Korean Food : New Year, We Talk Dumplings! Seollal tradition

Around new year, all my family gathered together to celebrate the new year. In spite of the long journey to another province to visit relatives, I waited for the day for two reasons. 

The first reason is that I could get some pocket money from the eldery. They gave me more or less 10,000won each, and it’s come to around 100,000won or 300,000won at most, if I could meet all relatives.

As a student who receive the allowance of 40,000won for a month, it was a fortune. I bought what I wanted to buy before, saved money in the bank or sometimes be taken over by my brainy parents. However I used my money, I was just glad that I could touch or have that amount of money at that age.

The second reason is that I could make Mandu with my family altogether. We sit around making a circle on the floor with the ingredients in the center of us. We usually talk about what happened during last year, feelings, the plans for the future or trivial issues occurring around the world. I liked that moment with laughter, and I also loved the Mandu making procedure.

Now, you might’ve become intriguing about mandu.
What the hell is it?

This is Mandu. It is that Mandu that the protagonist Oh Dae-Su is fed a steady diet in the film Old boy, If you watch it, you can recall what it is and how it looks exactly. Briefly saying, Mandu is a dumpling in Korean cuisine. We make it every new year day, especially on chinese(lunar) new year day.

“Do you want to have a pretty baby?”

When I made my dumpling with my mom, I tried to make it as pretty as possible. It was not that easy. The size and shape of my dumplings are not steady owing to my lack of skill. Some of them even exploded horribly showing its fillings outside. It’s mainly because I added too much amount of filling inside and it couldn't bear that, and bombed out. I tried, tried and tried to make it neat and nice.

In Korea, it is said that
you will have a pretty baby
if you make the dumpling pretty.

Every girl or woman wants to make a dumpling look good for that reason. It doesn't have any scientifical facts at all but it makes fun whiling making them. The eldery sometimes praise the young for their elaborating handwork, or laugh at the funny shapes and make a joke at it. This traditional joke(or rumor) vitalizes the dumpling making process.

Do you want to have a pretty baby? Then, try to make your dumpling beautiful. 
I just put some filling on a small  dumpling dough and fold it to make a half moon shape. 
Very simple and easy.
Haha, moreover, a rumor has always its covered reason, 

so, what if it’s true?



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I ate Pepper bugak as my side dish for lunch!
I bought it from a discount store.
There are several varieties such as brown seaweed, and sea lettuce.

The taste of it was crispy and a bit spicy, but real good!

It's a Korean traditional food, so I want to introduce it to you!

Bugak is a sort of deep-fried vegetables coated with glutinous rice paste. Rice paste often gets replaced by wheat flour paste. The ingredients being fried include Korean laver, perilla leaves, chili pepper, and so on. It is eaten as a sidedish with rice or as a cruch snack time to time.

How to make pepper bugak.

1. Steam mild peppers coated with wheat flour in the steamer.
2. Dry them thoroughlyunder the shade and store them.
3. Deep-fry them in the vegetable oil before being served.
4. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and sugar.

Refer to this pictures(sorry it's in Korean) 
Click Here 


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A Restaurant : Barbecue skirtmeat, Mapogalmaegi : Franchise in Korea




Food : ★★☆ Delicious
Atmosphere:★★★ Fantastic
Service : ★☆☆ : Fair

Korean Food / Barbeque Restaurant

Mapo is a memorable place for many Seoul citizens. It used to be a bus terminal, so in the evening, workers enjoyed the meat and drank with their colleagues there before going home. Many people in their forties recall their past through Mapo time to time, while youngsters visiting here enjoy the old-fashion style restaurant. Through this point, Mapogalmaegi wanted to recollect its affectionate and longing memories. It started at Yeonsudong in Incheon in 2005 and began franchising. Upon now, it expanded its franchisees to 340 stores throughout Korea.

"When I enter the Mapogalmaegi, I become jaunty with its brisk atmosphere. Especially after you shiver outside in winter, you will be relaxed with its warming interior and its passionate talkers frying meat on the pan. I am surrounded by its complex and intimate place."

"I order the menu and soon, then the meat I asked and side dishes are served by a young staff. After placing the meat on the round stone pan, I have a look at the staff pouring egg in the kettle to the particular round edge of the pan. It amuses my eyes while waiting for meat browned. As the meat is cooked enough to eat, our talk ripens enough to laugh."

