The Role of Korean Ramyeon – Christina Ji Young Chang

Christina Chang

The Role of Korean Ramyeon

Instant Korean ramyeon is popular all over the world today. It can be found in myriad places, including western supermarkets, majority of Asian markets, and even at the summit of Jungfrau in Switzerland due to its popular demand. In the motherland, ramyeon consumption is about 70~90 ramyeon per person a year, and 3.3 billion for the whole population of Korea every year. Lim Chun-aem, a track-and-field athlete who won 3 medals in the 1986 Asian Games, even stated that she only ate ramyeon and ran to train for the race.  Despite the world’s view of being unhealthy and a quick fix to a fast paced life, instant ramyeons are continuing to evolve and carry a significant place on everyone’s table as a staple food; ramyeon creations also reflect the Korean’s open cultural mindset that welcomes cultural identities and enjoys creating hybrids.


The history of Korean ramyeon began in 1963, as a cheap filler food during the post-Korean war age when most were famished. Samyang food came up with their reputable Samyang ramyeon with the help of Japan’s mechanical equipment and started the boon of the stereotypic red and spicy soup. Afterwards, the ramyeon rush continued in the 1980’s when Shin Ramyeon was launched. In a span of 10 years, Shin ramyeon was exported to foreign countries and  the Korean ramyeon industry continued to propel forward. As many were tired of the same stereotypic ramyeon, new fusion types began to arise in the 2000’s. Although it has only been 55 years since the start of the first Korean ramyeon, this industry has become one of the most prominent Korean export regime and a part of Korean cultural DNA. Dong-ryun Ko, a Korean engineer, mentioned that “ramyeon is like kimchi (one of the most popular side-dishes) to Koreans. The smell and taste create an instant sense of home.” Similarly, ramen has this impact on many Koreans continuing its conquer in the history of South Korea.


The now leading Korean export regime of ramyeon first started off by exporting into neighboring Asian countries, such as China, Japan, and North Korea. The response was very positive to the point where North Koreans used ramyeon as a mode of diet, food when appetite is lost, ; North Koreans would enjoy Korean ramyeon over all other types, leading to Chinese companies putting Hangul on their products on purpose to mislead the customers into thinking that they were from South Korea. Although the boom in other countries are mainly due to the taste and easy accessibility, I believe that K-Pop and K-drama also had a colossal effect. Through an interview with Ellie Halm, she mentioned that as she was learning the Korean language by watching K-drama, she also learned to eat the food that appeared on the shows, especially ramyeon. There are many dramas and shows that are dedicated to food and cooking, such as “Let’s Eat”. These types of shows promoted the Koreans’ love for their food, in this case ramyeon, that was reflected and spread throughout Asian and Western countries.


Although the consumptions of ramyeon are very high, it is hard to deny the fact that they are as nutrition deficient as any other types of instant ramens when it is cooked and eaten by itself. Purposive fortification with essential micronutrients may provide some additional nutritional value to ramen but it still cannot be the primary and the only source of food for individuals. If consumption is high, it is also known to be positively related to the obesity, cardiometabolic risk factors, and heart failures due to the lack of nutrition and sodium, as one instant ramyeon delivers more than 90% of the recommended daily sodium intake. Just like any other junk food, ramyeon is massively consumed around the world and there are certainly other factors that precede such health risk.


Even though ramyeon is merely known as a quick and filling meal with health risks stated above, there are many culturally significant meanings behind this bowl of noodles that makes it the popular dish that it is today. First, it is known to help overcome hangovers, also known as haejang. Koreans are known to be the second highest alcohol consumer in the world.  With such high percentage of alcohol consumption, ramyeon is a meal that is consumed at night or even in the morning after a night out to overcome and decrease the effects of alcohol hangover. In an interview with Jessica Lee, she said, “similar to Americans drinking Bloody Mary after drinking, we eat ramyeon to lessen the hangover”. Second, ramyeon is a one of the necessities that are essential to bring when camping. Ramyeon soup base can be used in all Korean stews to enhance the taste and the noodles can be added for taste at any time also. When at a Korean camping base, the smell of ramyeon fills the air, as most if not all utilize ramyeon in their meals in some shape and form. Indeed, ramyeon is a way of life for Koreans.


