A five-course meal inspired by a childhood in Korea provides insight into the desires of a Korean palate.
Sesame leaf wrap, pickled jalapeno, mustard, garlic, sesame, jellyfish salad
Ssam means wrap and any leafy vegetable will do. Perilla, or wild sesame, is our leaf here. It is furry on the tongue and tastes of licorice. Jellyfish sound a bit adventurous, but they have no flavor. In Asia they're prized for their chewy, toothsome texture.
Seaweed and Crab
Kelp noodle, radish, gochujang mayo, lemon, sesame
Gochujang, a fermented red pepper paste, is a pillar of Korean cuisine supplying spice, depth and a bright red color. Kelp can easily be described as green and slimy. This fast growing seaweed is used in soups and salads across Asia. Perhaps you recognize it from your take-out miso soup.
Mung Bean Jelly
Bean sprouts, Sichuan peppercorn, chili oil, garlic, peanuts
Mung beans are the perfect summer food because they help expel heat from your body. Check out my Time Out NewYork Article for other cooling foods. The mung bean jelly in this dish has the cool texture of extra firm Jello. Sichuan Peppercorns are hot literally and figuratively, so look forward to seeing them on a menu near you. Be prepared, they leave a buzzing sensation on your lips and eat enough and you’ll be peppercorn drunk.
Duck and Green Curry
Udon, sugar snap peas, goose broth, shallot, lime
Duck is the trendy protein for U.S. chefs these days. In this iteration it tasted like tender beef.
Udon is one of my favorite Japanese noodles. It's hearty and has a chewy stick-to-your-bones texture.
Meatballs and Egg
Fermented black bean, pork, onion, cabbage, cucumber
Jjajangmyeon is the Korean name for this dish, but it is actually Chinese in origin and is popular in Japan as well. Usually it's a sweet, umami-packed, black bean sauce fortified with ground meat, but Chef Sung created meatballs instead reminding us of the classic comfort food spaghetti and meatballs.
We will call this street candy because it is made on the streets of Korea and is gobbled by children on their way home from school.
These dishes are not all strictly Korean, but that is the nature of cuisine. It adapts and represents people and their environment at any given moment. So what about you? Have the flavors of Korea begun to enter your world?
This collection of Korean inspired delights is brought to you by: The Brooklyn Belly at The Southside Supper Club Brooklyn, NY
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