Bindaetteok pancakes at Seoul’s Gwangjang Market, coupled with Korean rice wine makgeolli, are a gorgeous treat that will become one of your Proustian madeleine moments.
Dakhanmari is one of those beautiful dishes that doesn’t need many ingredients, or a complicated cooking process for that matter, but it’s endlessly comforting. It’s a Korean whole chicken dish and there are plenty of places to try it in Seoul.
Smoke is sucked up into the exhaust pipes left and right as we walk down a narrow alley. Ahjummas, Korean older women, call out their specialties while flipping over sizzling fish and giving us a quick glance before resuming their business. It’s getting cold outside, the heat from the grill and the smell of charcoal are comforting and exciting at the same time.
Vietnam, a country with 1,000 years of Chinese rule and, more recently, over 100 years of French influence, is not shy of new inventions when it comes to food and drink. While the Chinese introduced the concept of food and drink as medicine, the French contributed coffee in 1857. Vietnamese also make the most of their rice, fresh herbs, and ripe tropical fruits, leaving nothing to waste.
In Korea, strawberry season is a thing. From December to June, there aren’t just strawberry lattes and strawberry cakes and strawberry bingsoos (that Korean shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings) in pretty much every coffee shop. There’s a festival in April dedicated to the fruit as well. With my friend, we went on a little out-of-Seoul adventure, caught a KTX train, and made our way to Nonsan – a city in South Chungcheong Province, about 150km south of the capital, and home to a variety of strawberry farms. (more…)
Sweat dripping down smiling faces, the old and the young standing side by side, chatting. One woman flips her hair, bobs her head back and closes her eyes – an expression of deep satisfaction spreads over her face. The noise level is high, but the happiness is greater – if only for a short while. People have gathered, as if at a train station, inside a bank, any random bank. The air conditioner is blowing, the cool air tickles the woman’s face, she lets out a sigh.
Valencian cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine, which translates to vegetable and seafood extravaganzas. It’s hardly surprising then, that a succulent, flavourful anguila (eel) dish would develop here. All i pebre, chunks of eel and potato coated in a luscious, thick garlic and pepper sauce, is a must-try of Valencian food sorcery (yes, it’s magical!).
Rice in Spain, in particular in Valencia, has a history of at least eleven centuries. Rice-growing in Valencia’s Albufera region dates back to the 10th century, when Arabs introduced rice to the Iberian Peninsula and other surrounding areas such as Morocco and Sicily. In fact, the Spanish name for rice, arroz, derives from the Persian orz, to which the Arabs prefixed the particle al, eventually leading to a language evolution from al-orz to ar-orz, to ar-ruz, and finally to arroz.