 "The severs are hecticly moving between tables, so I feel sorry for asking or even ordering. You could feel unpleasant due to lack of promptness of its service. Then, you’d better dive to your conversation until the staff dive into your table to take your orders. Just enjoy the talk, the food, and the place."

For Foreign Foodies 

Must Eat Menu : Spicy Skirtmeat(매콤 갈매기살), Mapo Skirtmeat(마포 갈매기살)
Very Korean Menu : Pork rind(돼지껍데기), Raw beef(육회)
Spiciness : Mapo skirtmeat : ◇◇◇◇◇ (Not at all),
                 Spicy skirtmeat & side dish : ◆◆◇◇◇(A little Spicy)
English : ◆◇◇ (No English menu/Ask in English)

Menu : Spicy Skirtmeat(150g:7,500won), Mapo Skirtmeat(150g:6,900won), Pork belly(150g: 6,900won), Mapo pork rib(200g: 6,900won), Pork rind(150g:5,000won), Raw meat bibimbab(5,500won), Mapo noodle(3,000won), Rice bowl(1,000won), Adding egg(1,500won)

Main Shop


Opens : It depends on the stores
Location : Near Incheon Cheong-ryang elementary school
Phone : 032-817-3450 
Address : 604-9 Yeonsudong, Yeonsugu, Incheon
Budget : around 10,000won (except drinks)
Homepage : www.mapo92.com

Branch visited : (340branches) Dongrae, Busan

<Restaurant exterior and interior>

                                  <Left; pork rind, Right; skirtmeat>

이 장소를 Daum지도에서 확인해보세요.
인천광역시 연수구 연수2동 | 신마포갈매기 연수본점
도움말 Daum 지도

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Food : Spicy CJ Hot Curry : CJ in Korea

cj curry

CJ Hot Curry ★★★☆☆
CJ 매운맛 카레

Company : CJ
Weight : 180g(1serving)

Main ingredients : Frozen potatoes, carrots, onions, pork, sugar, 
                              wheat flour, curry, spicies

Nutrition Facts : 1 pack(180g)
Calories 125kcal
carbohydrates: 18g(5%)
sugars 6 g
Proteins 2g(3%)
Fats 4.9g(10%)(satruated fat 1.4g/trans-fat0g)
Cholesterol 5 mg(25%)

Variation : CJ Mild Curry
Similar Product : Oddugi Curry  

cj curry
cj curry
cj curry

Foodstoryist Review

Color & Texture : Deep straw
                             Sauce-like thick texture with slightly curry powdery feeling

Taste :
First impression of CJ hot curry is a bit disappointing. I expected the lots of colorful vegetables as I saw on the cover picture. I thought I can nourish myself with this vegetable-filled curry. 

I read the article that curry has anti-aging effect, and it’s the time to look younger. I was so excited to open it. I tore the edge of if and pour the content to the bowl. But how come I can’t find any red or brown color in the bowl? Where are my carrots and my pork that lay on the package photo that amused my eyes? There seem only potatoes in the curry. They had to name it as Potato curry instead.

Heating the curry in the microwave, I tried to ease my anger. As disappointed, I tasted the sauce. It was a bit spicy as it stated on the name, but it was delightful. I was able to feel the various kinds of ingredients and spices in it. It was a good harmony. I mix rice into the curry and enjoyed eating it.    


Pros :
well balanced sauce with dynamic spices in it. It is very simple to make taking just 3~5 minutes to prepare in total. The price is also reasonable, so you can make a valued meal with small budget.

Cons : As I said above, it doesn't contain as many vegetables as It describes on the package. Don’t be too disappointed with that. You can add leftover vegetables in the fridge if you can.
If you eat like a bird, the amount of sauce will be too much and taste salty.(Furthermore, It is high in sodium as well.) you should adjust the quantity of the sauce when preparing.

Food pairing :

Kimchi and Curry
Kimchi is the well known and the best match. Its spicy and salty taste just goes well with curry. Especially, its sour-spicy well blends with curry’s sweety-spicy. You place a small piece of Kimchi on curry rice on your spoon. But be aware that both food are based on salt, it means you unconciously eat enormous amount of rice offseting saltiness.

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Creamer : Instant coffee cream : Frima in Korea

 I want it.
 Mom always keeps me from drinking coffee, because mom thinks caffeine in it curbs my growth. I heard of it many times from school and TV, so I know, I know. My friends are also prohibited from drinking coffee by their parents. To me, however, whether I grow well or not is not a matter.

