Culinary Culture of Korea

A Family Overflowing with National Flavour

Yun Tae Song’s family in Neighbourhood Unit 57, Pongji-dong, Pyongchon District, encourages national foods to put them on the dinner table all the year around.

The family members have shepherd’s purse soup and radish pickles with giant garlic in spring; tangogi soup in summer; songphyon (a half-moon-shaped rice cake) and loach soup in autumn; and whole bok choy kimchi and possamkimchi (wrapped-up kimchi) in winter.

An Hui Suk, daughter-in-law of the family, is a national food expert. She, an associate professor and teacher of Pyongyang College of Cookery, has compiled many cookery books in the past, including Twelvemonth Dishes of Our Family, Unique Cuisine of My Mother and DIY Dishes. The books explain plainly the methods of cooking national foods according to four seasons.

“From my childhood I had national foods prepared by my mother. Still lingering in my eyes are glutinous rice cake, half-moon-shaped rice cake, rice-cake soup and Taedonggang grey mullet soup I had in that time. So, I began to study national foods, I think. Our national foods are characterized by unique tastes, aroma and colours,” she said. And she explained the superiority of national foods.

Whenever she greets the New Year, she would naturally think of the festival foods, daily foods and specialties of the year, she added.

Loach soup is a special food of her family. She is good at preparing the soup by applying different methods unique to each province. The Korean Central TV broadcast her recipe for loach soup under the title, Loach, Freshwater Insam.

Greeting the New Year 2022, she prepared glutinous rice cake, mung-bean pancake, shish kebab, Pyongyang cold noodles and other national foods.

The unique love of national foods does not merely belong to her.

Her husband Yun Song Chol, too, is well-informed of them. He said that as he has lived with a national food expert, he is accordingly well-versed in them. He added that his wife is good not only at making national foods but at playing kayagum, a national musical instrument.

Besides, Pak Song Juk, An’s mother-in-law, is good at preparing soybean malt. For this reason, she is invited to her neighbours to instruct them.

An says: “The tradition of the nation is not inherited of its own accord. It can be glorified and carried forward only when we like to put on the Korean costume and have national foods, and strive to maintain and develop it all the time.”

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