Third, ramyeon somehow became a pop culture in recent years. After a successful episode in the Korean Saturday Night Live few years ago, ramyeon became a litote in Korea. It turned into a symbol of seduction. “Do you want to eat ramyeon at my place?” became the modern litote which is similar to phrase “wanna come up to see my etchings?” in America during the mid-20th century. Rather a litote than a double entendre, it became immensely popular across all generations which was contrary to the deep-rooted confucianism and conservationism among the Koreans. In my opinion, the familiarity and comfort of ramyeon have nullified the sexuality commonly associated with the litote.


Lastly, ramyeon is rationed out as emergency food in Korea. Along with other essentials, ramyeon is distributed as staple food in areas affected by natural disasters. Due to its durability and mobility, ramyeon is distributed to both victim and rescuers. During the Sewol ferry incident in 2014, thousands of ramyeon was distributed to the emergency shelter for everyone to quickly consume food and resume rescue works. Tons of ramyeon are occasionally shipped to North Korea as part of humanitarian efforts. Even when hot, clean water is unavailable, ramyeon is eaten raw which is also considered a delicacy. Following that concept, there is even a snack in Korea called “ppushu ppushu smash noodle” which is essentially a raw ramyeon noodles with seasonings. It is consumed by smashing the noodles into pieces and mixing up well with given seasonings. This simply showcases the undying love Koreans have for ramyeon. According to Koby Han who has completed two years of military service in Korea, a variety of ramyeon is rationed to the soldiers weekly to be consumed as an addition to the given meals. Even during his combined military exercises with the United States Forces in Korea (USFK), ramyeon was rationed out to both Korean and American soldiers. Koby claimed that ramyeon is a delicacy every soldier love to eat after completing his guard duty overnight and it creates inseparable bonds with your comrades. From such perspectives, I can infer that ramyeon is indeed a soul food that fuels the spirits of Koreans in any occasion.


Creativity with ramyeons is one of the reasons why it is so popular and well-known. So many different recipes could be made with one ramyeon by adding different ingredients. Relating it to the interview that I have done with Sandy Lin, Sandy talked about the balanced diet that Chinese noodles can have by eating it with different sides, such as vegetables and meat; this can also be true with Korean ramyeon. Countless of ingredients can be added, such as bean sprouts, bean paste, carrots, potatoes, meat, milk, and even coke to advance it into a better balanced and nutritious meal despite its lacking nutritional values when eaten alone; ramyeon can also be added to existing, traditional, nutritious dishes and add on to the delicate taste. Tim Alper, a journalist, has been living in Korea for over 10 years and has been conducting what I see as the most effective fieldwork, participant observation. Participant observation is an inside perspective on culture of an individual who can apply his or her outsider’s perspective in order to draw wider conclusions. It involves everyday tasks that are essential in learning culinary tradition and understand the final outcome. Tim Alper saw countless different combinations of ramyeon that were made by people living in Korea. I believe that these countless customization led to the fame that it has today.


Furthermore, ramyeon can also be mixed from two different types. For example, the most famous and popular mix would be jjapaguri. This is a mix of two different ramyeons, jjapagetti and neoguri, that is known to make an unprecedented taste that captured the hearts of hundreds and thousands of citizens of Korea. This recipe first originated from the soldiers who were experimenting during their free time and the recipe was available on the internet, but started its boom when it hit the TV in 2013. Since then, people started to share their recipes of mixing different types of ramyeon together on the internet. Furthermore, some ramyeon companies responded by actually manufacturing the popular ramyeon mix recipes. For instance, the popular mix of buldak-bokkeum noodle with jjapagetti was eventually produced as a single ramyeon product called Jjajang-buldak by the Samyang food company. These types of versatility in the ramyeon recipe led to people sharing their own recipes with their friends and family, creating time for them to bond and connect. Seen in the reading, The Dog who Ate the Truffles”, special recipes were passed down to their family members as they were spending quality time together, allowing time for bonding, understanding, and connecting with each other. This parallelism shows that ramyeon is not merely a quick, easy, and unhealthy meal eaten in the fast paced society, but method for members of society to connect and share time together while sharing a bowl of ramyeon. Such phenomenon is also a fine reflection of a common symptom among the Koreans: the parrot effect. Koreans tend to like doing what others are doing, often resulting in an ubiquitous fashion, styles and delicacy. Mixing of ryameon became an instantaneous phenomenon, thanks to the parrot effect, which eventually resulted in a mass love for creative ramyeon mixes. This also reflects the strong unity and sense of togetherness among the Koreans; the cultural DNA.


