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Pukkumi is glutinous rice powder or kaoliang powder kneaded in hot water then shaped in a round, thin form, stuffed and fried.
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Pounded Rice-cakes, Injolmi
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Rice or glutinous rice is steamed and powdered while still hot in a mortar or a small stone powder for a long time. After pounding it is cut into shapes and rolled in powdered sesame, bean flour, mung bean flour or other flours. Sometimes mugwort is added, which gives a natural green color to the cake.
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Shaped Rice-cakes
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Floured glutinous rice dough or koliang is kneaded in hot water, made into small balls, boiled in hot water and then covered with bean flour or powdered sesame to form kyongdan.
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Songpyun is floured rice kneaded in hot water and made into half-moon shapes. These cakes are stuffed with beans, seasom, chopped of powdered chestnuts or other similar ingredients, and then steamed an a layer of pine needles. Songpyun is particularly made on the Harvest Moan Day or Chusok.
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Steamed glutinous rice flour or flour that has been kneaded with hot water and then boiled is used for tanja. The dough is rut or shaped and covered with powdered chestnuts, sliced Chinese dates or citron.
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Confectionery
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Yu-gwa
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Yugwa is also called kangjong and kkwajul. Powdered glutinous rice is kneaded, shaped, cooked, dried, fried in oil and then covered with various coating like seasam, black sesune, chopped pine nuts, grains of boiled white rice, ground grains of glutinous rice and then boiled and dried. Ground cinnamon or angeliai plant powder is added. Yugwa is divided into various types according to its shape and coating.
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Yu-milgwa
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The most representative of this class of cconfectionary is yakkwa. The cakes are made of flour kneaded with sesame oil, honey, wine and ginger juice before being fried and dipped in honey. There are different kinds of yakkwa. They are named according to their size and shape. Mandugwa is a kind of yakkwa which is stuffed.
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suksilgwa
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Suksilgwa literally means “cooked fruits.” Chestnuts or Chinese dates are boiled in honey. Another method of preparation is to chop chestnuts, Chinese dates or ginger and, after kneading them into a dough, shapes are made. The former and the latter suksilgwa are called cho and nam, respectively.
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Kwap’yon
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The flesh of sour fruit such as cherries, Chinese quince, and apricots are boiled down in honey poured into a square vessel and hardened into slices. Then, it is rut into slices and served with raw chestnuts or other fresh fruits.
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Tasik
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Powdered grains, herbs or flower powders are kneaded with honey and shaped in a tasik frame. Sesame, beans, the angelica plant, pine flower pollen and flour are also used for tasik.
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Chonggwa or Chon-gwa
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Citron, Chinese quince, ginger, broad hell flower root, lotus root or ginseng is boiled in honey malt or sugar.
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Yotkangjong
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Grains are fermented with dried barley sprouts creating wheat- gluten. Roosted beans, sesame, wild sesame and peanuts, raw pine nut or ground raw walnuts are mixed with the wheat ?gluten is hardened and cut in small pieces.
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Beverages
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Hot beverages are called cha, tea, and cold are called hwachae or umchong.
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Nokch’a
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Nokch’a, green tea, is made of dried tea leaves steeped in hot water. It was introduced during the Three Kingdoms Period, at the same time as Buddhism. But the habit of drinking nokch’a declined during the Choson Period when the national policy was to encourage Confucianism Instead of nokch’a, sungnyung, scorched-rice tea, and makkoli, a fermented rice wine, became the main beverages. But recently, nokcha has been revived and the number of people who enjoy drinking it has greatly increased. Other varieties include barley, job’s tears, corn, brown rice, or wild sesame seeds, which are roosted or pounded and then boiled in water to make tea. Ginseng, ginger, cinnamon bark, fruits of the Maximowiczia chinesis (the five tastes fruits), the Chinese matrimony vine, arrowroot, citron, Chinese quince, and Chinese dates are also used for tea.
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Hwach’ae
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Hwach’ae is a beverage based on honey. Ricecakes, glutinous ricecakes or barley-cakes are usually eaten with it. Fruits such as citron, pears, strawberries, mandarin cherries, watermelon, and peaches are also used for hwachae. Shikhae is a unique beverage made from rice, lightly fermented with dried barley sprouts. Misu or misu karu is roosted, ground, mixed grains blended in water with honey or sugar. The yellow pollen of pine tree flowers, songhwa, is also mixed in honey to make a drink.
