The official one year mark since I started living in Korea is fast approaching, and one month after that I’ll be moving away from the place I’ve called home this past year. It’s been such an incredible adventure full of high highs and low lows and a lot of pleasant in-betweens. I am so, so grateful that I took the leap in coming here all those months ago. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten to see so much of the world, I wouldn’t have met so many great people, and most importantly I wouldn’t have been able to try so much insanely delicious Korean food.
I mean, I know we have (fairly average) bibimbap in Canada and the occasional place that serves bulgogi (but if you’ve been here a while you know Laura and I wouldn’t turn down for that), but none of it holds a candle to the food you can find on any street corner here in Korea, and for so cheap too! The local food scene is awesome and so full of dishes and treats that one year in I still haven’t tried a lot of it. I’ve been too busy eating my favourites! Yes, there are definitely some foods I really do NOT like but on the whole, I love Korean food. If you want a laugh, this video of Korean girls trying American snacks for the first time is full of them. To be honest that’s how I feel about a few Korean snacks too, but in general the food is very good.
One of my favourite new discoveries this year was kimchijeon, which is a kind of savoury kimchi pancake. While probably not the most nutritious thing you can eat (although my students insists kimchi cures cancer!), it is absolutely delicious. Here, you can get it at a lot of restaurants or even at the grocery store sometimes, but I started getting nervous about what I would do without my Kimchijeon fix when I’m back in Canada! So I decided to try and make it for myself at home. Fortunately, it’s very easy to make and not time consuming, as long as you have some yummy kimchi on hand. In Korea, families make kimchi at home once a year, for the year, and it is a very labour-intensive process. But lucky for us, we can just buy it at the grocery store!
Kimchi Pancake (kimchijeon)
Adapted from Maangchi
- 1 cup chopped kimchi
- 3 tbsp kimchi juice (the liquids in the bottom of the jar of kimchi!)
- 2 tbsp chopped white onion
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
Mix all the ingredients together into a bowl with a spoon, so that no lumps of flour remain. Heat a couple glugs of oil in a large pan (I used canola oil). Add in the batter and spread it out in the pan with the back of a spoon. The oil should be hot enough that the batter hisses when it hits the pan!
Cook for about a minute or so per side, or until crispy and slightly browned. Flip carefully!
I like to eat my kimchijeon with some soy sauce or with a bit of melted cheese on top. Yum!