Introducing Korea

The first country will be Korea. This is because I had 10 minutes to use the library before it closed, and pulled cook books off the shelf at random, until I found one with enough pictures to satisfy me.

There it is! borrowed from

The Basics

Korea, as most people know, is actually two countries: the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and the Democratice People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Most often, South Korea is referred to only as ‘Korea’ and the DPRK is referred to as ‘North Korea’.

The Korean Peninsula is located north-east of China. North Korea shares borders with China, South Korea, and a small stretch of border with Russia, and is situated between the Sea of Japan and Korea Bay. South Korea shares a border only with North Korea, and sits between the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan.

The two countries have been divided since the end of the second world war, when North and South Korea were occupied by the Soviet Union and United States of America respectively. The stated goal at that time was to unify eventually, however this did not occur, and the division was made permanent as a result of the Korean War (1950-1953). They are separated by a demilitarized zone. (This is a very simplistic overview, for more information, look it up, or head to your local library).

South Korea

Population of South Korea: Aprrox. 50Million

Demographics: The vast majority of South Koreans are of Korean descent.

Capital City: Seoul (approx 1 in 5 South Korean’s live here).

South Korea is a Capitalist Democracy

Human rights: Came 115th out of 134 cutries in the Global Gender Gap report 2009 (not very good).

North Korea

Population of North Korea: Aprrox. 24 million

Demographics: The vast majority of North Koreans are of Korean descent.

Capital City: Pyonyang

North Korea is a Stalinist/Totalitarian Communist state

Human rights: Amnesty International and Human Rights watch have both placed North Korea among the worst states in terms of human rights.

The Food

I have used a number of net-based sources and the links are below. The book I borrowed from my local library this week is “The Food of Korea, Authentic Recipes from the land of the morning calm”, by David Clive Price, the Chefs of the Shilla Hotel, Seoul, and photos by Masano Kawana.

The Book

Korean food consists mainly of rice, soups, stews and vegetable dishes, and of course, Kimchi.

There are no designated breakfast foods, and all meals seem to be similar: rice, soup, and many side dishes.

Kimchi is fermented vegetables (cabbage and radish, among others) with chilli and garlic. I have tried to make some, and I’ll post the results later.

Pansang is the usual meal of steamed rice, soup and side dishes.

Changkuksang is the main dish, and it is arranged with kimchi, cold greens, mixed vegetables, pan-fried dishes, confectionary, fruit and fruit punch.  This simple meal can be served as lunch as well.

Ingredients that are used in Korean cooking include ginseng, daikon radish, chinese cabbage, jujubes (red dates), bellflower root, asian pear (nashi), bamboo shoots, white short grain rice, ginger, garlic, cucumber, kelp, gochu (chilli), leek (different than the western version), spring onion, pine nuts, persimmon and sesame, along with a number of meats, fish, other sea creatures and vegetables.

So, here we go. I’ve picked out a bunch of recipes, and I’m off to butcher veganise them.

Sources/ places to get more Korea information


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