(1) Individual Research: Korean Food

After watching the South Korean gamers in State of Play, I was extremely hungry. Hungry because of all the delicious looking food that seemed to be used as a celebration for when the gamers came home.

Korean cuisine which has evolved over many centuries, is largely based on Rice, vegetables and meats. Traditional Korean foods also have a large number of side dishes as well as having kimchi with every meal.

What I found interesting is that many international cuisines available to us at Coles etc. are Mexican, indian, Italian, asian. Yet its nearly impossible to find any traditional Korean ingredients without going to a speciality store. This results in people making Korean food which is often inauthentic.

For me, Korean food is something which is completely foreign, I think the furthest I have ventured would be Thai food at a restaurant. With that being said, I looked for Korean recipes on google, in which many had been changed slightly to fit our culture or access to ingredients which provided inauthentic traditional Korean food. So instead I looked on forums and discovered this blog which provides you with a really good understanding of Korean culture as well as the food you are making.

After exploring this Korean Food blog with recipes passed down through family members. I knew this would be authentic and found myself searching for the easiest recipes, why? Im English. I grew up with traditional cooking, pies, roast dinners etc. This kind of cooking is completely foreign to me. So here goes…

Ingredients: (4ish?)

  • 2 Bunches of Bok Choy – (Easy thats a universal vegetable)
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Green onion, minced- (I found myself in a local veg shop googling ‘what is a green onion?’ results, SPRING ONION people! We are purchasing spring onions.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Doenjang (fermented soybean paste)- (No idea what I was looking for, so again took to google. Picture me now stood in coles, learning about soybean suppliers. Result, instead of me waiting a week for the delivery of soybean paste I googled, ‘what was the closest bean to a soybean?’ results, Butter Bean (partly estimated too) I was thinking that I could just mash them up into a paste?)
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


What I thought would be an easy recipe turned out to be a disaster. I got home and realised that I purchased Spinach instead of Bok Choy (“universal vegetable” haha) and I forgot the sesame seeds!

My mum also informed me they sell soybeans in the frozen section which i could of mashed as an alternative. (Tad late there mum!)

What I realised very quickly was that, Korean food ingredients were very hard to come across, making it nearly impossible to make Korean food in your own home or somewhat difficult resulting in wanting to just make something you are familiar with instead. This also lead me to believe that there is a strong Korean food culture and sense of pride, with food that should only be made properly and with the correct ingredients, hence there appears to be more Korean restaurants rather than available ingredients. Does this suggest that Korean cuisine is just that Korean, and we shouldn’t be trying to make it?

Ultimately through researching however, I found that Koreans are very accepting and willing to share their culture with all different nationalities. So why aren’t ingredients easily accessible? After reading this news piece we can see a massive increase in Korean restaurant bookings, which is supporting the sale of Korean ingredients in Coles, describing Korean food as the new ‘mexican.’ (Personally though I couldn’t find many ingredients there other than my sesame oil which was reasonably cheap ($3.75).

Day 2 of cooking Korean food…

  1. Heat water in the kettle.
  2. Pour flavouring on noodles in a bowl
  3. Put noodles in the microwave for 2 minutes
  4. Steal chopsticks from sushi-hub
  5. Eat noodles with chopsticks and call it Korean Cuisine.

Okay I lied, it isn’t Korean at all, I am just really struggling to find Korean ingredients due to the amount of effort and accessibility. I was pointed in the right direction by my BCM240 teacher, Charlotte Allen (Thank you!) on twitter, who has a friend who cooks Korean Fried chicken (Yum!) Please check out the video below.


How yum does that look? I will definitely be trying that! The problem as I spoke about before is ensuring the food is authentic by using all the right ingredients. Im allergic to Chilli and seafood… Yeah I know it sucks! Theres a lot of stuff I cant even go near and on top of that a lot of Korean foods have chilli in the dishes, which makes it hard to ensure what I’m making is authentic if I have to take out a main ingredient which gives the dish its flavour.

What do you think, does it lose authenticity if you are taking out ingredients? I was thinking a great way to filter recipes would be to tag ingredients within recipes so you can search for recipes without certain ingredients to get around being able to make Korean food that is still authentic.

For instance, next I will be making Bulgogi which is a marinated Korean BBQ beef, ‘simple yet delicious’ apparently. Im still trying to work out whether I should make the Korean Fried Chicken without Chilli. I will also be filming it similarly to how I did with the Bok Choy recipe, so if anyone had any comments for improvement that would be awesome! (Hopefully I can get the right ingredients for this one… haha!)




5 thoughts on “(1) Individual Research: Korean Food

  1. Hi there Jade,

    I must say I really enjoyed both your blog and video, it was done in a very creative and upbeat way so it was great for the audience to be taken through your journey that way. I am very impressed with your chosen topic, it is a brave and adventurous one for sure, but it truly does get into what autoethnography is, especially as you said you’re English, so trying to understand and develop a skillset with Korean food is fantastic. I look forward to seeing how it continues to go, and keep up the detailed yet humourous methods!



  2. Hi Jade,
    love the idea! Your Vlog was presented in a way that showcased how you understand this particular culture (in this case traditional Korean food) through your interpretation of the recipe. Your quite funny and i was thoroughly entertained. You also made me hungry. Anyways back on track, one suggestion I would make is maybe delving into some of the more ‘obscure’ Korean dishes. In terms of gaining a more effective Autoethnographic experience, placing your self as far away from your comfort zone will assist this. It wouldn’t hurt on the view counts as well (as viewers are more likely to consume more ‘obscure’ content).
    Look forward to your next video!


  3. This is a great concept. Korean food is not something that I see in Wollongong and after seeing your video I realised that I have only ever eaten Korean food when I’ve been overseas. There are many different Korean dishes that you can experiment with but may I suggest you try Kimchi (see link below). Kimchi is a traditional fermented dish that is wildly popular in Korea.

    Food for thought: What do people in North Korea eat?



  4. Hi Jade,
    Firstly, you are so brave to be doing this! I think Korean food is an enigma to many Australians and individuals foreign to this culture. I totally understand the problem with trying to find anything other than the ‘typical’ cuisines in Woolworths and Coles as I am of German heritage and there is literally nothing traditional nor authentic in many supermarkets. However, going to a Korean grocers may be a way to go about getting a really authentic approach to your study. These can also be difficult to find especially if you live outside of Sydney.
    Also, I do not think that substituting ingredients for ones readily available should be a hinderance as it would be difficult to just fly over to Korea to experience some food! You are onto such a great start and I really enjoyed your video! I was impressed you managed to put it in your mouth! I can only imagine what it tasted like! HA

    Keep up the great work! I look forward to seeing this research/study continue!


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