Korean Food :  McCol, My Favorite Korean Barley Soft drink.


My favorite soft drink, Ever.

It was in the middle of summer.
On the way home, I was hot and thirsty. My white shirt was soaked with sweat. Escaping from scorching hot, I rushed into a supermarket nearby school. I ,still panting, stared at the displayed soft-drinks in the huge fridge. A variety of drinks lay in front of me. I lingered there until a clerk saw me strange for spending so much time, glaring at drinks.

To tell the truth, I was not deciding. I was leisurely enjoying the moment of a decision as a coin-holding consumer. I felt excited to admire those well-arranged rows of various colored cans. And also liked staying beside the refrigerator for a bit of cool air oozing from it.

I already knew which one I was going to buy.
McCol, my favorite soft drink ever, was waiting for my grab.

Alternative for beer!!

McCol was somewhat my alternative for beer. I was so curious about beer allowed only to adults. Soju seemed too strong for young me, while beer(Makju) seemed weak enough even for young me. So I started being craving for beer. As I perceived I was forbidden to drink, I got more strongly desired for it.

One day, a rumor was circulated that McCol was made of mixture of beer and coke. It meant I caught a good chance to fulfill my curiosity of beer. No sooner I heard of it, did I buy a can of McCol. I had already drunk umpteen cans of it, but this time must have been different.

I opened the lid with my hands shaking in excitement. And I gingerly swallowed one morsel like thoroughly examining a experimental liquid. You know what? I certainly felt a hint of beer flavor in it.

Since then, whenever I had a chance to buy a soft drink, undoubtedly, McCol was my choice. Feeling as if I were an adult, I drank it, namely, I swallowed a brown sparkling potion of making oneself adult.

What is McCol?
(extracted from website)

It is the first carbonated drink made of barley in Korea. It lately has attracted much attention because it contains a dietetic fiber. It is a representative barley soda produced via a sanitary facility system using high quality water from the Chojung mineral spring. Balanced with moderate amounts of soda, barley, vitamins and lemon flavor, it has a cool, refreshing and clean taste. Also, no antiseptic treatment is applied to this product.

Vitamins contained in this product are; vitamin C which strengthens the immune function and operates as an anti-oxidizer, vitamin B1, which is known as a nutritious source essential for carbohydrate metabolism, and vitamin B2, which is necessary for nutrition metabolism operating as various enzymes do in a living body


McCol Taste - Love or Hatred?

As you could guess, I seem crazy for it. My appreciation of it ends it up with full of compliments. But, interestingly, I looked for other blogers’ comments on Mccol, and they had a controversy with their opinions diverged into extreme. Love or Hate. Delicious or Disgusting.

Some people say it’s too fuzzy, sour, and with somewhat mysterious feature. They found it disgusting from unexpected flavor, different from coke. They never advise you this drink.

On the other hand, other people, mostly switched from Coke to McCol, fascinated by its unique taste. They say its taste can grow on you, meaning you will get used to it. McCol is very refreshing and contains healthy ingredients –barely extracts, vitamin B1, B2 and C. They admire it as the best drink possibly replacing cola in the future.

Every taste depends upon one’s growth background and circumstance. When travelling totally unknown area for the first time, people must have some trouble on food. Later, they get familiar to its taste and appreciate its true taste. Just like western people enjoy sushi with raw fish on, that they used to feel disgust on.

I assume that a coke drinkers’ tongues got habituated to coke taste,
and feel weird of McCol’s somewhat phony-like taste. But you will get used to it.

So, Why don’t you give a chance to McCol?


Altanative for beer? lollol

My cute defiant action in adolescence. It’s ridiculous making non-alcoholic drink with alcohol. But the young me truly believed that absurd idea. Mercifully, it was not only me who was hooked by silly lie. I can still find some venturous  bloggers experimenting to make McCol by mixing beer and coke! lollol


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Korean Food : Fry, Drink, Eat, and Talk Samgyeopsal : Pork Belly


Fry, Drink, Eat Talk and Talk and Talk.

