Korean Food : Red bean Noodle Soup, Pat Kalguksu : Azuki bean Noodle Soup
It was drizzling outside, my b-friend was driving my home to pick me up for dinner. I was choosing dinner menu. It is the most difficult topic, what to eat, for us. The reason is that I want all food. Last time, he chose one, so it was my turn to select our delights.
It was dark, dim, damp, drooping, depressing outside. On the day like this, I feel cold and craving for hot soup. I fell into deep thought to find the novel menu among soup category.
A hundred menus floated on my mind, but I wanted adjacency to sooth my starvation as soon as possible. I drew a virtual village map and browse all restaurants. And suddenly red bean noodle soup restaurant, that I had been nearly 5 years ago, just hit my head. It locates 10 minute far from my home. It is yummy and hot. Finally, I made my decision.
My b-friends and I hurried on to the place. We took a seat on the corner table and ordered two bowls of noodle soup, called Pat Kalguksu, and one plate of dumpling. Soon they arrived.
At first, it seemed not to have any noodle.
But the nuttiness swirling from soup did not at all dishearten me.
Stirring, I could see green tea mixed noodle submerged in the red bean soup.
More nourishing with anti-aging ingredients.
It tastes best with newly-made fresh kimchi.
I wanted it Sweeter and Sweeter
Red bean noodle soup served here was stuffed with red bean. It was a bit under-seasoned, and I assumed that owner intendedly add less salt for health reason, compared to unconscient owners pour an enormous amount of seasonings. I feel thankful for her considerate thought.
But, apart from her intent, my taste was a lot different. When I was young, grandma made red bean porridge on winter solstice, but I disliked its blandness without any stimulative sweetness. I refused to eat it, so grandma added sugar in it so that I could eat blithely. Since then, I got accustomed to sugary red bean soup. So I wanted this red bean noodle soup sweeter and sweeter.
After finishing half bowl, I asked the owner a bit of sugar. She immediately brought me a small bowl of it. I didn’t seem the only one who required it. I put a small spoon of sugar on it and gently stir it. When it melts underneath the soup, I ate soup again. This was it, that my grandma used to give me.
Red bean in Korea
In the past
Red beans, also known as azuki beans, are used frequently in Korean dishes. The red color is traditionally considered to repel evil spirits. Red bean rice cake is placed on the tables of babies' first birthday parties, house warming parties and other ceremonies like that.
On winter solstice, the shortest day with the longest night of the year, Koreans eat red bean porridge in Korea. They believed that red color of porridge will block the devils from their family.
The traditional role of defeating evils disappeared and just habitual customs remained, while the red bean’s health effects had more highlighted. It is known as a super-concentrated store of nutritions such as protein, iron, fiber and antioxidant.
It is famed as a diuretic food, that means it’s an effective diet food. Koreans drink red bean boiled water daily, and even eat in place of rice. Red bean also helps blood circulation, so it lowers cholesterol level and treat hypertension, diabetes, and blood related diseases.
Based on these popularity, red bean have been applied to various product categories including snacks, doughnut, pastries, drinks, and even cosmetics.
The perspective and usage of red bean have been changing as time.
But it is obvious that it is always lovable food for Korean.
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