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Food

Traditional full-course meal
Traditional full-course meal
Of the three basic elements of life ― house, clothing and food ― the change in dietary habits has most significantly affected Koreans.

Rice still remains the staple of most Koreans, but among the younger generations, many prefer Western-style food.

Rice has been usually accompanied by various side dishes, mostly seasoned vegetables, soup, pot stew, and meat.

A traditional Korean  meal is not complete without kimchi, a mixture of various pickled vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, radish, green onion and cucumber. Certain types of kimchi are made spicy with the addition of red chili pepper powder, while others are prepared without red chili peppers or are soaked in a tasty liquid. However, garlic is always used in kimchi to add to its flavor.

In late November or early December, Korean families used to prepare enough kimchi to last the long winter. The kimchi was stored in large clay jars partially buried to maintain temperature and retain flavor.

In modern Korea, housewives often don't have time to make kimchi or the outdoor space needed to store large amounts. But kimchi is still a vital part of the Korean lifestyle: companies making the fermented dish and others selling special kimchi refrigerators enjoy brisk sales.

Baechu Kimchi (left) and Bulgogi, Korea's most popular beef dish (right)
Baechu Kimchi (left) and Bulgogi, Korea's most popular beef dish (right)
In addition to kimchi, doenjang (soybean paste), with its anti-cancer attributes, has attracted the attention of modern-day nutritionists. Koreans used to make doenjang at home by boiling yellow beans, drying them in the shade, soaking them in salty water, and fermenting them in sunlight. However, only a few families go through this process anymore; the majority buy factory-made doenjang.

Among meat dishes, seasoned bulgogi (usually beef) and galbi (beef or pork ribs) are the most favored by both Koreans and foreigners.


 
 

  Korean Lifestyle  
   Overview

It is generally believed that Paleolithic man began to inhabit the Korean Peninsula about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, although it has yet to be confirmed if they were the ethnic ancestors of present-day Koreans. Some Paleolithic men lived in caves, while others built structures on level ground. They lived on fruit and edible roots and by hunting and fishing. Neolithic man appeared in Korea around 4000 B.C., with signs of their active presence around 3000 B.C. being found across the peninsula. It is believed that the Neolithic people formed the ethnic stock of the Korean people. Neolithic p…

   House
Ondol: In modern usage it refers to any type of underfloor heating of a room that follows the traditional way of eating and sleeping on the floor. Hanok, traditional Korean houses, remained relatively unchanged from the Three Kingdoms period through the late Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Ondol, a unique Korean underfloor heating system, was first used in the north. Smoke and heat generated from the low-lyin…
   Clothing
Hanbok, traditional clothing Koreans weaved cloth with hemp and arrowroot and raised silkworms to produce silk. During the Three Kingdoms period, men wore jeogori (jacket), baji (trousers), and durumagi (overcoat) with a hat, belt and pair of shoes. The women wore jeogori (short jacket) with two long ribbons tied to form an otgoreum (knot), a full length, high-waist wrap-around skirt called chima, a duruma…
   Food
Traditional full-course meal Of the three basic elements of life ― house, clothing and food ― the change in dietary habits has most significantly affected Koreans. Rice still remains the staple of most Koreans, but among the younger generations, many prefer Western-style food. Rice has been usually accompanied by various side dishes, mostly seasoned vegetables, soup, pot stew, and meat. A trad…
   Festivals
Tteokguk: Korean custom calls for starting the New Year with a hearty bowl of rice cake soup to bring luck In bygone days, festivals were lavish religious observances. Even before the Three Kingdoms period, harvest thanksgiving festivals began to be observed officially in the smaller confederated kingdoms. They included the yeonggo (spirit-invoking drums) of Buyeo, dongmaeng (worship of the founder) of G…
   Religion
Unlike some cultures where a single religion is dominant, Korean culture includes a wide variety of religious elements that have shaped the people's way of thinking and behavior. In the early stages of history in Korea, religious and political functions were combined but they later became distinct. Historically, Koreans lived under the influences of shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism, and in modern times, the Christian faith has made strong…




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