According to the timestamp on the above photo, it’s been four years and 1 month ago since we last walked the streets of Seoul. Within those 4 years, 2 were spent mostly at home – while on lockdowns, we were bingeing on movies, dramas, and of course, different food – most of the time craving at the food displayed onscreen. Whether we’re watching Japanese animes and dramas, Korean TV series, or Netflix shows, we would end up eating something we saw in one of those.
At times, we cook them given that the ingredients are readily available, here’s a Bibimbap recipe that we’ve been following since. Other times, if they’re available on our food delivery service app, we just order them – a lot more efficient and convenient.
Travelling through Food
Because of travel restrictions, our itchy feet went on limited trips to nearby towns – which were also lovely. Some days of the months, the farthest we could go would be the specialty stores around the city! ^_^ Anyway, we can go as we do to cities we love through the food that we eat, right?
We often featured our love for anything Japanese on many of our blogs, Vietnamese and Italian dishes comes second and third – sometimes interchanging. Korean cuisine slowly found its way on our list much to our delight. So what have we been enjoying to munch on through the lockdowns? Here, we list some.
Meat and Seafood Love
Mimimizing on carbohydrates, meat and seafood have been our constant source of energy at home. And grilling would be our favorite method of cooking.
Samgyupsal (pork belly), has become a weekly regular treat for us, and galbi (grilled ribs) is a monthly favorite. As for seafood, we pick salmon, shrimp, mackerel, and milkfish cooked in many ways.
On colder days, we go with meat soup. Our top three go-to soups would be Filipino favorites: nilaga (beef stew), shrimp sinigang (sour soup), and tinola (chicken – ginger soup). You can find the recipes for these soups here, if you want to try.
Not as much as lowcarb – but time to time we use shirataki noodles. At times we use instant noodles as base and add up depending on flavor: meat, seafood, mushrooms, eggs (scrambled and boiled), kamaboko, and scallions. Ramen is very much seen in every anime series there is.
Soju is as famous as some of the Korean actors nowadays. Soju features in the drinking culture of Korea, as one of alcoholic beverages created by the country. Soju is traditionally made from the grains of rice, wheat, or barley and its alcohol content varies from about 16.8% to 53% alcohol by volume (ABV).
If you watch Korean dramas and movies, you would often see bottles of soju when friends gather at the rooftop, during family reunions, colleagues at a night out, and even lonesome fathers at pojangmachas (outdoor tents). Today, aside from enjoying a good meal, Koreans have drinking get-togethers to promote good fellowship and to encourage to open one’s heart to talking.
The price of soju is about 3€ a bottle. There’s a variety of flavors when I went to the Korean store at the city center, and here I took two Jinro bottles; original and fresh. According to the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) report, ranking the world’s largest spirits brands by volume, Jinro is the most popular alcoholic beverage around the world. The brand sold more soju than the combination of the second- and third-place soju brands sale, and has been continuously doing so since 2002.
I was looking for the peach-flavoured one as it was often recommended but they didn’t have any. I’d definitely look at other stores next time!
You can find more information about Jinro soju at: https://hitejinroph.com/
Soju and Yakult Plus Other Cocktails
Soju is often compared to vodka being a distilled spirit, but is a little sweeter and is lower in alcohol. Because of its similarity with vodka, soju is a good base for cocktails. One popular mix for those who like sweeter cocktails is soju and Yakult, the Japanese prebiotic drink we loved as kids (and even now).
Some categorize Yakult as yogurt, both made from milk, but the culture of bacterias are different. So here’s how to make a cocktail of soju and Yakult.
- 1 bottle Jinro soju
- 2 bottles Yakult
- 300ml Sprite
- ice cubes
Put some ice cubes in a pitcher.
Pour soju, yakult, and sprite.
Mix your concoction.
Pour onto soju glasses.
You can downsize this concoction to a single glass mix, 3 ounces soju, 3 ounces Yakult, and 3 ounces Sprite (adjust the Sprite per your preference). I’ve chilled both the Soju and Yakult so I skipped the ice cubes. You can definitely adjust the sweetness though by putting more or less Sprite. The taste would probably remind you of the Japanese drink Calpis, a slight hint of milky texture too.
If soju and Yakult isn’t for you, there are other easy soju cocktails you can mix at home, fruit juices are easy picks. Jinro soju has different-flavoured varieties as mentioned above, but if you can’t find them, here are some you can mix at home, mostly derived from vodka cocktails.
Soju and Mango juice (Mango Breeze = vodka + mango juice)
Soju and Orange juice (Screwdriver = vodka + orange juice)
Soju and Pineapple juice (Pineapple Screwdriver)
Soju and Grapefruit juice (Greyhound = vodka + grapefruit juice + lime)
Soju and Cranberry juice (Cape Codder = vodka + cranberry juice)
Which soju cocktail have you tried? Did you like the Soju and Yakult combination? Let us know in the comments.
Anju is the term used for food consumed with alcohol, could be main, side dishes, or those considered as snacks, even finger food.
Soju goes well with grilled meat and seafood, pig’s feet, fish cakes, and also seafood stir-fried dishes. Dried squid,dried anchovies are also a good pair. Since soju goes well with fruits, dried cranberries and other dried fruits are good to munch in between.
Whether as baked goodies, or drink, matcha is our favourite flavour, even for the many different Kitkat varieties, we’d pick matcha over anything. Bubble teas have been gaining traction again, and although taro is the more popular drink, matcha is still on top of our list. Matcha cakes are also sold in the Asian shops around, so if we’re too lazy to bake, we buy those from time to time.
Fish and Chips
If Korea was four years ago, The UK visit has been 6 years ago. We surely miss walking around London neighborhoods, and late night shopping at Oxford street…or just simply the local vibe.While there isn’t a lot of English food we crave, we’d have fish and chips at home on movie nights. It’s easy to prepare and the crunch makes it a perfect pair for Soju and Yakult nights too!
Which city are you missing the most? Which one do you plan on visiting when things get safer? We haven’t planned far ahead yet, but we do know what will be on the menu. 😉 If you love food from other countries, now is the best time to allow your tastebuds to go anywhere!