About Korean Food
Korean food is casually represented by bulgogi and kimchi. In fact, however, Koreans are proud of their diet, quite varied and full of nutrition. It is richly endowed with fermented foods, vegetables and grains, soups, teas, liquors, confectionery and soft drinks. Kimchi and doenjang paste made of soybeans are the best-known examples of Korean fermented foods, and these have recently become highly valued for their disease-prevention effects. Korea boasts hundreds of vegetable and wild green dishes. The Korean meal is almost always accompanied by a big bowl of hot soup or stew, and the classic meal contains a variety of vegetables. Korean foods are seldom deep-fried like Chinese food; they are usually boiled or blanched, broiled, stir-fried, steamed, or pan-fried with vegetable oil.
Korean families usually eat rice, soup, and three to four side dishes including the sine qua non, kimchi. From each person's left are arranged rice, soup, spoon, and chopsticks, while stews and side dishes are placed in the center to be shared by all members.
Koreans use a spoon to eat rice, soup, and stews and chopsticks for rather dry side dishes, but spoon and chopsticks are not used simultaneously. Koreans also do not hold their bowls and plates while eating. When the meal is over, the spoon and chopsticks are placed back where they were.
Koreans generally believe that sharing food from one bowl makes a relationship closer. Still, one who does not wish to share the one-for-all dish can courteously ask the host for an individual bowl or plate. Today most Korean restaurants offer individual bowls and plates.
In the olden days, talking was not allowed at the dinner table, but today, eating etiquette has become more liberal. Chopsticks may be used to eat rice.