Why children may not drink it, and why adults may? It seems like the symbol of an adult. I want to be an adult and get freedom.

The dark drink allowed only to adults. It will be my target tonight.

                                                                                       a diary of mine in 1995


I think I just wanted to obtain the emblem of adultness by drinking coffee. I was not fond of that bitterness of coffee, of course, as a child, I could not bear the medicine-like taste at all.

I had my secret coffee recipes with optimal ratio of coffee, Frima, and sugar. I heard when adults order coffee, they said something like 2, 2, 2. I knew it means the number of spoon of each ingredient.

I sometimes sneaked into the kitchen at night and made my own coffee without making any noise. I would get grounded if my parents caught me. I made it very quietly not to awake them. As I was instructed, I put two flat spoons of instant coffee and two hill or mountain-like spoons of Frima and sugar. I appreciate heavenly sweet coffee and I was proud of myself entering into the adult life. I indulged in that sweety coffee that I made.

The other day
, I felt curiosity about the taste of Frima itself. I just scooped out one spoon of Frima and put it into my mouth. It was like powdered milk, but it has something more. Good enough. I just fell in love with this white powder. It was kind of addictive.

Every now and then, I would devour spoons of if at night noiselessly not to let my parents recognize it. I didn't want to get in trouble with my bad behavior midnight.

I didn't stop gulping my private night snack until Frima was all gone. Mom noticed that Frima disappeared suddenly, but she didn't buy it anymore. I couldn't ask her to buy it, either.

Nowadays, I recall my memories involved in that dark drink, drinking a cup of americano.
Frankly speaking, I think I fancied ‘Frima’, powdered coffee creamer.



What is Frima?

Frima is a non-dairy creamer.
To simply say, a Korean version of Coffee-Mate. 

Non-dairy creamers are liquid or granular substances intended to substitute for milk or cream as an additive to coffee or other beverages. The first commercial powdered creamer was “Pream”, first marketed in 1952 and made from dehydrated cream and sugar. It had the problem of not dissolving easily because of the protein in the milk. Six years later, in 1958, the Carnation Company developed a product that easily dissolved in hot liquid because it replaced most of the milk protein with dried vegetable oil. The new product was marketed under the Carnation label with the brand name "Coffee-Mate". Then, Frima is invented in 1974 by a Korean coffee company, Dongsuh.


True or False ? 
Non-dairy creamer contains Much fat, even trans-fat.

One year ago, there appeared a rumor. It is said to have a lot of fat, even trans-fat, and cholesterol. Consumers agitated by this rumor wondering if it is true or not. They worried and didn't want to take risk eating them. As the situation worsens, the company, Dongsuh, tried to convince the health-safeness of non-dairy creamer.


It says that

1. In terms of fat contains

‘3~4g of creamer is in a cup of coffee. If we suppose that we drink 3 cups of coffee, we intake 9~12g of creamer. It means just 2.7~3.6g of fat a day, and it’s not much.’

2. In terms of calories

1 serving(4.7g)
Calories : 25kcal
Carbohydrate 2.7g, Protein 0g, fat 1.6g(saturated fat1.6g), Trans-fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 5mg

It has just 25kcal per serving. It equals to a half tomato, a half morning bread, a half walnut. It’s consumed by 12minutes of walking. 

I know it is not the best choice to drink instant coffee with creamer in it vegetable fat will harm my body. I’d rather replace creamer for milk for my health. I heard of it many times from magagines and TV, so I know, I know.

In spite of that, creamer’s addictive taste hinders me from quitting. It drags me to put up spoonful of creamers into my cup. It smooths bitterness, sourness and astringent taste of coffee. Which hauls me to it, its fatty flavor or its nostalgic memory? Difficult to answer.

I Just want it.



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Cafe : Persimmon Smoothie : Angelinus Coffee in Korea



Persimmon Smoothie ★★★☆☆
홍시(Hongsi) 스무디

Cafe : Angelinus
Size & Price : Regular & 5800 won

Main ingredient: Iced persimmon 
Nutrition Facts : 204 kcal(small size)

Variety : Melon Smoothie Golden Kiwi Fruit smoothie, Lemon Yogurt Smoothie, Yogurt Smoothie, Strawberry Smoothie, Blueberry Smoothie
Similar Product : Cafe Bene Persimmon Smoothie


Foodstoryist Review

Color & Texture
Dim Orange

 Watery and a tiny bit of ice-flake(nearly unfeeling)

 I can feel the genuine flavor of persimmon itself, not artificial flavor. As it urges on its name, Hongsi, it seems being made of Hachiya type of persimmons, not Fuyu ones.