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The Table Setting
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Table settings are largely divided into two kinds, either according to the main dish or according to the purpose of the meal.
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According to the Main Dish
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Pansang is the usual table of rice, soup and shared side dishes. The setting of pansang varies according to the number of side dishes, starting from three, and going up to five, seven, nine and twelve. The setting with twelve side dishes was only for kings and the table was called surassang which literally means “table offered to the king.”
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A setting with three side dishes is standard, so let us examine this one as an example.
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One bowl of rice, a bowl of soup and a dish of fermented vegetables are placed with three shared side dishes, each cooked differently, either broiled, grilled, deep-fried or hard-boiled. The ingredients of a meal should be as varied as the method of cooking permits.
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Traditional Korean vessels all have different uses. Each one has a special name chubal or sabal for rice, tanggi for soup, chochibo for stews, kimchi-bo for kimchi, chaenchop for cold water, and chonggi for my sauce or seasoned my sauce with vinegar.
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One set of vessels is used for each meal and for each person, and all are of the same material Cei’amic ware is for summer, and silver or brassware, which keep; the heat in, is for winter. The contents of each vessel are enough for only one person.
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Chuk-sang is a table for early morning meals or a simple meal. The main dish is a semi-liquid food like chuk, porridge, or mium, thin rice gruel. The main dish is arranged with dried side dishes, water kimch’i and dear stew. Dried side dishes like seasoned slices of meat, fish or salted dry fish are good accompaniments to chuk.
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Noodle soup, rice-cake soup or stuffed dumpling soup is often the main dish for lunch or for a simple meal. Deep-fried fish, a dish of mixed vegetables, kimch’i or white radish water kimchi, for example, are served as side dishes. When there is a big patty for a birthday, or a marriage, a large table is prepared and a separate changuk-sang is put in front of the perm who is the center of the celebration. On such occasions, the changkuk sang is called immae-sang.
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According to the Purpose
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Chuan-sang is prepared to serve wine. The side dishes are chosen according to the type of wine served. Hot food with soup, like chongol and tchigae, deep-fried fish, seasoned fish or meat, sliced boiled meat and kimch’i are all suitable.
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Kyojasang is a big table which is prepared to serve many guests during a celebration. The main dish is noodle soup, rire cake soup, or stuffed dumpling soup and the side dishes vary according to the season. Possibilites include steamed vegetables, deep-fried fish, sliced boiled meat broiled or grilled meat or fish, seasoned meat or fish, and vegetables. There should be two kinds of kimch’i from among the following cabbage kimch’i stuffed cucumber kimch’i white radish water kimchi and kimch’i pickled in soy bean sauce. For dessert, various confectioneries and a sweet beverage are separately served.
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After the meal at the wine table or at the large table is finished, a dessert table tangwasang is separately prepared. It can also be prepared to serve snacks to guests or visitors. Various rice cakes, confectioneries, and beverages are served.
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Guarding Heritage
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The ingredients of traditional Korean food and the different cooking methods have created a dietary etiquette which has been well preserved over time.
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The traditional, dietary culture of a country is important not only because it is a cultural heritage, but also because it is the most classic, essential element affecting and directing the development of the culture of a people. Dietary culture is deeply interrelated with the life of people in general. Cooking and table setting methods are also interrelated with the utensils, clothes such as aprons and table cloths, kitchen furniture like tables, the cooking fireplace and other equipment. Traditional dietary culture is important in that food plays a very strong role in forming the people’s attitude towards tradition, and hence their attitude towards the future.
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Dietary culture therefore, must be properly preserved and harmonized with modern life. The traditional Korean dishes which over time has been developed to suit the people and the climate, can only be preserved if our descendants remain faithful to tradition. These days, many Korean children prefer foreign foods like pizza, hamburgers and Cocke-cola, which they consume when away from home. We urgently need to teach them about good food and health. Dietary etiquette must become classic knowledge. Housewives should also know how to arrange a table properly so that our heritage is not lost. It should be noted that traditional Korean food in general is not suited to wide, flat dishes used in the west or colorful vessels used in Japan. Of course it is sometimes necessary to use a different style of vessel but food and vessels should harmonize with each other.
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Needless to say, a well-prepared table creates a certain sense of peace and well-being and this feeling leads to stability in the family, and so the society and the nation.
 
 
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