 At my early twenties

I used to dislike pork belly. Pork belly was notorious for its high fat contain and fattening people. I always struggled to be in a good shape as a prim girl. Pork belly was the enemy that tempted me to eat fatty foods and even drink.

When my friends called me out to have a drink. I knew that they must prefer to go to a pork restaurant. But I couldn’t curb us from it which is one of the cheap places to eat meat with reasonable price. (Even costly pork belly has a cheap version: mysterious food origin) And it’s good for poor students. Reluctant, but I went there all the time. Repeating, I always joined them. I liked its atmosphere turning meat over, chattering with friends, pouring soju into my friend’s glass. We Fry, Drink, Eat Talk and Talk and Talk. We were making pork-belly memories.

until now

I deter eating pork belly. I know more nutrition facts about pork belly, and as growing older, I more concern about my health. I no longer to eat unidentified food sold near school. I can afford to eat more valued and delicate dish on a fancy restaurant.

But guess what? My friends and I still go to pork restaurant to eat fatty food. We Fry, Drink, Eat Talk and Talk and Talk. We eat our past pork-belly memories.

What is Samgyeopsal(삼겹살)?


Samgyeopsal is Pork belly in Korea. Samgyeop(삼겹) means three layers and Sal(살) means flesh. It was name after three layered fat looking.

Other countries rarely fry pork belly itself without trimming. Koreans slice belly into 8~10mm of thickness and fry on a stone plate or a grill. Emphasizing its unique way of cooking, the government just designate it as Korean national food called Samgyeopsal.

Koreans Eat and Make Memories with Pork belly.

I suppose they seem enjoying their memories of eating pork belly. Pork belly, now expensive, used to be very cheap and people enjoy it with small budget. It has been represented out-dining food for years.

Now, people want to keep their out-dining experience with pork belly. Metaphorically, Koreans eat their past memories and make new ones with pork belly again.

Korean Food : What is Foreigner Favorite Korean Food?

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Korean Food : Korea Best Pizza Franchise, Mr. Pizza


Yesterday, I was on the way to meet my friends in the evening.

I was starving to death, since I unintentionally skipped breakfast and lunch. I felt a great carb-craving. I could eat even a plate if it lay in front of me. Nearly bearing my hunger, I arrived at the, the meeting point. I got there at 7 sharp, because I didn’t want any delay for dinner. But regardless of my wish, my friends as usual were late. I told my friends that I would sit and order pizza before they coming. I took a seat and ordered a potato pizza, salad and drinks. About 2 minutes later, my friends arrived. Presently, a salad bowl arrived simultaneously.


A salad bowl. ‘Here we go with our empty bowl and stomach.’ I rushed to the salad bar, and dug up sweet potato salad and squash salad. Then white pasta and chilli pasta were put beside the lump of salad. On the top were corns decorating with yellow. The first mountainous bowl was perfectly satisfying. My friends began to eat and I devour.

mrpizzamrpizzaThe second round.

I jumped into the yogurt bar. I fill the tiny yogurt bowl with a teaspoon of cereals, resins, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Then I topped with a scoop of yogurt on it.  Some people eat yogurt for their dessert, but for me it was a main dish. I also swallow cereal-mixed yogurt at once. Delightful.

mrpizzamrpizzaMain dish

The pizza was served. No sooner it came than my buddies scurried the salad bar to bring garlic dipping sauce and pickled cucumber. my friend distributed each piece onto our personal dishes. I cut a pizza into several fragments so that I could eat a bite-size one. While eating, we refilled the salad bowl twice more. And we finished the whole pizza within 15 minutes. I was so full that I could feel food stuck up to my throat.


More salad time. Although we finished up eating pizza, it didn’t mean the end of our meal. The finale is dessert at the salad bar. I stood up and stomped to the bar and brought the bowl with few leeches, kiwis, oranges and a few cubes of jelly on one hand and another yogurt bowl on the other.


We always eat like that when we are together.

After finishing all of them, I felt content with self-arranged 3 course meal. I wrote this without exaggeration. They summed up to a large size pizza, 4 salad bowls, 8 yogurt bowls, and uncountably refilled soft drink. We gulped like a horse as if we were food fighters.