I hope it has more deeper or thicker texture of the fruit, because it’s a bit more watery than I expected, even compared to the one in ‘Cafe Bene’. I think Angelius attempted to emphasize the simpleness through the use of few ingredients, but as the fruit contain seems lower, it unintentionally reveals the emptiness somehow. It should be more condensed to recover its original taste intended. You’d better ask the staff to thicken the drink when ordering.

It’s a little sweet, so if you particularly like something extreme sweet or non-sweet, you can adjust the sweetness of the drink through further requests.



Food Pairing :

1. Whole grain bagel(bread) and Persimmon Smoothie

The nutty flavor of the bread and the fruity flavor of the persimmon make a great harmony. If the smoothie is dense enough to stay on the bagel without being soaked, you can put one spoonful of smoothie on the bagel and just get a bite of it. Chewing it, these two will give you hot and cold temperature and smooth and rough textures simultaneously. You can put more smoothie if you want more scrumptious tastes of it. You must try this home and country style taste feeling that you get healthier. 

2. Chocolate Muffin with chocolate chips and Persimmon Smoothie

If you know the great matching between orange and chocolate, you can easily imagine this perfect pairing. The freshness of the persimmon flavor and devil sweet chocolate muffin with lots of chocolate pieces in.

First, you poke the top of the muffin and place it into your mouth and feel the dark temptation. Then, just suck up the persimmon smoothie and the tart coolness will coat and cover the chocolate. You, then just close your eyes and chew slowly so that two will be mixed up, also chocolate chips melt, and make the heavenly sweetness on the flow.

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Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Pasta Soup at Home

When I was young, I wanted to grow quicker to be an adult, so I ate it two or even three bowls to get older. Will you eat it, if you gain one more year through it?

No or Yes?

You might not believe even the existence of it. But it exists in Korea. When you eat this food, you will get one year older. Do you want to know what food it is?


rice cake soup

 This is it. You might have seen it somewhere, or already eaten it. This food is called ‘tteok guk’ in Korean meaning rice cake pasta soup. This is the korean traditional new year food.

When do korean eat rice cake pasta soup?

We eat rice caken pasta soup twice a year; the solar new year day and lunar(chinese) new year day. The solar calendar new year is the 1st of January, most people know, while the lunar new year day is around the beginning of February. The lunar new year day changes every year as the lunar calendar changes.

Technically, we eat rice cake pasta soup on the lunar new year day, because we used to use the lunar calendar at the time we celebrated it. However, people started to eat it at the 1st of January as well, as the profound meaning of eating this soup is commemorating the new year, and then it became a tradition.  


The particular type of rice cake : Bar rice cake

We make rice cake pasta soup only with a particular type of rice cake. That is bar rice cake, called ‘Garae ddeok’ in Korean. It is long thick-strip like super-thick spaghetti with diameter of 3cm.

This bar rice cake embrace two implicit meanings.

Firstly, bar rice cake symbolizes the purity and hope for longevity. Its pure white color  signifies the new start with new clear mind. Like its long shape, we wish our long life expectancy.

Secondly, bar rice cake also implies the desire for wealth. As it comes along out from the machine, money hopefully comes ceaselessly out to eaters. On the other hand, it is sliced while cooking and served. It looks like just like a coin, that was only currency in the past. We just hope to be richer eating this money-shaped food.

The Strange Expression to Say hello at The new year.

As I mentioned on the head, you gain one year when you eat rice cake pasta soup. It leads to the unique and strange expression to say hello at the new year.

We often ask, “Have you eaten rice cake soup pasta this year?” meaning happy new year. We also ask “How many rice cake pasta soup have you eaten since born?” meaning “How old are you?”.


I am not like the child as I was, who ate two or three bowls of rice cake pasta soup. I’ve been old enough as a grown up. Yes, I think I had enough. I shouldn’t eat it anymore, but it’s so delicious that I cannot resist it.

Do you want to get older, or want to avoid eating it? I ascertain that you cannot help eating it when you look at the hot bowl with chewy rice cake in its mysterious white soup.

              Happy New Year !

                                                and... Try Rice Cake Pasta Soup This New year.

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