As TEFL destinations go, South Korea is a firm favourite, and if you’re heading there soon then the gourmands amongst you might be interested to know a bit more about one of i-to-i’s favourite topics…FOOD.
Bibimbap literally translates as mixed rice. Sound tempting yet? Well if you check out the crazy picture on the right that’s what you can expect to see in Jeonju! Not so mixed rice, and more like a work of art! This traditional peasant food is common everywhere when teaching English in Korea and comes in two varieties (in a metal bowl regular Bibimbap and in a heated stone bowl, dolsot bibimbap). If you order the ‘Dolsot’ then look out for the crispy scorched rice around the edge, it’s called Nurungji and is a Korean delicacy.
Korean Barbecue seems to be the new trendy food popping up all over Western Europe! This is caveman food at its best; traditional galbi is made up of spicy barbecued short ribs that you cook on a pit of fire in the centre of your table. Wash this down with a beer this dish and your meal will come to a whopping total of a fiver! There’s no question that Korean barbecue joints will become a regular hangout place for you and your TEFL buddies.
Ok, so it might look like a chicken kiev but this is actually a deep-fried pork cutlet smothered in a katsu-like curry sauce…how fancy! I think we should take over the M&S adverts…
Assuming you’re of legal drinking age, make sure to grab one from one of the popular ‘orange takeaway joints’ at 3am. Your Donkasseu is the Korean equivalent of a kebab on the way home.
Sweet cinnamon pancakes stuffed with dried fruit and nuts, what’s not to love? This little snack is commonly sold by street hawkers across the autumn and winter months and people go crazy for it! Some vendors in Seoul are so popular that you’ll find queues a block long to visit them! That is a lot of pancake love.
This is the pizza of Asia (don’t worry they have pizza too – although it does have a variety of weird toppings like squid rings and sweet potato). This dish uses spicy chilli paste, rice and grated mozzarella. This dish is really cheap and filling, costing around about 1.50 per portion, so these restaurants are mostly found in the city centre or near to Universities and great for your lunch break!
Top tip: if you’re vegetarian make sure to ask for no meat as now and again an enterprising chef will throw chicken in.
Weird Korean Food Stuff
Feeling experimental? South Korea has some interesting delicacies that are definitely worth a try at least once!
• Silkworm lavae, nope you haven’t got on the wrong plane and ended up in the Aussie jungle ala I’m a celebrity… You’ve just been served this lovely carnivorous snack in a bar – think we’ll stick to our peanuts thanks!
• Chicken Feet, our TEFL adventurer Kat ordered these in Seoul…by accident “I’d been studying Korean for a few months and had started to pick up some of the local lingo, so when I saw 닭 (chicken) on the menu I thought I was safe and ordered that. How wrong I was. The little old lady returned with a plate of shrivelled claws and a gigantic smile. “
• Bizarre Combinations (probably unavoidable actually so maybe it should have made it on to the first list). Pickles with pasta, sweet potato in doughnuts, sugar on a seafood pizza. Korea takes the sweet/sour combo to a whole new level.
We’re suddenly very hungry… Salivating for South Korea? Get clued up before you arrive with this specialist South Korea certificate!