Korean Food : Did you buy Baked sweet potatoes today, Mom? 

“Did you buy sweet potatoes today, Mom?”

It was the first question that I asked when my mom got home from work.
 I was happy when she answered me back ‘Yes’.
But regardless of my wish, she sometimes said to me.

“No, today the sweet potato vendor didn’t come out there."

Some vendors are not stable like in-store merchants.

In Korea, sweet potatoes were sold like a street food.
But, some vendors are not stable like in-store merchants. Most of vendors are the elderly who work on the street for their living. Even stray adolescents or high-school students sell them for fun. Moreover, in Korea, vending is not legitimately allowed in most areas. Due to these conditions, they don’t come out or they change selling places very often. So, Mom couldn’t buy me sweet potatoes at times and I felt so disappointed and even sad..



How about home baked sweet potatoes?

No, It doesn’t satisfy me as much as street one.
There’s something special to street sweet potatoes.

Street vendors roasted sweet potatoes in an specially devised equipment. What is that? It is a drum. Do I mean a real drum? Yes, I meant that. The drum is modified to roast sweet potatoes. There is one wide door at the side of the drum so that you can put firewood to set a fire. There are also a few narrow long drawers inside to put raw sweet potatoes. The metal cover helps keep heat inside as like an oven. Few minutes later adding them, you can smell the baking. Sweet potatoes are roasted enough to eat. It’s time for you to enjoy the nature given sweets.  

Homebaked vs Streetbaked

That is because there are several differences in tastes.

A street sweet potato has a secret ingredient. You will taste sweet and nutty flavors in sweet potatoes and those are created by starch and amino-acid. But the most delicious part of street one is the caramel flavor that is generated by heating sugars.

What is the secret ingredient? It is firewood inside the drum. It sometimes burns parts of sweet potatoes and those parts are attractively caramelized. It also gives distinctive woody flavors to sweet potatoes, that makes them distinguished from home baked. This combination of all flavors makes you indulge in street sweet potatoes.

Technically, based on science research, the street one is proved to be sweeter than homebaked one thanks to less water contain. On the process inside the drum, the water evaporates from sweet potatoes, so sugars condensate. It makes the texture differences as well. The home baking one has rough and dry texture, street one has hard and chewy since starch and sugar tangle into firm string-like texture.

Few days ago,
I read thatthe sweet potato vendors are disappearing owing to the fire wood price-risin. That is sad news. As it is hard  to bake sweet potatoes at home, there should be vendors who specialized in making them. Also, Many Koreans long for the memory Mom brought them home just I do. 

I know there's no sweet potato vendors in my town anymore.
I murmur myself.

Did you buy sweet potatoes today, Mom? 



Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

Korean Holiday : I Eat Rice Cake Pasta Soup on New Year Day.

rice cake soup

Today is Lunar New Year Day.
A big holiday in confucian countries.

As tradition, I had rice cake pasta soup, tteokguk, this morning.
I also ate special foods eaten only on occasion.
After eating breakfast, I bowed to our grandma and parents.
I used to get some money from them.
But I am old enough not to have it, a bit sad.

I am glad to have nice food here.
Now I am preparing to meet my maternal relatives later.

rice cake

[KOREAN FOOD] - Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Soup at Home
[SCRIBBLE ]- A Rice Mill : To Buy Rice Cake for Lunar New Year in Busan, Korea
[MY DIARY] - Korean Holiday : Lunar New Year Korean Traditional Food

Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

  1. anonymous 2012.01.26 05:49  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    rice cake soup?!! 그거 완전 어감부터 괴식인게, cake + soup 이 조합은 약과를 미역국에 넣어 먹는 것과 동급으로 영어권 사람들에게 이상합니다. 그냥 떡국이라고 하거나 아니면 rice pasta soup 정도가 맞겠죠.

