Korean food : In Winter, My Mom's Best Udon
In winter, shivering with cold and hunger, I just arrived home.
There is just one thing that comes to mind.
I look for Mom taking off my shoes.
“Mom, can you fix me a bowl of Udon?”
When I feel cold, I want to eat something that can warm my body. Noodle soup would be the best choice. I place my hand around the noodle bowl and melt my pinky frozen fingers. I grab my chopsticks and hold some string of noodles and suck it. After delight my mouth with chewy noodle and sip noodle warm soup embracing the bowl with both hands. It warms my hands as well as inside my body.
Udon in Korea
Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle with hot noodle soup originated from Japan. It became popular in Korea long ago, so there are some Korean who think Udon is Korean traditional soup. Korean Udon has fewer variations compared to Japanese Udon.
Popular in Winter
The Udon popularity in winter in Korea is proved by the sales records. Instant udon sales in winter is twice as much as that in summer. The companies produce almost twice many products in winter. No doubt Udon is representative winter food in Korea.
There are three ways we, Koreans, consume Udon
Snack bar, Udon restaurant, Instant Udon at home.
The first place we eat udon was at a snack bar. These bars carry not only Udon, but also other snacks such as Ramen, Cold noodle, dumplings, rice and so on. It means they regard Udon as one quick prepared snack. You can eat Udon in high way station(휴게소). They serve instant Udon cooked in a short time and fill a driver’s empty stomach. The taste of Udon are not delicate at all, but quite satisfying considered as a fast food.
Second, at Udon specialized restaurant. we started pursuing more valued noodle taste there. Franchise Udon restaurants such as Jang-udon appeared in Korea and introduced various kinds of Udon to Korea. Later on 2000, customers began to want more sophisticated Udon. To meet the market needs, individually own restaurants were opened by chefs trained in Japan or who benchmarked Japanese Udon restaurants. They provide high class Udon satisfying Korean consumers taste-buds.
Third, Instant Udon intruded into Korean kitchen. Instant Udon, Saengsaeng Udon(생생우동), was approached by Nongsim company in November, 1995, and it has been continuously highly sold till now. Almost Koreans around my age must know the well-known ad copy, “The soup is finishing(국물이 끝내줘요.)”.It literally means that soup comes to the end(full) of your satisfaction, so it finishes you. Implying, the soup is awesome. Through this commercial copy, Saengsaeng Udon(생생우동) became the number one instant udon in Korea.(If you say ‘Gukmul is keun-nae-jueo-you’, your Korean friend will definitely be atonished.)
Saengsaeng Udon Commercial Copy Link
After Saengsaeng Udon has hit the market
There appeared follower items from competitor companies. Most of them couldn't break the dominance of the leader product, so CJ launched Japan traditional instant udon targeting at the niche premium market in 2000. It was carried and stored in the fridge compared to Saengsaeng displayed in the room temperature. It was fresher and more chewy than preserved products. 4 years later, it attained the top of korean udon market having sold 10 million for 4 years. It still stay on the best selling instant Udon and plan exporting to adjacent countries. My mom’s instant noodle
I remember all types of Udon that I said above;a snack bar udon, highway udon, restaurant udon, and instant udon. What do I like the best? In terms of the taste, undoubtedly, udon restaurant serve the savory udon bowl with well harmonized flavors.
But, I would say, to me, my mom’s instant noodle in the evening is the best udon. After coming home from school shuddering in the freezing cold day, I eat mom made Udon. Although it’s instant mass produced by a company, my mom adds her warm-hearts to the udon, and yummy small talk as a side dish. It is my best family udon of my life.
I hope you have your best Udon with your family!
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