Korean Food Choice, Preference and Taboo, Avoidance

Korean cuisine commonly championed by Koreans, as being a very healthy cuisine, the use of soybeans, many vegetable dishes, herbs with curative and moderate amounts of meats. The main characteristics of Korean diet are high protein, healthy, avoid greasy. It’s known for its spicy flavour and usually with a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, garlic and ginger to enhance the taste. Due to the farming community in the past, Korea has many varieties of dishes which vary by providence. Traditional Korean meals are usually come with number of side dishes along with rich, almost every meal.The origin of Korean cuisine can be traced back to early myths and legends that have been passed down, from generation to generation, throughout the years.

Since mid to late Neolithic period agricultural traditions began to develop and continued spread the rice cultivation. Thus, the grains become stable food in Korean culture. The Three Kingdoms Period in Korea lasted from 57 BCE to 668 CE. The first kingdom was Goguryeo, which is located in the northern part of the Korean peninsula, known today as Manchuria.

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The second kingdom, Baekje, was located in the south western part of the peninsula and the third kingdom, Silla, was located in the southeast corner of the peninsula. Each of the three kingdoms had unique cuisines that were specific to the area they were in because of the varying climates of each region. During the fourth century CE the spread of Buddhism and Confucianism from China began to change the distinct culture of Korea. As wealth increased in the cities, a rural development program in the 1970s and 1980s helped equalize the standard of living in Korea’s villages.The geographic and climate condition of Korean peninsula have had much influence in the Korean food preference and choices. The Korean peninsula extends southward from the mainland, between China and Japan. Fish and shellfish have been a major part of Korean cuisine because of the oceans bordering the peninsula which include porpoises, croaker, Spanish mackerel and Pacific herring.

Moreover the water moderate and determine its weather, which is hot and humid in the summer and cold and dry in winter, following the weather pattern known as the monsoon.The warmth and rains of summer make Korea an ideal place to grown rice, and irrigated paddy lands are visible everywhere in the country. In fact, because of Korea is so mountainous and populous, it seems that every square inch of land is used for growing something. Tiny fields appear to crawl up the mountainsides, growing potatoes and leafy vegetables that do not require flat land. In addition, since the introduction of plastics, clear vinyl greenhouses have become a familiar feature of the landscape, sheltering fruits and vegetables from the wind and cold and lengthening the growing season.Plastic greenhouses are just one of the many dividends of economic modernization, bringing better food for everyone. Since the ancient time, herbal is a wide variety of specialty foods prepared and eaten for medicinal purposes in Korea. The most common medicinal foods used in cooking are ginger, cinnamon, wormwood, Schisandra, Lycium, Radix, Campanulaceae, papaya, pomegranate, grapefruit, ginseng and other herbs.

Koreans believe the um and yang balance of the body and the warming-cooling properties of certain foods.Condiments and seasonings used to provide flavour to vegetables and other foods are also essentials in Korean cuisine. Basic component spices include onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, sesame oil, sesame with herbs. Korean rice is the main stable food and usually accompany with few non-stable food. Non-staple food mainly is soup, pickles, sauce, meat, fish, vegetables, and seaweed.

This way of diet that contains adequate amounts nutrients from variety of dishes help to maintain Korean balanced diet. Koreans are saying ‘kimchi is half of our meal’ and ‘as Korean as kmichi’ is another, describe kimchi as their basic component of food.Kimchi is a type of food made by salting and seasoning certain vegetables and often refers as fermented vegetable dishes. Using chilies in combination with vegetables resulted in a unique method of food preservation and led to the adoption of kimchi as a Korean staple. There are many variety of kimchi, from the now-common variety, made with Chinese cabbage, to those made with radishes, spring onions and other ingredients. Kimchi can be preserved for a long time and usually make enough to last for the entire winter season.

