A typical meal in Korea is one in which everyone shares many different side dishes. This sharing reflects Korea’s collectivist culture where individuals identify themselves with the group and tend to the groups needs over his or her own. On Tuesday, November 5th the Valley Café provides the opportunity to join the Korean dining experience made largely up of grains, vegetables and meats.
Grains can be found in the early myths of Korean kingdoms. Rice, however, is not indigenous crop of Korea; it was brought to the area during the Three Kingdoms Period of the first century. In some areas, rice was considered such an important commodity that it was used to pay taxes. Today, a traditional bowl of white rice is essential to a meal. Vegetables like Korean radish, Napa cabbage and cucumber are often served alongside rice in salads or stews and stir-fry dishes. It’s also common for medicinal herbs such as ginseng to be used as ingredients.
In general, meals in Korea contain less meat that Western or Chinese cuisine. Chicken and pork are an important source of protein in a Korean diet and Koreans like to use all parts of the animals in a meal. Beef has always been the most prized of meats because cattle is viewed as essential to the home for labor and as a member of the family. Beef has not been eaten very often until recently. Fish and seafood are popular especially in the coastal areas since Korea is located on a peninsula in the Indian Ocean.
Korean food has become more popular around the world because of its health benefits and this week many of these elements of traditional Korean cuisine can be found in the Valley Café menu! Join us for lunch on Tuesday from 11:30-1:30 to taste the rich, unique culture of Korea.
(Picture courtesy of visitkorea.org)