As ramyeon transformed into a meal, instead of merely being a quick fix, fusion ramen came to surface and showed the versatile mind that Koreans have, accepting other cultures and identities as part of their own. After countless similar stereotypic red and spicy ramyeon, fusion ramyeon were made. These ramyeon not only represent Korea, but different countries. For example, there are curry spicy ramyeon, a fusion of Korean and Indian taste, bean paste ramyeon, a fusion of Korean and Chinese taste, soba ramyeon, mix of Korean and Japanese, and more. I believe that this reflects upon Korean mindset of being open to myriad societies, and cultures.


In my personal experience, ramyeon was a comforting food that helped me feel as if I was home when I was in a foreign place and feel calm when I was upset. Although it is merely a bowl of noodles that could be fixed in 5 minutes, I could relate to the bonding that could be formed via food as mentioned above for ramyeon and the book “The Dog who Ate the Truffle”. In my case, my brother and I have been growing up in separate countries for most of our lives as we went to school. During summer and winter breaks, we would come back to our house, but still not see each other very often due to our busy schedules. One of the times we would gather together was when we wanted to make ramyeon. My brother would come over to my room and ask me to start boiling the water. We would wait with anticipation for our noodles and even share and try new recipes together. I think these times were very meaningful as I look back at my childhood; it was a conversation starter for us and would get us talking and bonding, which was not an easy thing to do for teenagers. For me, ramyeon was not just a bowl of noodles but also a bridge to connect with my brother.


In conclusion, ramyeon is more than what it is known to be; it has many cultural and historical backgrounds, relating it to the military, foreign relations, quality bonding time with friends and family, and more. It has cultural values and holds a dear place in every Korean’s heart allowing them to take a taste of home wherever they may travel. Due to its phenomenal values, I believe that it is not an understatement to claim that ramyeon is indeed part of the Korean cultural DNA.



















Alper, Tim. “Instant Success: Why Koreans Are Crazy for Instant Noodles.” Gateway to Korea, 13 July 2016,

Farrand, Clare, et al. “Know Your Noodles! Assessing Variations in Sodium Content of Instant Noodles across Countries.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2017,

Huh, In Sil, et al. “Instant Noodle Consumption Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors among College Students in Seoul.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2017,

Hurwitz, David. “They Call It Ramen, We Call It Ramyeon.” Stripes Korea, 24 July 2015,

“History of Korean Ramyun/Ramen.” It’s Snack Time, 1 Jan. 1970,

“Instant Noodle Consumption Linked to Heart Risk in Women.” Harvard T. H. Chan, 29 Aug. 2014,

“Instant Noodles: Friend or Foe? South Koreans Defend Diet.” The Japan Times, 22 Aug. 2014,

Noodles Narrative with Sandy Lin – Christina Chang

Noodles Narrative

Sandy Lin, a rising sophomore student at Emory, has been part of diverse cultures as a half-Taiwanese and half-Korean. Although she considers Seoul, South Korea to be her hometown, she has lived in several cities, including Nanjing, Shanghai, and Atlanta. Moving around from one place to another, Sandy has been part of myriad societies, cultures, histories, and food, especially noodles. I thought that interviewing Sandy would be a great idea since she can talk a lot about the differences that she sees in the cultural DNA and about the myriad types of noodles that she had first-handed experiences to.

Sandy has been part of both cultures, Korean and Chinese, in celebrating special occasions, and following traditions. Sandy and her parents, despite their ethnicity, grew up in South Korea, which also led them to celebrate both. For example, Sandy talked about the noodles that represent the longevity of individual’s life, mentioned in several class readings, and how she followed the Chinese tradition of eating them for birthdays and New Years. It was unprecedented and fascinating for me to hear it from Sandy that she follows this tradition as I have only encountered this in the readings. Comparing Korean noodles and Chinese noodles, Sandy believed that Chinese often had special occasions where they would have to eat specific noodles, as mentioned earlier, while for Koreans, noodles were mainly eaten on a daily basis regardless of occasions. The tastes are drastically different; jajangmeon is a dish that is present in both Korea and China. It is read as Jajangmeon in Korean while the Chinese call is Jajangmian; almost of the same pronunciation. Although they may look similar, they taste drastically different as the Chinese version is salty and meaty, while Korean version is sweet and more vegetable-based. As Sandy has experienced the myriad cultures, noodles, and traditions I believe that this led her to become the open-minded and multicultural individual that she is today.