I can tell that we always eat like that at any pizza restaurant when we are together. Honestly, I time to time feel ashamed for our appetite and sorry for owners of the restaurants. But we don’t eat like that when we are with other people, not with us. We with others eat less. And it offsets the amount that we have together, I think, I believe, and I hope.

Alright, I admit.
I am sorry, Mr. pizza.    

I will control my appetite next time.

Mr. Pizza

Mr. Pizza is a South Korean pizza chain established in 1990. It is based in Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu
, Seoul. After establishing a franchise in Ewha Women's University, Mr. Pizza opened a store in Beijing, China in 2000. It targeted young women customers and improved the salad bar with low calorie and low fat food and added yogurt bar. It also creat 'a woman's day' providing a huge discount to female customers. And it became the most popular pizza brand, outdoing pizza hut and domino pizza in Korea.

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What is your favorite Korean food?


Which korean food do you think foreigners like? It must be hard to choose one of them. There are umpteen sorts of food through the long history of Korea.
Interestingly, I found a research about favorite Korean food.

Foreigners’ Favorite Korean Food?

Pork belly was selected as a favorite food by research held by Seoul city government. It was processed through the city official homepage and facebook. 1,984 foreigners participated in the vote on ‘Delicious Food in Seoul’.; 952 from English spoken countries, 870 from Chinese, 162 from Japanese.

On this vote, Samgyeopsal(pork belly) was chosen no.1 by 558 people. It followed by Kimchi food with 332 votes, Tteokbokki(Spicy rice cake pasta) with 313 votes, Bibimbab with 231, Samgyetang with 172, Sogalbi(Beef rib) with 76, and Naengmyeon(Cold noodle) with 43. Needless to say, Pork belly was proved to be foreigner favorite food.

pork belly

Korean’s Favorite Meat?

Pork belly is not only foreigners’ favorite but also Koreans’. Researchers studied the sales by discount store. In 2011, Pork belly occupies almost half(45%) of the whole pork sale, Neck bone and picnic account for 15.6% and 14% each. Lastly Ham back up 7% of the pork market.

The dominance of pork belly lasted for 30 years. If you consider the diminish of belly sale due to high price after foot-and-mouth disease, Pork belly surely stands as a king part of pork.

What is Samgyeopsal(삼겹살)?

pork belly

Samgyeopsal is Pork belly in Korea. Samgyeop(삼겹) means three layers and Sal(살) means flesh. It was name after three layered fat looking.
Other countries rarely fry pork belly itself without trimming. Koreans slice belly into 8~10mm of thickness and fry on a stone plate or a grill. Emphasizing its unique way of cooking, the government just designate it as Korean national food called Samgyeopsal.

Why Pork Belly?

You must not understand the reason why Koreans are crazy for pork belly. Most countries price higher on pork loin or tenderloin than pork belly. Those parts contain less fat and more protein, so they’re regarded as more valued parts.

However, Koreans obviously prefer pork belly because of its fatty tastes. Everybody knows it’s not at all a healthy food, but they continue eating them often insisting belly tastes best among all parts.

What is March 3rd?

March 3rd is Samgyeopsal day only existing in Korea. Korean government determine to invigorate depressed livestock industry after foot-and-mouth disease. On that day, people enjoy eating out Samgyeopsal, and samgyeopsal restaurants hold various events to attract customers.

pork belly


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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon 【洪】ILHONG 2012.02.22 08:00 신고  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    I didn't know such day exists. But I shouldn't be surprised. Thankfully, I have enough time to prepare and a lot of 쉰김치 to make the day even better. LoL.

Korean Fruit : Winter Strawberries in Season?

strawberry korea

Mom and I went shopping to the grocery store.

Recently I kept eating fast food or instant meal, and I lacked vitamins on my diet. I needed some fruit to get deficient nutritions. So, we walked to the fruit section.


The racks with orange color of mandarine was replaced by fresh-red of strawberries. Vivid red skin dotted with tiny seeds looked so attractive. Without hesitation, I loaded a box of strawberries onto my cart. Strawberry in Winter...