    • Favicon of https://foodstoryist.tistory.com BlogIcon Food Storyist 2012.01.26 16:19 신고  댓글주소  수정/삭제

      안녕하세요? 틀린 표현 지적 너무 감사드립니다. rice cake pasta soup 으로 정정했습니다. 덕분에 좋은 표현 알게 되어서 기쁘네요. 글을 쓰면서 한국 음식에 관해 공부하지만 아직 많이 모자릅니다. 앞으로도 좋은 조언 부탁드립니다. 감사합니다 ^ ^

Noodle : Chicken Soup Ramen, Kkokkomyeon : Yacult in Korea




Kkokkomyeon ★★★★☆

Company : Yakult
Weight : 120g

Main Ingredients:


noodle : wheat flour, palm oil, potato starch, modified starch, salt, gluten, etc
soup : chicken soup base, sugar, fine salt, chicken stock, starch, spring onion, egg, pepper, etc

Nutrition Facts : 520 kcal
(serving size: 120g)

Total Carbohydrate 80g(24%) (Sugar 5g)
Protein 9g(15%)
Total Fat 18g (36%) (saturated fat 11g/Trans-fat 0g)
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1750mg(88%)

Variation : No variation
Similar Product : Nagasaki JJambbong

a published article about Kkokkomyeon

Foodstoryist Review


Color & Texture
: pale yellow soup, transparent and pale noodle
                             smooth, chewy and sticky noodle texture.

Taste : The soup is based on chicken stock. Beyond your expectation, it’s quite rich in flavors. It has sweetness, saltiness, uami and spiciness in one spoon. Staring at soup, I see tiny chicken flakes and chopped spring onions floating upon. 

Due to its soup color, you might think it’s not at all spicy. When I study the soup throughly, I see molecular dots of spices. If you are sensitive to spiciness, you will find the hidden and treacherlous spiciness inside the pale yellow soup.(If you eat it with your Korean friends, they could dare to add extra peppers in it. Stop them.)

Noodle seems to contain more potato starch than normal ramen. It is more transparent and  smoother. Exaggerating, I feel as if I eat potato noodles. It tastes less oily and feel like healthy, on the other hand, it seems over-cooked without oil coating. 


Pros :
White color soup is a very experimental trial in Koreanramen industry that red color soups dominate. Thanks to its revolutional attempt, consumers could experience something extraordinary. You as a foreigner might not understand reason why Korean fell in love with this white soup. If curious, just look around the ramen corner at the discount store. You will see the selves full of red color. That’s the reason. I appreciate its revolt.

Cons : As an instant food it approached, it sells on low cost basis. In other words, less costs, less ingredients. The inventor, the famous gagman Gyunggyu Lee, added more abundant ingredients to enrich the flavors and to enhance nutrition in its original recipe. However, the company minimized the product considering the competitors’ market prices and consumers’ purchase behaviors. If you want to taste the real Kkokkomyeon, I recommend add chopped spring onion, peppers, or an egg.

It contains high volume of sodium. It has 1750mg that occupies 88% of daily value. The figure is higher than normal ramen, so the producer stated on the package that “To reduce the sodium intake, you adjust the amount of soup powder at your tastes.” They already seemed to notify the probable complaints about high sodium contain. You’d better leave some soup in order not to drink 1 liter of water after.

How to cook Kkokkomyeon

1. Boil the 500ml of water.
2. Add noodle, soup powder and flakes, put high heat for 4 minutes.

<delicious cooking tips>

1. 500ml of water is vital(Use a water bottle of 500ml, at your convenience)
2. Add a whole egg(or only egg white) while cooking. Never stir.
3. Put chopped (Cheongyang) peppers into it.



Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

  1. Favicon of http://soupersoups.net BlogIcon Soup Recipes 2012.04.30 00:02  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    이 스프를 만들어 제가 다른 시음 음식을 탐구하고자이 블로그 정말 감사 저를 바쁜 유지 훌륭한 맛. 난 당신이 곧 자세한 내용을 게시할 희망 그들은 그림뿐만 아니라 정말 끝내줘

Korean Holiday : New Year Food Shopping at Market

I went to Sajik farmer's market with my mom and sister.
We need ricke cake and some fruit.
We were able to buy them at the discount store.
But we all like walking through the market feeling the lively atmosphere.
Just Like a little me.

First, We looked for our first target, rice cake.
There were several rice cake stores.
But this store seems to sell the freshest rice cake just out of the steamer.
Also, it was so very crowded by a throng of people.
Mom bought two loaves of rice cake. (It's 5000won, each.)

rice cake

Next, we bought sweet rice drink called 'Sikhye'. 
My grandma used to make it at home,
but this year, she is not healthy enough to do it, sadly.