There is plethora of countries that have special traditions regarding noodles. As observed from the similarities in Jajangmeon of Korea and China, the cultural DNA and noodles of China have had significant impact from Korea and vice versa. Such phenomenon arises largely due to the numerous invasions, wars, and trades that have been happening between two nations since millenniums ago. Through these encounters, cultural exchange also took place vibrantly leading to such culinary parallelism. Thousands of Korean independence activists during the Japanese occupation in early 20th century resided in China to remotely fight for Korea’s independence. Upon the end of Japanese occupation, they returned back home with much patriotism and various Chinese dishes which exist to now as “Koreanized Chinese dish”. Nevertheless, with her first-hand experience on both Korean and Chinese culinary culture, Sandy is indeed the living example of the historic noodles exchange who encompasses both Korean and Chinese cultural DNA. Seen in readings for class regarding regional differences in pasta for Italy that were due to the invasions from different countries, leading to the cultural changes in the regions, I believe that Sandy’s thoughts can be parallel to these occurrences.

To Sandy, noodles, in general for Chinese and Koreans, are a main sustenance and can represent most eating habits of Asians, along with rice. Regarding the dietary aspects of noodles, Sandy believes that noodles can be a balanced meal. Compared to rice, where it can just be eaten alone, Chinese noodles are mostly eaten with sides, such as vegetables and meat. These combinations can be seen to give you a balanced meal, as a bowl of noodles can give you the amount of nutrition that you would need. These sides that provide the healthy aspect in noodles can also be a factor of showing the socioeconomic class of individuals. For example, years ago, when noodles were even more common than rice, as rice was expensive, the sides would mostly be local and seasonal vegetables for lower socioeconomic class. As society started to change and China became more prosperous, there were different sides that came along with noodles, such as the noodles accompanied by shark fin soup, indicating a higher socioeconomic class. The noodles that were eaten in the past would have been a less balanced meal that those that are eaten today, served with difference sources of protein and fiber.

In the interview, Sandy mentioned that Lanzhou ramen is her favorite noodle dish. Lanzhou ramen has a sentimental value for her as it was a local dish that she ate with her friends when she was in school back in China. It holds a special place in her heart as there are countless memories with her friends grabbing lunch from the store. As she ate the same dish in Atlanta with the same friends whom she shared the bowls of Lanzhou ramen with back in her childhood, the tastes were similar to the ones that she ate back in China; yet, there were subtle differences due to the access of ingredients that were added to the ramen. Although she went with same group of friends to eat ramen that taste very similar, she prefers the noodles that were eaten when she was younger. I believe that this may be due to the atmosphere and accessibility of the noodles. The atmosphere of the noodles is completely different from a street vendor selling their specialty to a fine Americanized-Chinese restaurant with endless air-conditioning. As opposed to her childhood times when Lanzhou ramen was a to-go-to place for daily school lunch, she does not have the same accessibility here in Atlanta, leading to her differing perspectives on the noodles from China to United States.

After interviewing Sandy, I have received a lot of insight from a person who has been influenced by multiple cultures. Sandy’s cultural DNA is rather unique, which can be seen from her interview and experiences that she had until now. From her perspective, I learned about the similar but different cultural noodle distinctions of Chinese noodles in China, Korea, and United States. If given the opportunity, I hope to go and see the differences myself by trying Lanzhou ramen and jajangmian.

Interview Questions –

What is your name and how would you identify yourself ethnically?


Where have you lived? And where is your hometown?


How have the noodles been different in places you have lived?


When and how often did you eat noodles with your family?


Did your family cook noodles often? Is there a family traditional dish that y’all cook?


What does noodles mean to you?


How did noodles affect you culturally?


How do you think noodles affect your diet?


In China what do you think the role of noodles are?


How did the changes in the Chinese society reflect in the noodle dishes in China?


