Xiamen Guide to Korean Cuisine

Updated: 18 Sep 2008
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Like the Japanese restaurants, the Korean restaurants have been in Xiamen for just as long. Because of its closeness to Japanese and Chinese cuisine, the Korean cuisine is well accepted in Xiamen by the local Chinese, Japanese community and Korean community.


In many aspects Korean cuisine is a combination of Japanese and Chinese techniques in preparing food. If compared to Japanese cuisine, it relies less on fish and seafood; if compared to Chinese, it relies less on oil.


The staple food of course is rice (in Korean: bap). Rice noodles (in Korean: chapche) and bean curd (in Korean: duboo) are common starch substitutes or additions.


Korean foods tend to be spicier than either Japanese or Chinese dishes. The hotness comes chiefly from chili. Other common spices are sesame and ginger.


The Famous Kimchi


 Koreans are likely to eat pickled vegetables every day of the year 


Most peculiar about Korean cuisine, however, is its way of pickling instead of cooking vegetables. Pickled vegetables in Korean is kimchi, a term anyone visiting Korean restaurants will learn fast. Literally kimchi is just the word for vegetables; but pickling is so predominant that even for the Koreans, kimchi also means pickled vegetables and they only specify the preparation if it is other than pickled.


Koreans are likely to eat pickled vegetables every day of the year, commonly for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the cold Korean winter kimchi can last for many months. However, in the tropical Thai climate kimchi should be and is prepared only several days before consumption. The pickling process takes about 12 to 14 hours. Almost all available vegetables can be pickled but the most common in Korea are cabbage, turnip, and cucumber. The seasoning is chili, garlic, onion, ginger, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and salt.


During the fermenting process the vegetables loose much of their natural flavor and instead adopt the flavor of the seasoning. The difference in texture, however, is enhanced.


Even as kimchi is most peculiar to Korean cuisine, it's rather the Korean habit of preparing meat as barbecue (in Korean: bulgogi) that has appealed to a large number of gourmets around the world.


Korean BBQ - Kalbi


 Kalbi is the signature dish of Korean cuisine  


Kalbi is the signature dish of Korean cuisine — the pinnacle of fine dining from the ancestral homeland and the reason why many Korean restaurants have gas grills built into each dining table.


Made of beef short ribs, cut into thins strips and marinated with soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, green onions and sugar, kalbi is grilled over a medium-hot flame and best served the way Korean restaurants do: cut into pieces right over the grill, usually with hefty kitchen shears, and then wrapped inside a fresh leaf of lettuce with a finger of steaming white rice, a dollop of spicy red bean paste (gochichang), a few slivers of raw or grilled garlic, and shredded strips of fresh green onion.


Kalbi is surprisingly easy to make once you understand the balance of sweet and savory flavors when preparing using beef, soy, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and green onions. If you let these ingredients stand out, you'll have a foolproof dish that will satisfy any meat lover.

The grilling technique for kalbi is the exact opposite of grilling a big American steak. Kalbi is much more of a hands-on dish. Because of its thinner cut, the meat cooks faster and requires constant attention and turning over, which is why it is so much fun to cook it at the table with a group of friends.


Like most Korean meals, kalbi should be served with panchan, an assortment of side dishes that might include marinated spinach, cooked bean sprouts, salt-cured fish and of course the ubiquitous Korean side dish, kimchi, a spicy fermented cabbage or radish that people either love or hate.


As the Koreans use chopsticks meats are chopped into bite size before being cooked. And like in Chinese dining, dishes (except rice) are served family style with food placed in the middle of the table where every diner picks a piece of this or that.


The Koreans pay particular attention to the arrangement of the food on the plates and the dishes on the table, a similarity to first-class Thai cuisine. Foods are supposed to be placed neatly in concentric circles or parallel linear columns and never in a disorderly fashion. But that's not enough. Also the colors of the foods should alternate in a regular manner.





Korean Restaurants in Xiamen


Ayi's House


69-6 Yanwu Lu






1F Xinzhonglin Hotel

18 Lianhua Nanlu



1F Dihao Dasha 820 Xiahe Lu




Chang Bai Shan


Shop 7, Block C Daxue Cheng Yanwu Lu






22 Hubin Beilu

Behind the Bank of China




Shop 384-385, 3F SM

468 Jiahe Lu



Shop 501,5F World Trade City




Hanyang Korean Restaurant


3F Dongchen Hotel,92 Jiahe Lu


Tel:5096131  5096132


Korea Restaurant


63-65 Hubin Beilu




Liyuan Korean Restaurant


Shop 1135 Mall of Lotus

28 Xianglian Li






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