I am not that fond of it, so I didn't notice there were no sikhye prepared.
My sister reminded us of the tradition of drinking sikhye.
Mom and I first hesitated. Mom is not a big fan of sikhye, either.
But Sister wanted to buy it for visitors and for herself.
We ended up buying one hottle of sikhye. (As shown, it's 3000won for one bottle.)


Lastly, at the end of the market alley,
we found the fruit store with vivid, luminous colors of fruits.

korean fruit

Mom bought some mandarines
I love mandarines, especially small sized one with thin peel,
that's usually sweeter than others.

I feel like I have already eaten 10 kgs of it this winter.
But I want to eat it more and more. I am crazy for a mandarine.
korean fruit

Mom also bought a few pears.
Pears ripens and get harvested in autumn, so it's not in season now.
Not in season means Very expensive. (1 pear :  upto 3,000won)
But it is one of food used in the ancestral rite at the  new year.
So, in spite of its high price, Korean buy pears every traditional holiday.
(I will handle this issue on another post later.)

korean fruit

Now, we are almost prepared for welcoming relatives.

BTW, Ladies and Gentlemen! Happy New Year!

2012/01/21  Korean Market : Farmers Market (with Video) in Busan, Korea

Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

Korean Holiday : New Year Food Preparation at Home

Today is
Two days before the new year holiday, my grandma prepared some food.
I took some of them each and had a abudant meal.

Thanks, Grandma!

They are all ready to serve.

1. Wild plant(Namul)
2. Cold vegetible sauced with mustard(Naengchae) Prep
3. Cold seasoned noodle with Vegetibles (Japchae) Prep
4. Sizzling Chicken wih soysauce(Dakjjim) 

1.Wild plant(Namul)


2. Cold vegetible sauced with mustard(Nanegchae) Prep


3. Cold seasoned noodle with Vegetibles (Japchae) Prep


4. Sizzling Chicken wih soysauce(Dakjjim) 


Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

Korean Market : Farmer's Market (with Video) in Busan, Korea

Sajik Farmers' Market in Busan, Korea

It’s 15 minutes walk from my home
It's 3 minutes walk from my elementary school.

I mean it’s very near.

15 years ago.

After school finished, I used to go to the market. But not to buy something. But to do something. Stepping in there, I became an adventurous explorer and started to study things. Clattering when coins coming and going, chattering of merchants and customers, clearing stuff on the stand, and bustling on everything. I enjoyed lively atmosphere there. I walked through the narrow path with water splashes on under the shadow of the weathered clothes over my head.

At the middle of the market, the snack bar was there. It often caught my way and I spent some of my pocket money on ddeokbokki and oden. It’s additional amusement eating hot street food standing beside unknown people, but all smile. Everything was so vivid. Food was alive. the merchant was alive. the unknown person beside me was alive. I was alive. After pleasing my taste-buds and my energy, I resumed my adventure again.



I went to Sajik farmers' market yesterday. Actually, I often go there. But not to buy something. But to do something. To recollect my memories in my childhood. And, for the same reason with the past, to feel brisk air in there.

On the way to the market, I was quite worried about the depression of traditional markets due to appearance of discount stores which huge enterprises own by its capital advantages. But, perhaps thanks to major holiday season in Korea, the situation was better than I thought. The atmosphere waves with numerous customers preparing for upcoming special dining.

So I could explore the market as if I became a little adventurer again.



Sajik market is called "traditional market"?!

In Korea, Most street markets include almost everything like farming products, sea food, furniture, fabrics, clothes, tools and etc. Of course, there are some specialized markets like Jagalchi fishers’ market and Dongdaemun clothes market. But usually, traditional markets carry almost all stuff that can be sold.

In this terms, Sajik should be called ‘Sajik street market’ or ‘Sajik traditional market’, since it sells a variety of categories. But for your better access by search engine, I called it ‘Sajik farmers’ market’ at its convenience.

Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

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.   

This Winter,
I hope you have your best Udon with your family!




Please read a notice before you leave a comment.
You must write at least one word in Korean to successfully upload your comment.
Posted by Food Storyist

댓글을 달아 주세요

  1. Favicon of http://soupersoups.net BlogIcon Soup Recipes 2012.04.30 00:22  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    이 스프를 만들어 제가 다른 시음 음식을 탐구하고자이 블로그 정말 감사 저를 바쁜 유지 훌륭한 맛. 난 당신이 곧 자세한 내용을 게시할 희망 그들은 그림뿐만 아니라 정말 끝내줘