Tag Archives: Korean BBQ

The Story of the Korean Zodiac

Like much of Asia, South Korea has a long history of observing the Chinese-style lunar calendar. It is for this reason that our Seattle Korean restaurant recognizes the familiar Chinese zodiac.

The legend behind the Chinese zodiac is told in many different ways. Some people will say that it started with Buddha inviting animals to witness his departure from Earth, while others claim it was China’s Jade Emperor inviting the animals to a celebration of his birthday. Some say that all animals were invited, and the only twelve animals who showed up were rewarded with a position on the calendar, while others tell that a competition was staged to see which animals would get the most esteemed positions on the calendar. Even the specific animals that belong in the calendar are somewhat contested. However, the most widely-accepted version places the rat in the first position, followed by the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and finally the pig.

Pork in Korean Food

As is the case with many Asian culinary traditions, pork is a big part of Korean food. At our Seattle Korean restaurant, you can find everybody’s favorite “other white meat” in the form of our barbeque pork dishes, our pork and potato soup, our herb steamed pork, and more. Come and get your fix of pork today!

The consumption of pork goes back far into ancient history. Bones discovered in south-eastern Turkey show us that pigs were first domesticated as a food source as early as 8,000 BC. The practice made its way into China at some point around 4,900 BC. The cultivation of pigs for pork spread to Korea and throughout the rest of Asia from there, and has remained a significant part of many traditions to the modern day.

The Magic of Hangul

Are you familiar with the Korean alphabet? Though the language is not widely spoken outside of North and South Korea, it has risen in popularity in recent years among American students, currently representing the fifth most commonly studied language. You might look at all the foreign symbols on the menu at our Seattle Korean restaurant and find them intimidating, but it’s actually quite a practical alphabet.

The Korean alphabet, hangul, is not quite as complicated as it looks. Unlike the Chinese alphabet, which has thousands of letters, hangul is a phonetic system with only twenty-four symbols. These symbols, which are logically organized into fourteen consonants and ten vowels, are combined into single symbols that each represent one syllable. This alphabet is recognized as one of the most practical alphabets in the world, and a triumph of Korean ingenuity.

The Most Sustainable Seafood

With many of the ocean’s fish populations in danger of being harvested into oblivion, places like our Seattle Korean restaurant need to be more and more concerned with sustainability. You can participate in the sustainability movement by seeking out species of seafood that are commonly farmed, or that have shown themselves to be more resilient to overfishing. To this end, please take a look at this partial list of the more sustainable fish populations:

Black Cod
Clams, Scallops, Mussels, and Oysters
Yellowfin Tuna
Dungeness and Stone crab
Atlantic, King, and Spanish Mackerel

Korean Thanksgiving

The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates a day of thanksgiving! For our Seattle Korean restaurant, Thanksgiving is celebrated towards the end of September. It is around this time when Koreans observe Chuseok, a three day holiday of food, family, and remembrance.

Chuseok, alternatively called Hangawi, is similar to America’s Thanksgiving both thematically and in practice. It is a time when family gathers to spend quality time together, sharing traditional food and partaking of traditional activities. It is also a time when the burial mounds of dead relatives are visited and tended to. Though its origins are somewhat unclear, it can probably be traced back to ancient religious rituals involving the harvest moon. It’s the biggest and most significant of Korea’s holidays, so come by and celebrate it in style with Old Village!

Chicken: Everybody’s Favorite Bird

Everyone loves chicken. All across the world, it’s the most common variety of poultry. At our Seattle Korean restaurant, you can enjoy this classic bird in the form of our barbecue chicken dishes or our oriental chicken salad. But where did the common chicken come from, and how did it win such a foothold in so many culinary traditions?

The chicken we know today is a domesticated offshoot of the red junglefowl, a bird from Southeast Asia. This bird was first raised in India around 3,000 BC. Ancient Chinese writings tell us that it was first brought to China in about 1,400 BC, and its popularity spread into the Korean peninsula from there. Popular for its easy availability and neutral taste, the bird was one of the most important proteins throughout the Middle Ages for much of the continent, and has remained a culinary phenomenon to this day.

