Ha Lan Vien
When the temperature rises, Koreans are ready to face the summer with a variety of nutritious and delicious dishes.
Naengmyeon (Cold noodle soup)
Fans of Korean dramas will definitely recognize bowls of cold noodles, which are the signature food of summertime. Naengmyeon noodles are thin and chewy, usually made of buckwheat flour and potato starch. The broth is clear and refreshing, usually made from beef broth and/or dongchimi, a radish-based kimchi.
Simple toppings such as crunchy cucumber, dried seaweed, scattered sesame seeds, along with ice cubes in your bowl are perfect to satisfy a summer craving.
Kongguksu (Cold soy milk noodle soup)
Another cold noodle soup popular in Korea is kongguksu: wheat noodles served in a soy milk broth. Against the white backdrop of the broth, golden noodles, fresh green cucumbers and ripe red tomatoes, create a refreshing and nutritious food for the hot days of summer.
Samgyetang (Ginseng chicken soup)
It seems counterintertuitive, but on hot and muggy days, Koreans slurp down samgyetang, a hot chicken soup. Samgyetang features a small game hen stuffed with glutinous rice, ginseng, chestnuts, jujubes, garlic, and other spices. It’s believed that while cold foods help lower the stomach temperature immediately, it’s better to “fight fire with fire.” A hot dish keeps the body balanced and ingredients such as ginseng help hydrate and replenish nutrients lost from sweating. As a result, this popular saved is sought after on the hottest days of summer to help cool down from within”.
Bingsu (shaved ice dessert)
When it comes to summer treats, a must-have is bingsu, a signature of Korea known for its hundreds of versions found all over the world. Bingsu is served in big bowls, filled with shaved ice and a wide range of toppings including sweet red beans, fruits, condensed milk, cookies and more. A bonafide global sensation, bingsu is one Korean summer treat that translates very well.
Dotorimuk muchim (Acorn jelly salad)
Eye-catching acorn jelly is the centerpiece this famous summer appetizer. The chilled jelly made from acorn starch is cut into bitefuls and adorned with vegetables and dressing such as thinly sliced kimchi, slivered carrots and aromatic sesame oil. A Europeanized version of the acorn jelly salads consists of sliced vegetables and fresh fruits, walnuts in a sour sauce, also a perfect choice to stave off the summer heat.
Jang uh gui (Grilled eel)
Don’t be surprised to find a grill on the checklist of summer must-tries in Korea. Heat of charcoals aside, the finished product – jang uh gui, or grilled eel – is an awesome treat for summer. Freshwater eel is high in protein, calcium and Vitamins A & E, and Koreans like to eat it in summer for stamina and to avoid heat exhaustion. Marinated, sliced and grilled and served with a variety of vegetable side dishes, eels are a perfect snack to accompany drinking liquor or cold beer. More simply, a lunch box with a piece of mouth-watering grilled eel also makes the unbearable heat seem to dissipate.