Many Korean Americans have found that their Asian kitchen recipes have been adopted and adapted to American cooking. This is quite natural as the two cultures share many of the same ingredients and staples. In this article, we’ll discuss some differences you’ll see when eating Korean cuisine versus that of other cuisines. This may surprise you.
The first difference between Korean and American cuisine – meat is used very sparingly. Most Korean foods are heavy with vegetables. Spicy vegetables such as onions and garlic are in abundance and help make Korean dishes distinctive and delicious. Vegetables are also a staple part of many Korean dishes; unlike the minimal use of meats in most American dishes. As a side note, Koreans also like to deep fry their vegetables.
What Are The Main Differences
Another key difference you’ll find when comparing Korean cuisine to that of other cuisines is the condiments used. While Americans tend to place condiments on their food, Koreans use them on various dishes. In fact, there is even a word for soy sauce in Korean. This condiment is very popular with the people of Korea as it adds that unique flavor to many Korean dishes.
Unlike the American diet, which thrives on heavy meats and dairy products, Korean food is heavy on fish and poultry as well as vegetables. You’ll rarely find vegetables such as cauliflower in Korean dishes. Many vegetables are eaten on a daily basis and are preferred by those who are watching their weight – especially because they are rarely cooked.
Seafood Is An Important Characteristic Of Korean Cuisine
When looking at Korean cuisine – particularly Korean ginseng – you’ll find that it’s fermented. This fermentation lends a unique flavor to Korean dishes. Unlike American cuisine, where vinegar is the dominant flavor agent, Korean cuisine – particularly Korean ginseng – utilizes the natural yeast present in the plant to give its dishes that special fermented taste. It’s interesting to learn that Korean cuisine – in particular Korean ginseng – has been widely known to have healing properties for a variety of disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. Ginseng is also commonly found in Asian-style pubs and is sometimes taken as a tonic to improve energy levels and overall health.
Another important characteristic of Korean cuisine is seafood. Unlike most cuisines, Korean food almost exclusively uses seafood. It’s true that the country itself doesn’t have many seafood species, but the varieties available are world renowned. Gathered from all over the country, these seafood varieties are used in almost every type of Korean dish you can imagine. From japchae, or sweet red ginseng, to pork, fish, tofu and beef – the food is full of flavor and appeal. In fact, in some circles, Korean cuisine is considered even more delicious than Japanese cuisine!
Of course, not all Korean dishes are made only of seafood, but this is often the primary focus of the cuisine – along with the use of a massive variety of vegetables. From simple steamed vegetables like onions and ginger to complex dishes with dozens of vegetables, all brought together under one theme, Korean cuisine – at least the most popular varieties – revolves around vegetables. Some of the most popular vegetables used in Korean dishes are vegetables like onions and garlic, as well as green beans, turnips and cabbage. In addition, there are fruit like apples, oranges and pineapples that can be added to the mix as well.
While the components of Korean cuisine can be thought of as simple, there are actually several elaborate techniques used to create foods that are unique and delicious. For example, unlike Chinese cooking that uses a large amount of salt, Korean cuisine tends to rely on the amount of various seasonings that are used. Seasoning typically comes in the form of either salt or vinegar. Also, unlike Chinese cooking which relies on a high amount of soy sauce, Korean cuisine uses a much lower amount, allowing the natural flavors to really shine through.