Suddenly, I recalled the time I had an activity of picking strawberries in Australia. But it was in early summer, or maybe in late spring. I wore a short-sleeve shirt and short pants. I sweated on the forehead underneath my cap, squatting along the strawberry bush, under the scorching sun. But here in Korea, Winter strawberry??

“Mom, are strawberries in season now?"
I asked to mom with a inquisitive look. Mom seemed puzzled at first by abruptness and started pondering for a while.

“Yes, it’s funny. I don’t know exactly when they started to sell winter strawberries. Because they began growing strawberries in a green house. We called it shortly ‘house strawberry.”

I nodded, grinning. I heard of green house fruits from news. But why did they do that?

“Mom, why people grow strawberries in winter,
  instead of in summer?”

Mom again fell into her thought, with her eyes rolling. She took some time to arrange her answer and opened her mouth.

“Until 1980, strawberries were in season in early June. But as green houses spreaded, the time got earlier and earlier. And finally, strawberries are on peak in January and February.”

The answer was as clear as my mom’s personality. I understood what she explained, but still I had a quizzical thing in the head. I hastened to ask mom without any paused moment. Because I was afraid that mom felt bothered by my subsequent questions.

“Mom, why do people prefer strawberries in winter?”

Mom smiled to me as if she treated a small child. In fact, I was so curious like a little kid who continued asking her mom countless questions.

“Because, in winter, it takes longer time for strawberries to ripe. It makes strawberries become sweeter and less sour, in other words, very good quality.”  

Mom and I came home with plastic bags on both hands. Yes, also with a box of strawberries. Putting stuff to its right place, I realized this.

Recently I kept watching comedy or meaningless dramas, and I lacked requisite study in my life. I thought I needed not only some fruit, but also knowledge to nourish my brain. So, I walked to the book shelves.



According to a research from Rural Development Administration, the winter strawberry gives 12.5 Bx of sweet level, comparatively spring one gives 10Bx. In addition, The acidity of winter strawberry is 0.7%, while That of spring one is 1%. 

1kg of winter strawberries = 21880won in the supermakets(where I shopped.) : price


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Korean Food : Korean Eat Only Rice? : Rice Consumption


Q. My Korean friend said ‘Koreans basically eat only rice meals throughout the day.’ Breakfast with rice, lunch with rice, and dinner with rice. It’s hard to believe. They should be sick of eating it all the time. Is that state true?

A. Basically, yes. You must be surprised by hearing this. But as your korean friend said, all korean meals are traditionally based on rice. You think we must be fed of it, mustn’t we? But we habitually eat rice for every meal and we don’t feel that awkward of it.

Bachelors in Korea often hope their wives for this.

I want to have warm soybean soup(된장찌개) made by my wife every morning.

This saying indicates that Koreans usually eat breakfast as an important meal and that includes soup and rice, of course. Rice at breakfast also means elaboration and affection from wives, since it takes long time to prepare them early in the morning.

There is another saying that show how important rice is for Korean.

Korean lives by Rice Power (밥심)

To conclude, the answer is Yes, Koreans eat rice 3 times a day even breakfast.

Q. But I see so many western foods in Korea. That must have affected the Korean food culture somewhat. What do you think of it?

A. You sharply pointed it out. Let’s focus on ‘basically and traditionally’ that I mentioned on my answer. In the past, all meals used to include rice even desserts. After western food was introduced to Korea, a new ingredient, wheat flour began to be used, and whole food market started to change.

At the current time, Koreans eat all types of international food from the world. It cannot be true anymore that Koreans eat only rice meals. Koreans began to eat toasts and cereals for their breakfast, and sandwiches for lunch and italian pasta and pizzas for dinner. They drink herb tea with chocolate cakes for dessert.

Korean Rice Consumption decreases.

Koreans eat definitely less rice compared to the past. According to the statistics, the rice consumption in Korea diminished from 80.7kg in 2005 to 72.8kg in 2010, The consumption per capita also reduced to 199g in 2010. Contrary to that, wheat flour consumption gradually increase from 31.8kg in 2005 to 35kg in 2010.

Korean Government Encourages Rice Eating.

