Saturday, February 4, 2012

Awesome Things about Korea #45: Eating foods that Koreans think Westerners can't eat

Homemade Doenjang
Homemade Doenjang (Photo credit: powerplantop)
The other day at lunch at my school, they served one of the best lunches I've had there by far:  make-your-own bibimbap with bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, kimchi, and rice.  On the side they served some fried sweet potato slices, green gochu peppers, dwenjang paste, and pears.

Gochu peppers are known for being spicy; after all, it's these peppers that are dried, ground, and made into gochujang--the staple of Korean cooking.  They are what we would call chili peppers at home.  But these particular green gochu peppers are special in that they aren't as spicy as their tinier red counterparts.  Meaning, they are quite palatable with a dollop of dwenjang (soybean paste) on top.

chili peppers
chili peppers (Photo credit: marzbars)
My coworker and I each loaded our trays with a healthy serving of gochu and dwenjang and sat down next to a few of our Korean coworkers to enjoy.  Our coworkers were surprised by the amount of peppers we had on our plates, and remarked, "Are those peppers too spicy?"

We replied with a shake of our heads and the crunch of a pepper, "no."  And they weren't.  In fact, it was almost akin to eating carrot sticks with ranch dressing back home, just that comforting of a feeling.

You know you've adapted well to being in Korea when you eat your veggies with dwenjang like you'd eat them with ranch dressing back home.
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1 comment:

  1. Haha, I always got a funny sense of pride when I watched Koreans' looks of surprise when I shoveled some gochu into my mouth, lmfao.

    I had Brazilian with a Brazilian on Friday night and she was shocked that I could handle jalapenos. My mouth is magic!

    Wait... that came out wrong...


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