Napa: the Cabbage Behind the Kimchi

Would you know napa cabbage if you saw it?  It’s a word that’s foreign to many Americans, but there’s a good chance that you’ve had some before if you’ve dined at our Seattle Korean restaurant.  This is the vegetable that most kimchi is made out of, as well as the leaf that is often used to wrap up your Korean barbecue before eating it.  It’s well loved across much of Asia for its taste, as well as its many nutritional benefits:

  • Napa has a particularly low caloric content, putting it among celery as a zero or negative calorie vegetable.

  • Napa provides a high level of vitamin C, and a good amount of vitamin A.  It also features a number of important B vitamins, like riboflavin and folic acid.

  • Napa is an abundant source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

  • Vitamin K, found largely in cabbages like napa, plays an important role in the health of your bones.  Scientific studies have also revealed the vitamin’s potential to prevent damage to the brain and help prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Napa also contains many electrolytes and minerals, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and iron.

The Harmony of a Good Korean Meal

Have you ever been struck by the aesthetic beauty of a Korean meal? Indeed, though it only makes sense that our Seattle Korean restaurant would want to produce an attractive product, this is more about tradition than it is about salesmanship. The truth is that Korean food has a long history of harmony, be it it appearance, flavor, or nutritional quality.

The traditional values of balance go into every Korean meal. Solid food is balanced with liquid soups or stews. Spicy kimchi is balanced with mild rice. Hot is balanced with cold, rough is balanced with soft, proteins are balanced with vegetables, and even colors are balanced with their appropriate opposites so as to appeal to the eye. So important was this sense of balance that the royal court of the Joseon period would dine upon meals that could take several days to prepare.

Today, these elaborate “royal cuisine” meals can be enjoyed in Korea for over $250 American. Of course, you don’t have to spend that much to get quality Korean food at Old Village. So if you’re in the mood for a meal that pleases the eye as much as it pleases the tongue, drop by our Seattle Korean restaurant today!

Korea’s Favorite Onion

The green onion is an unassuming little vegetable. It’s generally content to hang around in the background of many dishes, including much of what you find at our Seattle Korean restaurant, rarely ever drawing notice to itself. In case you’ve ever paid them any thought, though, it’s worth noting the many health benefits that the green onion offers.

A typical vegetable, the green onion is low in calories and features no fat or cholesterol. A single stalk of the plant offers ten percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, nine percent of your vitamin C, and a touch of calcium and iron.

Green onions also contain organosulfur compounds. These compounds are good for preventing the decline of your cartilage as you age. A diet rich on organosulfur compounds can therefore help you avoid osteoarthritis, a painful condition associated with the atrophy of cartilage in the joints.

Quercetin, a valuable flavonoid found in green onions, is a valuable part of a healthy body. Not only does it neutralize free radicals to keep them from harming your DNA and bringing about deadly cancerous cells, but it also appears to protect the heart from the dangerous effects of cholesterol.

You can find green onions all over in Korean food. It’s mixed into the kimchi, baked into the pa-jeon, sprinkled atop bibimbaps and bulgogi and boiled into all sorts of soups and stews. Come and get a little bit more of this valuable vegetable today at the Old Village Korean Restaurant!

The Hidden Wonders of Soy Sauce

One of the chief condiments found at our Seattle Korean restaurant is, of course, soy sauce.  It’s one of the most important seasonings in Korean cuisine, as well as popular the world over for its potent flavor.  Due to its high sodium content, and its general similarities to table salt, many make the mistake of thinking that this famous sauce is an indulgence that the health-conscious individual would be wise to stay away from.  However, the humble soy sauce actually offers some very valuable nutrients:

  • Niacin: Also known as vitamin B-3, this nutrient is essential for the maintenance of a healthy heart.  It works to lower fats in the bloodstream while simultaneously raising the levels of healthy cholesterol.  As an added bonus, it is also an important part of a healthy skin, nervous system, and digestive system.

  • Manganese: This mineral is used in the creation of connective tissue, blood clots, and a powerful antioxidant agent that battles free radicals that can damage your DNA.

  • Tryptophan:  Soy sauce is particularly rich in this essential amino acid.  Your body uses tryptophan to create serotonin, which promotes restful sleep.  Some research also suggests that it can improve your mood.