In the span of 20 years that you have been alive, do you think that there were changes in noodles? What do you think have caused these changes? Did these changes affect your diet?


What is your favorite noodle dish and why? Does it have a special meaning or place in your family?


What do you think about the Americanized Chinese noodles? Do you think they are represented well in America? Why or why not?


Do you think that other cultures have impacted the cultural DNA and the noodles itself? Why or why not?


Since you are half Chinese and half Korean, do you think that there are big differences in Chinese noodles and Korean noodles?


JaJangmeon is a Korean version of Chinese noodles. Is it a good representation of Chinese noodles? Why or why not?


If were you were to eat your favorite noodle dish that you mentioned before in China, Korea, and US, how different would they be?



Kalguksu, and my mom’s love

When my mom made kalguksu for dinner,

She would make the dough,

With just the right ratio of flour and water.

She would carefully knead and ferment with a plastic on top,

Saying patience is the key to soft yet firm noodles.

She would cut the noodles in long lines with a sharp knife,

Then lay it in the bubbling and boiling hot broth of soup.

Sitting in one long table, we would all start with the potatoes,

Soaked in the broth, making it soft and fluffy.

Taking in the soup one spoon after another,

Our body temperature and heartbeats start to rise.

We take in mouthfuls of noodles,

Making our hands move faster to eat, our teeth move quicker to chew,

And our hearts more filled with the love and sincerity

That my mom put into this bowl of noodles.


1. What piece did you choose to imitate?

I chose to imitate “Noodles in Broth” by Hong JunJu.

2. Why did you choose this piece?

After reading and analyzing all of the other poems, I thought that I could relate the most to this poem and write about my family and noodles that we make at home. This piece talks about the process of making the noodles, which I grew up watching my mom practicing similarly. It focuses on the aspect of making and eating the noodles with members, rather than the other environmental things that are going on, like some of the other poems that we read, such as where and how we got the ingredients from. I also chose this piece because of the multistep and detailed language that the authors uses; as a child, the vivid memories I have of my mom making kalguksu are the big steps that she took,  and the feelings I had after eating them with my family, rather than the rudimentary and detailed aspects. I thought that I could imitate this poem the best out of all with these points.

3. What did you learn about the culture of the original author through imitating his or her style? 

This piece was written in 3rd century AD. Although this was far ago, I can see that they still had the dining traditions of eating together. As we learned in several readings for class, many Chinese eating traditions involved a hot freshly served meal that is eaten with many people and is a mode of joining individuals. This tradition is also met in this poem as the main pronoun for eating is ‘we’. Afterwards, the author writes, “After two bowls in a row, A smile would come to the lips, the body would relax”. The setting that the author is making is a vibrant and happy environment that is made by eating the noodles. I believe that this shows the conjoining mood of the people in the poem. Also, this part shows that food is a mode of not only bringing together individuals, but also a mode of creating calmness and relaxation. Although I am not aware of the daily lives of Chinese in 3rd century AD, I believe that it causes the same effect as it does now. In the hectic and busy lives that we live today, a bowl of hot broth and noodles bring serenity during lunch times or dinner. I believe that by looking at the last part of this poem, a bowl of noodles also brought the same effect to them also. Lastly, it can be seen that the culture is not only product based, but also process based. The author talks about the procedure of making the noodles, not just the final product. I believe that this shows their detail oriented mindset.

4. What did you learn about your own culture while writing?

While writing this piece, I thought about the past and the noodles that my mom made for our family. These days, all noodles are packaged, but it not rare for families to make noodles from scratch. Regardless, my mom put in her time and effort to make the noodles for kalguksu with the love that she has for our family. She also made sure that all of the ingredients that were added into the noodles were very fresh and organic. I think that my mom and all other families going further to feed good nutritious meals to the members of the families show their love and sincere care for the family’s health. The fact that families choose to hand make the noodles even though there are packaged versions also show their affections and the willingness to put in more work to see their families smile once more.

