Food: "Learn from what we eat" in Korean style

The health benefits of delicious Korean food were explained late last month at a "Learn from What You Eat" gathering at Hagley Community College.

Pearl Park, who did most of the cooking with the assistance of Tenny Jang, explained that Korean food was basically very healthy. For example, Korea’s national dish, the highly spiced pickled cabbage, kimchi, helped increase digestion.

Pearl is the wife of Kevin Park, the Communications Co-ordinator of the Canterbury Migrants Centre, which organised "Learn from What You Eat".

During the session, Irene Lee, an experienced trilingual nurse with Doctors of Riccarton, also explained that unlike other Asian countries that have been influenced by neighbouring countries, Korean food was very distinct.

The most important staples were hot red peppers, which were used in many casseroles, and soybeans, which could be cooked with rice, ground into flour, or made into tofu. Other popular dishes include:

Bap (rice): Steamed rice is a staple of many Korean dishes and there are many different types of rice. There is huinbap, which is simply white rice; yapgokbap, which is rice with barley, millet and beans; byeolmibao, which is rice with vegetables, seafood and meat; and bibimbap, which is rice mixed with namul (seasoned spinach) and beef.

Guksu (noodles): These are made by kneading wheat flour or buckwheat flour, and drawing the dough into long coils.

Mandu and Tteokguk (dumpling soup and sliced rice-cake pasta soup): The dumplings are stuffed with fillings and then steamed or boiled in soy-sauce soup.

Jeongol (hot pot): Meat, seafood, mushrooms and other vegetables are simmered in broth at the table just before serving.

During the two-hour session, Pearl prepared two typically delicious Korean dishes: Japchae a sweet-potato glass-noodle stir fry; and Kimchi Buchimgae, a kimchi pancake.

Other speakers on food, health and Korean culture included Dr Eugene Sia, of Grahams Road Surgery; Lisa Oh, an anchor of Korean radio programme K-Voice; Carina Hollersberger, the moderator for Learn What We Eat; and Pedro Carmona, facilitator for origins of attendees.

Future Learn What We Eat events will include one on Filipino food, on February 26, at Hagley College; while a session on Zimbabwe food is planned for March.

- Hans Petrovic

FoodMigrants CentreComment