These were stored in traditional Korean mud pots.Kimchi is nutritious and providing vitamin A, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, calcium, and iron otherwise lacking in the winter diet. Its main benefit though is found in the bacteria lactobacilli, these bacteria help with digestion. Research found South Koreans eat on average of 40 pounds of Kimchi each year. Rice is another important component in Korean diet. As I had mention, rice has been cultivated as their main stable food since ancient times. It is eaten with almost every meal by Koreans whether is rich or poor.

Koreans refer rice, pap as term of full meal, they would not consider as a meal if without rice.Sometime rice cooks with other grains such as barley, chestnuts, sorghum, red beans, or other cereal for added nutrition. The rice eaten in Korea is a medium grain variety similar to that of Japan. Sometime elder Koreans are eaten rice with warm water as they believe it is much healthier and easy for digestion, however it seen less common in younger generation. Apart from the traditional white rice, rice can used to make numerous types of item.

Rice flour is used to make rice cake, over two hundred varieties in all. Finally, there is numerous rice wine made by rice.Korean barbecue or gogi gui is another popular food among Korean consumers and it has gained popularity internationally. Traditionally, different variety of raw meat prepared around the diner’s table on charcoal grills, along with other side dishes and individual rice bowls. The cooked meats is then cut into small piece and wrapped together with fresh lettuce leaves, sliced garlic, seasonings and eat. The use in garlic with raw lettuce is said to cleanse the blood and aid digestion. In Korea, dog eating considers to be part of the traditional culture of Korea with a long history.

Dog meat usually consumed during summer months. The most popular of dog meat soup bosintang is consider as medicinal properties and believe to balance the body’s heat during the summer months. It seems to be popular among a certain group of older gentlemen for its supposed power to enhance stamina and virility. However in recent years, many Korean people have changed their attitudes towards eating dog meat from “personal choice” to “unnecessary cruelty”, particularly in young Koreans and think those who eat dog are an anachronism.History of Korea in Buddhism and Confucianism struggle to control of the system of patronage had greatly influenced the food avoidance and taboos.

Buddhist monks study the scriptures when outlawed to Korea’s mountain temples after the Yi dynasty. They develop a ‘mountain cuisine’ that has become the foundation of Korean cooking today. For example, anything that strong smells such as garlic and scallion, did not feature in temple cuisine. Meat is forbidden to the Buddhist monk in Korea, which includes dog meat.Another major food taboos from the Korean tradition is medicine and the principles of yin and yang, or um and yang as it is known in Korean.

In order to achieve good health, the food you eat need to achieve balance between the um and yang forces within the body. Generally speaking to maintain balance, your diet should include neutral foods, such as plain rice, in combination with yin and yang foods. If there is an excess of either um or yang, will lead to one become overweight. The principle includes the concepts of hot and cool food.Among hot foods may be listed oily and fried food, pepper hot flavoring, fatty meat and oily plant foods like peanuts. Water plants, crustaceans and especially crabs, beans and certain other legumes are cold food. Cold foods would aggravate a common cold while hot foods were bad for a fever. In recent years, majority of Koreans have avoided to eat dog meat particularly young Koreans, although it was eaten nationwide in the history.

A recent survey by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture showed that 59% of Koreans aged under 30 would not eat dog (Korea animal rights advocates, 2010).There is also a large population of people in Korea that do not eat or enjoy the meat, and feel strongly that it is the right to against the practice of eating dogs. Animal rights activists in South Korea protest against the custom of eating dog meat. The restaurants that sell dog meat do so, often exclusively, at the risk losing their restaurant licenses. In conclusion, food in Korea is one of the most significant Korea cultures that remain today. There are many factors that influenced Korean food preference, choice, taboo and avoidance over the centuries.Although Korea’s peninsula land area is small, but because of a long north-south geographical characteristics and microclimates has created rich resources to exchange nature resource with neighboring countries.

History and religion of Korea is another impact on Korea cooking. From small farming, fishing and hunting in the past centuries to new technologies and farming techniques today made better food available across the country. Reference David C.

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