5.  Is there cultural DNA embedded in the piece you read and in your piece? How does this DNA manifest in the texts?

Chinese cultural DNA back in 3rd century AD, according to my interpretation, is that the common folks back then celebrated not only the dish itself but also the holistic process. There are numerous literatures that essentially highlight the taste of food; the final outcome. In contrast to that, Hong Junju’s poem has significant emphasis on the process. For instance, “filter the tea infusion through silk. With a light feather he would brush the flour” indicates the attention and detail Hong has specifically allocated in reciting the joyful experience of making and eating the noodle. Just to think that a poet, not a chef, is able to precisely and beautifully craft an extensive poem about the noodle-making process clearly indicates the cultural DNA of Chinese people back then. Gourmets are generally known to critique and elaborate mainly on the taste of food or the overall dining experience, hardly on the process. Hong’s poem is an interesting literature that undermines the differing perspective common folk had on food; cultural DNA.

My writing also indicate extensive traits of my cultural DNA which is similar to that of Hong Junju. As described earlier, I was deeply fascinated by the overall cooking process my mom practiced in making kalguksu especially on the part where she would be using a razor sharp knife in cutting out noodles from the chunk of dough. Her kalguksu tastes absolutely amazing, without a doubt, but my own cultural DNA is structured in a way that I tend to focus more on the overall process since I was young.

Omnipresent Noodles

Noodles are a crucial part of one’s life regardless of their gender, race, and nationality. For example, China imported up to a high 18,000 kg of pasta in 2015, and each Italian is estimated to eat over sixty pounds of pasta. Although noodle consumptions are very high throughout the world, they all are a variety of noodles, all with different backgrounds based on their cultures, regions, and those who cook them. I believe that the consumptions of noodles are always high because they are affordable and can provide a very healthy meal, as it is a carbohydrate that can keep one fuller for longer and allows one to eat more vegetables and other nutritious add-ons. Also, noodles can be very versatile and can easily change and adapt to the ingredients that are present to specific countries, regions, and even the leftover ingredients residing in people’s refrigerator.

Noodles in Italy have a long history and mean a lot to them; it can even be seen in the amount of noodles they eat throughout their lifetime. I believe that pasta in Italy is a valuable asset for them due to the fact that they are a remembrance of the history of Italy. First, it represents the long and complex history of Italian pasta that has started from the Etrusco-Roman noodle, called lagane, a modern word for lasagna; there were several differences, such as the fact that it was oven-baked instead of boiled. The diversity and varied regional cuisine was influenced by the Arabic invasions of the 8th century. Also, it can be seen today that different regional differences in Italian cooking can be due to the different invasions that have occurred; Sicily has a heavy base on Saracens, while Fruili-Venezia Giulia has a strong Venetian taste that still reside in the cuisine. Second, pasta names and categories were named after important wars, emergence of science of machinery and more. This includes tripolini that was inspired by Libya, bengasini, inspired by Benghazi, and ruote, inspired by invention of wheels. All of these historical and groundbreaking events have led to the strong affection that they have for noodles. Also, I believe that the regional differences in noodles that they have all throughout Italy makes them special, as they are special for each region, based on the regional specialties, extrusions, and drying methods. A few days ago, I went to Whole Foods to make pasta and saw the different types of pasta that were present from all of the historical events that occurred. I would not have known that all the names have come from these types of events if I have not taken this course and learned about the backgrounds of these pasta.

Chinese noodles have a long history as well that originated from the Han dynasty, which has more than 4,000 years of history. Noodles, in fact, first started off as being referred to as cake. I believe that noodles mean their culture and lifestyle as there are many sayings, customs, traditions, that are based on noodles. I believe that one of the most famous examples would be the longevity noodles that Chinese eat on their birthdays, showing that longer the noodle, the longer you will live, and the longer you live, more longevity noodles you will get to eat! Another example are the noodles that hold a special value in their culture, such as the seafood noodles (dutiful son’s noodle), Dandan noodles (Sichuan), and sister-in-law noodles, also known as ashamed son noodles. All of these have anecdotes that hold a place in their cultural beliefs and lifestyles. Digging further into this topic, the sister-in-law noodles was a type of noodles that a scholar ate when he was preparing to pass the provincial civil service examination under the care of his sister-in-law. As people followed this tradition and failed, they started calling it the ashamed son noodles. I believe that stories, the historical, and cultural background that noodles have are the basis to their integral role that it has in China. While I was traveling Singapore, I ate a special glass noodles that was only eaten during Chinese Lunar New Year. The glass noodle was served with various meats and vegetables; everyone gathered around and started to mix them with their chopsticks together. This also was a cultural moment for me as I learned from my high school friends who were originally from that area.