Government makes great effort to protect rice production for 2 reasons.
First, Rice is a major food(grain) in Korea that sustains food industry. Rice is still a significant ingredient in Korean daily meals although its consumption is decreasing. The rice producers must survive the inflow of cheap rice from abroad so that Korea can retain sufficient food supply.

Secondly, Rice works an important role in Korean cuisine. As material products get abundant, cultural products get valued more. It’s certain that ethnic cuisine takes a great part in its culture. To get a better position in world market, Korea must keep its food culture based on rice, and that must be grown in Korea.

Korean government is holding several events and policies to cope with rice consumption decrease. They encourage companies to brand their rice putting more value on it with named by locals. They support companies to develop new rice-based food to meet consumers’ westernized tastes. That includes rice cheese cake, rice pancakes, rice bread, rice noodles, and more. They also stimulate citizens to eat breakfast with rice by announcing benefits of it.

korea rice
I love Korean food the most. I have grown up eating Korean food that’s embedded in culture. It’s not just about taste or health facts of food, but it’s about my childhood life with Korean food. Mom made love-filled breakfast with rice and soup in the morning. I love to recall those memories and I am willing to continue this memories to my children in the future.

I worry that Korean food culture seems to be faded away, being diluted with flow of western food. I will consume more Korean rice to support rice industry and to keep my culture and myself.


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Korean Food  : Kalguksu, Hand-Style Noodle Soup (Knife noodle)


A Noodle Lover

Yesterday, I went to mom’s work place to have a chat with her. Since mom works until late, we hardly had time to talk to each other recently. Also I had some documents to print for my grad-school there.

Again, there was a mission to choose dinner menu, bearing great hunger. I asked mom to suggest dinner options. Pondering, she offered me ‘rice with sauteed small octopus’. Mission accomplished. We were fully content with our decision.

Mom briskly dialed the number. But no one answered and mom slowly hung up the phone with a glum look. “They don’t seem to open today.” said mom.

“Why don’t we have Kalguksu instead?”

I thought mom's eyes twinkled a second.

I dazed for a moment in disappointment. I didn’t want to waste more time on sellecting menu anymore. Moreover, Kalguksu is my least favorite resort for dinner because mom persisted it nearly for 8 years and I became fed of it.
I stared at mom a moment, and nodded to her in a little reluctant way. Seeming regardless of my responding way, mom beamed with amusement and ordered Kalguksu in a singsong voice.

kalguksuKalguksu was delivered after 10 minutes. Mom ordered two sorts of dishes of noodle soup(kal guksu) and pepper paste mixed noodle(bibim guksu). Mom hurried to upwrap them and began to mix one.

kalguksuMixing it with chopsticks blithely, mom said, “Do you know the price of them? They just cost us 5,500 won in total. How cheap!” She bragged about this old fashioned restaurant as if she have been the owner of it. But I think she deserved to say that because she is a loyal patron there.

kalguksuMom’s face lightened up with delight, chewing few strips of noodle in her mouth. Glancing at her, I wondered what made her fond of this food so much.

Kalguksu’s noodle is swallowed in its transluscent soup. It crouches, unrevealing itselfs. I wondered what sort of charm inside of this bowl attracted people.

kalguksuI asked in a calm voice, “Mom, why do you like Kalguksu so very much?” She looked at me, without any hesitation, said, “I love all sorts of noodle.”

I gently stirred inside the bowl, and noodle was shown on the surface. I grabbed chubby noodle sturdily with chopsticks. Chubby noodle.

kalguksuI gaped upon a great discovery from mom. She liked ramen, udon, naeng-myeon, guksu, japchae, naeng-chae, and Kalguksu. I just realized that all of those fell into one category. Noodle.  

The nature of Kalguksu taste is its humanly feeing. It features itself with distinctive noodle that is made by hand and knife, contrary to guksu by machine. Its wavy noodle is uneven and that implies human's touch. 

Eating Kalguksu with Mom, I percieved new features of mom and Kalguksu.

Mom is a pure noodle lover.
Kalguksu is a humanly noodle.

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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon free domain names 2012.04.09 06:22  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기