Similar to what was explained above for noodles in China and Italy, Korean noodles have a long history that leads to its familiarity to people and attracting more affection. Janchiguksu is a long thin noodle served in a clear broth soup. This was typically served on birthdays or marriages as flour was considered to be very special and valuable. Similar to China’s saying, the long length of noodles had a meaning of long life and these saying are passed down until now, although now they can be eaten and found more easily.

If I were to create a definition of the world noodle, it would be “food typically created by egg or flour, that is boiled to be eaten with various seasonal/regional add-ons with sauce or in a soup that are likely to have a cultural background in each country that is based upon. By looking at different types of noodles in China, Italy, or Korea I believe that they all have a strong historical or cultural story that leads it to have such high affection by people. Noodles are essentially the simplest, yet the most versatile, staple food ingredient capable of encompassing the culinary of any culture, history, and region.

Blog 1: Food that Impact our Lives

I believe that food is one of the easiest way to explore cultures. It approaches people very gently, yet can have a big impact on the person. I was born and raised in South Korea until I moved to the United States when I was in second grade. Both of my parents have lived in Korea for majority of their life time, meaning that I ate variety of Korean food. For me, the biggest impact I have had with food would be Korean, since I grew up in a Korean household. Korean food are mostly based on soy sauce, red chili paste, or soy bean paste. All of the foods made have at lease one or more of the sauces above. Although they have similar bases, all of the foods have unique qualities and specialties that differentiate one from another. For me, some of the most important foods in the Korean culture would be kimchi and Korean style braised short ribs (galbijjim). These foods hold a special part in my heart as I ate them often with my family and friends.

First, kimchi is a common side dish that would be out for every meal in all households. It is made of salted and fermented cabbage that is seasoned with scallions, chili powder, ginger, and garlic. Each household would have different types, but will also vary in recipes as families all have their secret touches. I believe that this is one of the most important food for me because since the kimchi vary from one place to another, the one that I eat at home is special and a reminder that I am home. Since this is also a side dish that was consumed all throughout the history of Korea, I believe that it represents the Korean culture very well. This dish is also special for me as I helped conduct research with Professor Hahm in the past years. Previous researches showed that kimchi had anti-inflammatory effects on mice and humans and can even prevent Helicobacter pylori associated gastric cancers. Therefore, this dish is even more special for me as a biology major, since it can have positive effects on people.

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Second, the braised short ribs (galbijjim) are also very important part of who I am today. One of my favorite dishes that my mom would make for me was galbijjim. Galbijjim is steamed braised short ribs that is cooked in sweet brown sauce with vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, and radish. This dish would take quite a while to cook, but my mom was always more than happy to make this for my brother, dad, and me. I have been living in the States since 2nd grade, and I always eat this dish when I am back at home in Korea. No matter where I go, there is no recipe that can compare to my mom’s. Another special aspect that leads me to eating more galbijjim would be that the recipe has been passed on to my mom by my grandmother; this makes me feel even more nostalgic. Not only does this dish hold an important place in my heart, but it also is important history.  Galbijjim has a big historical and cultural aspect since this dish was eaten in palaces by the kings as a specialty, since beef was considered to be rare goods back in the past. Today, this dish is still included in majority of households as a celebratory food that is included in all types of occasions.

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Atlanta has a wide variety and representation of different ethnic communities, but I am most familiar with the Korean community as I am part of KUSA and I strive to spread the Korean culture to others around campus. Also, Atlanta is said to have the second greatest Korean population in the United States. There are at least two big Korean towns representing the population and its culture called Doraville and Duluth. Here, you can get all types of food and goods that remind Korean people of Atlanta of their homes and introduce new culture to other people. I have visited these towns very often to eat Korean food and they taste quite similar to the ones that I eat back in Korea. One of my favorite gogi places would be Miss Gogi. Although I have had many interactions with the restaurants, I am not familiar with other types of of Korean businesses and experiences in Atlanta. Not only are Korean restaurants and stores in these towns, they are also spread out in the heart of Atlanta, such as Midtown and Buckhead. I believe that Atlanta has a wide representation of Korean culture and our community.

Links to the photos used above: