Ramen and Ramyun in Korea_JeeyoungKim

Ramen and Ramyun in Korea


Ramen and is now popular everywhere. Ramen is a type of noodles with twisted strands usually cooked with chicken broth, beef broth, or pork broth.  The noodle of ramen is typically made with wheat flour, salt, water and soda-infused water(kansui), which provides the light-yellow color of the noodle, chewy and slippery texture and its unique scent (Solt). The topping of the Ramen includes vegetables, seafood, meat, and eggs. Ramen varies in the type and taste. One of the most typical types of ramen is Instant noodle, which also has various flavors and styles. It is convenient and affordable but has sophisticated taste. Similar to the most of the noodles and foods, Ramen is closely related to the society and its culture. Notably, in Korea, Ramen is developed as one of the most crucial parts of the food cultures and society though is not traditional Korean food.


As of any other food, the origin of Ramen still on a debate, but most of the scholars thinks it started from China. Such claim of the professionals has highly credible assertion since the noodles and China is deeply associated. In China, a 4000-year-old fossil of a bowl is noodle was found.  It is known as the earliest evidence of noodles ever found (Roach). Also, due to the vicinity of China and Japan, the cultural exchange had seldom happened in the past and present days, so it is conceivable that the recipe of Ramen or the root of the Ramen has started from China and transported to Japan (Solt). The scholars assume that Chinese merchants would have brought a bowl of soup what is now similar to today’s Ramen (Brickman). The first introduction of the Ramen can be assumed to be in the 1880s. In the busy port city of Yokohama, Japan, Chinese immigrants from Guangdong province worked as cooks at restaurants (Solt). The primary purpose of this restaurant was to serve students and foreign workers from their own country who is currently staying in Japan. However, in the 1910s, the Chinese chefs in the restaurant started to use the ingredients that are not formerly used such as “roasted pork, soy sauce, and pickled bamboo shoots” in the Chinese food (Solt). Japanese workers, student, and soldiers also started to consume the food, and the noodle soup served in the Chinese restaurants now became popular among Japanese.


Moreover, after the World War II, Ramen gained more popularity. Since Japan defeated from the war, food was scarce, and wheat flour, which is the main ingredient for making Ramen started to import from the United States. Those who returned from the Japanese occupied territory in China began Chinese restaurant and sold the noodles that now is called Ramen since they are familiar with the noodle-eating culture in China (“Correlation of Ramen…”). Though the root of the Ramen is China, later, Japanese had developed Ramen in different ways in a different region (Salt). With efforts of Japanese put on the development of Ramen, it became a national symbolic food of Japan and became one of the world favorites.


After the introduction of Ramen from China to Japan, Japanese Ramen became popular around the world, especially in Korea.  On the streets of different cities around the globe, Japanese Ramen restaurant is easily found.  Korea is one of them. There are two types of Ramen in Korea. One is called Ramen, which is a Japanese style Ramen, the other is called Ramyun, which refers to the Korean style instant noodles.  We will first discuss the Ramen in Korea.  Ramen is known as Japanese dish in Korea and influenced a significant part of Korea’s food industry. For instance, the restaurant called Aori Raman demonstrates the popularity of Ramen in Korea.  Aori Raman is a Japanese style Ramen.  They only sell one menu called Aori Ramen with customized toppings. The Aori Ramen is a type of Tonkotsu ramen, which is originated in Fukuoka, Japan. The soup is pork, and customers can add five different toppings: boiled pork, seaweed, boiled eggs, scallion, and fermented bamboo shoot (Kim Si Hwa). The Aori Raman restaurant first opened in 2016 in Seoul, Korea. In just two years, now, one Aori Raman in Seoul increased to 35 stores located not only in Seoul but also other parts of Korea. Their annual sales are approximately 25 billion (Lee Byeol Nim). This is just one example of Japanese Ramen’s cultural influence on Korea, but there are countless successful other Ramen restaurants in Korea. As shown in the sample, Ramen from Japan became a significant part of Korean culture as well.


Though Japanese style Ramen restaurant is a popular and thriving industry in Korea, Korean style Ramen, Ramyun is more familiar to most of the Koreans.  It is more affordable and acquainted than Ramen with Koreans. Some Koreans may believe that Ramyun is distinctively different from Ramen and is Korean food but some may argue otherwise. Ramyun is different from what Korean define Ramen as. It refers to instant noodles or cup noodles. In a package of instant noodles, they typically have a chunk of pre-cooked dried noodle, powder, and solid ingredients. The instant noodles are cheap and easy to cook. For packaged instant noodles, you need put dried noodle, powder, and solid ingredients after water are boiled and put vegetables or eggs according to one’s taste. It is even easier for the cup noodles: you need to put hot water into the cup and wait for 5 minutes (“About Instant Noodles”). Such convenience and tastiness allowed Ramyun to be one of Korean’s favorite dish to eat.


The origin of Instant Noodles also started in Japan and brought to Korea. In 1958, the time when the people’s consumption patterns have significantly altered due to development of new media: television, the world’s first instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando. The first instant Ramen is called “Chicken Ramen,” which was sensational and gained sudden popularity. For Ramen to become a ready-to-eat meal, Momofuku Ando has used a method called epoch-making system, which is a technique of “dehydrating the steamed and seasoned noodles in oil heat” (“About Instant Noodles”). This simple method allowed the mass production of the instant noodles.  This “Chicken Ramen” is cooked in just two minutes simply by boiling with the water, so it was called “a magic ramen” (“About Instant Noodles”). Later, due to people’s demand for better quality and taste, separately packaged flavoring powder was added. Furthermore, in 1962, healthier version of noodles was invented. The noodles no longer needed to be fried but were dried with heat (“History of Ramen…”). Then many types and flavors of instant noodles were launched, enhancing the taste of the products.


Moreover, the cup noodles were invented in Japan as well. The cup noodles are instant noodles in cups.  The most significant advantage of the cup noodle is the convenience. In contrast to the packaged instant noodles, you do not need to cook cup noodles. With the product and hot water, ramen is prepared anytime and everywhere.  In 1971, CUP NOODLES® was introduced to the world. It was another revolutionary discovery of Ramen and one of the sensational inventions in the food industry. Inside the Styrofoam container, flavored noodles, dried shrimp, dehydrated pork, dehydrated vegetables, and dried eggs were included (“About Instant Noodles”). Such developments of Ramen had stimulated Koreans to create their version of Ramyun.


The first Ramen in Korea was instant noodle developed by Samyang Ramyun. In 1963, Jung Yun Jeon, a founder of Samyang Food Company, introduced the technology of making Ramen from Japan to Korea. The reason why he imported the skill from Japan is similar to that of Japanese noodle got popularity. Due to the poverty after Korean War, Jeon decided to sell Ramyun as a solution to the problem (Kim Timothy). It was sold for 10 won, which can be converted to approximately 1 cent in U.S. dollars today.  Though the primary purpose of the Ramyun was to solve the poverty, Ramyun soon became one of Korean’s favorite dish. Interestingly, Korea leads per capita consumption of instant noodles. In 2017, Korea had 73.4 million servings per capita, which is exceptionally high compared to Vietnam (53.5 servings million per capita), the second highest and Nepal (51.1 million servings per capita), the third highest (“About Instant Noodles”).  This data shows how Ramyun became crucial to Korean culture, people, and daily life.

Since the 1960s, as Korea interact more internationally, Koreans rapidly expanded their presence all over the world. While Koreans are abroad they homesick and look for authentic but convenient Korean food (Lee, Joel). Ramyun was the perfect fit for the demand because it has Korea’s traditional spicy flavor and easy to cook. The rapid increase of Ramyun demand mainly from Koreans and other Asians made Ramyun market grew internationally. As a result, Ramyun manufactures exported their product to other countries, and it started to roll out of Korean and Asian groceries to some of the big local players. In recent years, as Korean culture (food especially) become more mainstream than before, more and more people started to consume Ramyun fascinated by its convenience, low price and stimulating taste. According to Food Focus a Korean newspaper reporting mainly on food and beverage issues in Korea, international sales of Korean Ramyun in 2016 was 290,366 thousand U.S. dollars, and this is 60.8% increase from 5 years before (Lee Jae Hyeon). To be more specific, China, The United States, Japan, and Taiwan are countries are the top consumers of Korean Ramyun and sales is keep increasing except for Japan. In the case of Japan, the consumption is not necessarily decreasing, but because of Abenomics policy, an Abe administration’s economic strategy to reduce the value of the yen to take advantage in international trading. It was only the sales amount that was decreased (“Abenomics”), which implies that Korean Ramyun demand and market all over the world had been getting more prominent, and the precedent shows that the trend will continue in the future as well.

As the Ramyun grew bigger on Koreans, new Ramyun reflecting people’s altering palate is launched. The Ramyun released in the past such as Shin Ramyun, Samyang Ramyun, and Neoguri Ramyun usually emphasizes on its spicy taste, so the red soup with red papers was a typical look of the instant noodle (“Timeline of History…”). However, Ramyun companies started to react to altering consumers’ tastes.  The different type of instant noodles such as Black noodle Ramyun with black sauce and Kkokkomyeon with white broth was released. Moreover, the companies tried to break the stereotypical appearance of Korean instant noodles. Ramyun only with the sauce dried vegetables, seafood, or meats and without the soup was launched in Korea and gained popularity. For example, Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen started in April 2012. When it was first released, this noodle did not gain much attention. The Ramyun liquid type sauce and the absence of the soup even made it spicier than typical Ramyun. Soon, the consumers were attracted to its spicy but addictive taste. In 2015, the annual sales of Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen were 66.2 billion won, and in 2016, the sales increase approximately 50% to 138 billion won, which is a drastic increase (Lee Yu Jeong). As society change, Ramyun also reflects the trend and taste of consumers, which shows the correlation between the Korean society and Ramyun.


Even though Ramyun has a lot of benefits such as its affordable price and convenience in cooking, there always has been a critical problem which it affects health negatively. Ramyun’s noodle is mostly fried and made out of flour. Too much of food that is fried and made out of flour causes obesity which leads to heart disease, diabetes depression and more. Ramyun’s soup powder also causes problems. The primary cause is its sodium content. According to USDA, Shin Ramyun contains 2000mg of sodium a bowl (“Food Composition Databases…”). This is over 80% of daily value in sodium. Considering most people eat three meals per day, Ramyun eaters will easily consume more sodium than what USDA suggested. Too much sodium consumption results in various cancers, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and other crucial diseases.


Knowing that many consumers nowadays care about what they eat and try to eat healthily, Ramyun manufacturers are making their product healthier than before. Pulmuone’s “Real Noodle Texture” is a new product which uses a dried noodle to avoid frying (“Pulmuone’s” New Ramen…”), and Paldo launched “Paldo Bibim Myun” which its noodle contains kudzu root to reduce flour content. With these efforts, they could decrease the calories so that consumers can avoid obesity. There are also several products which reduced sodium content. Nongshim’s “Nuguri” rolled out mild taste which contains 1480mg of sodium. This is 280mg less than the regular version, and it was a massive hit in the market (Lee Seung Hyun). Ramyun companies’ effort to make the healthier product and to reflect the current trend of the society stimulates the expansion of consumers who enjoy Ramyun.


Moreover, since Korean society and the instant noodles are highly intertwined, Ramyun is often used as a symbol even in literary works.  When an object is used as a symbol in a poem, it must be representative enough for the audience to understand. Most of the times, Ramyun is used as a symbol of loneliness because a person can effortlessly cook the instant noodle without any experience with cooking.  Therefore, in contrast to other food made by the one’s mom or wife, the instant noodle is often compared with agony or hardship of life. For example, in the poem, While Boiling the Ramyun, by Gu Chan Jeong, a leading poet in Korea, the speaker describes his loneliness and the situation of absence of his wife using Ramyun (Jeong).


Ramen became a detachable culture to Koreans and the culture. Though both Ramen and Ramyun in Korea originated from a foreign country, Koreans embraces and values the noodles. As proved through Ramen, noodles, and food has unique and strong ability influence individual’s culture on a small scale and even the world in a larger size.  Though some people are unconscious of the impact of food on the society, the food and culture is deeply intertwined and is inseparable.



Works Cited

“ABENOMICS.” JapanGov, www.japan.go.jp/abenomics/index.html.

“About Instant Noodles.” History | World Instant Noodles Association., World Instant Noodles Association, instantnoodles.org/en/noodles/index.html.

“Correlation of Ramen and the History of Korea, China, and Japan[라면’에 얽힌 한·중·일

3국의 역사, 기원이 ‘중국’이라고?].” Chosun,Com Food, 10 May 2012,


“Food Composition Databases Show Foods — SHIN BOWL NOODLE SOUP, UPC: 031146262441.” Edited by USDA.gov, Food Composition Databases Show Foods — Oil, Soybean, Salad or Cooking, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/501181?manu=%2CSHIN%2BBOWL%2BNOODLE%2BSOUP%2C%2BUPC%3A%2B031146262441.

“History of Ramen [라면의 역사].” Nongshim, www.nongshim.co.kr/ramyun/history1.


Jeong, Gu Chan. The House Where Letters Live [글씨가 사는 ]. Ppuli [뿌리], 2015.

Kim Si Hwa[김시화]. “Aori Ramen[아오리라멘].” Time Out Seoul,1 May 2017, www.timeoutkorea.kr/seoul/ko/restaurants/%EC%95%84%EC%98%A4%EB%A6%AC%EB%9D%BC%EB%A9%98.

Kim Timothy [ 김디모데]. “50years Of History of Ramen, Why Did Samyang Failed[50년

라면의 ‘역사’ 삼양은 왜 추락했나].” Business Post, 4 Apr. 2014, admin.businesspost.co.kr/BP?command=article_view&num=1193.

Lee Byeol Nim[이별님]. “‘Annual Sales of 25million’…Seungli’s 5 Successful Business [‘연 매출 250억’…’승츠비’ 빅뱅 승리의 사업 성공 사례 5가지].” Insight [인사이트], 16 Mar. 2018, www.insight.co.kr/news/144949.

Lee Jae Hyeon [이재현]. “The Largest Ramen Export Ever…32% Increase[라면, 수출

역대 최고치…작년 32% 급증].” Food Focus Newspaper [식품음료신문], 19 Dec. 2017, www.thinkfood.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=78346.


Lee Seung – Hyun[이승현]. “The Reason of Neoguli and Yuggaejang’s Long-Run [너구리·육개장사발면 30년간 장수 비결].” E Daily News, 14 Feb. 2012, www.edaily.co.kr/news/news_detail.asp?newsId=02276326599430520.

Lee, Joel. “Korean Miners, Nurses Recall Their Arduous Days in Germany.” The Korea

Herald, 9 Oct. 2017, www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20171009000324.


Lee Yu Jeong[이유정]. “Hot Chicken Noodles’s Annual Sales over 250 Million Became

Samyang’s Representative Ramen [불닭볶음면 2500억 ‘화끈한 매출’… 삼양식품 간판라면 꿰찼다].” Hankyung.com, 4 Dec. 2017, news.hankyung.com/article/2017120485741.

“Pulmuone’s New Ramen with Raw Noodle Texture[풀무원 라면 브랜드 ‘생면식감’으로 새로 론칭… ‘비유탕 라면’ 확대].” Pulmuone News Room[풀무원 뉴스룸], 8 June 2017, news.pulmuone.kr/pulmuone/newsroom/viewNewsroom.do?id=842.

Roach , John. “ 4,000-Year-Old Noodles Found in China.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 12 Oct. 2005, news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/10/1012_051012_chinese_noodles.html.

Solt, George. The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze. University of California Press, 2014.

“Timeline of History of Korea’s Ramen[우리나라 라면의 역사 비교연표].” Webmona, The

Matrix Timeline, ko.webmona.org/view.php?s_page=4&s_topic_ids=100.








Interview Project_Jeeyoung Kim

I interviewed my friend Christine Leung, who is a Chinese. I met her sophomore year at my high school in Tacoma, Washington. My high school was a boarding school with the proportion of international students from all over the world. Among those students from different parts of the globe, I always thought Christine was the most multicultural and special person because she recognizes and embraces different cultures because she lived in various places such as Chengdu, Hong Kong, Tacoma, and now in California. Also, she is particularly interested in food. She used to cook at night before studying, and we would eat noodles together after school in my room. She is currently a rising sophomore studying nutrition science at UC Davis. In that regard, I thought she would be the best fit for my interview since she has multicultural perspective and passion for food. The goal of this interview is to show the importance of noodle in her culture and family.

Christine was born in Hong Kong and raised in Hong Kong. She also moved to Chengdu, China. Later, Christine decided to study in the United States for her high school education, so she moved to Tacoma, Washington in her sophomore year. Counting a year at UC Davis, she has been living in the United States for four years. She spends most of the year in California but goes back to China during winter break and summer break to spend time with her family.  Though she spent her childhood in different places, Christine defines herself and culture as Chinese, and especially collectivistic culture of China is strongly associated with her.  From her experience, she stated that her culture is different from western culture, which, in her words, is more individualistic.  For instance, in China, families including grandparents, parents, and siblings will often all live together in a house or the same community, but in western culture, the form of family is often a nuclear family.

As we discussed during class and read from the reading assignment, regarding Christine’s culture, noodle represents longevity. Typically, on birthday, a person would get a bowl of one strand of noodle, which its length is a symbol of how long the person would live. Also, noodle reflects the diversity in China.  As China has many ethnic groups, every noodle has different flavors.  Among the types of noddle she explained, the sweet noodle was interesting to me because usually sweetness is related to desert and noodle is the main dish.  I was fascinated that two different elements would harmoniously merge to create one dish.

Christine did not like noodles as much as rice when she was young because her first impression of noodle was spicy. As long as she remembers, the first noodle she had was in elementary school years with her grandparents.  The first noodle she had was called Su Jiao Jia Jiang Mian, noodles with spicy pepper and spicy pork. Since her grandparents are from Chengdu, a city known for spiciness and numbing flavor, the noodle she tried was too spicy that she could not enjoy as a child.  However, after studying abroad, she often misses the spiciness and the noodle because the noodle reminds her of home.

The diverse culture of China is represented through Christine’s dinner table. Since Christine’s family is from both Chengdu and China, she would have both Cantonese style light dishes and Szechuan style spicy dish at the same time.  Also, when her family eats noodle, her parents will have chewy and hard noodle while Christine will have soft noodles.  Her family thinks the texture of the noodle is an essential part of experiencing and tasting noodles. Therefore, though they share the same soup and sauce, her mom will boil Christine’s noodle for a longer time.

Moreover, the diverse culture of China is displayed in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a special place with a combination of both traditional Chinese culture and western culture, and such aspects are reflected on the noodle. In Hong Kong, breakfast called pasta with spam and egg is favorite menu today.  This dish is an Italian pasta cooked in Chinese style. As a student who studies both Italian and Chinese noodle, I found it interesting because they are two different styles of noodle but merged into one dish.

Not only in China, but Chinese food and noodle are also popular all around the world, so I asked her opinion about Chinese dish sold in other counties. She thinks that Cantonese restaurants in the United States usually taste similar to the one in Hong Kong, but the Szechuan dish sold in the United States tastes different from the ones in Chengdu. She thinks that the Szechuan food is too spicy that it is adjusted to the local people’s palate. Moreover, I asked her opinion about the modified version of Chinese food such as Orange Chicken and Black noodles in Korea. She does not consider them Chinese food.  Though they are called Chinese food, she thinks Black noodles and Orange Chicken is part of the United States and Korean culture.

Christine believes that the crucial value in food and noodles is health and unforgettable memories.  The main reason why she is studying nutrition science at UC Davis is her firm belief in a healthy diet.  She thinks that balanced diet can cure disease such as cancer. She also mentioned that the time she misses her family and home the most is during Chinese New Year and the moment shared food with her family to celebrate. Though she cannot celebrate Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year with her family at home since it is during a school year, she would still go to Chinese restaurant in the United States with her friends to celebrate.  The food during such holiday is a comfort for her.

At the end of the interview, I asked her to define noodles in three words. She answered that noodle means culture, family, and diversity to her. I also think the way she feels and this is why I wanted to interview her. As international students and who lived far away from family for a significant time, the food is a memory of love, myself and variety.  Through this interview, I wanted to show how meaningful and representative of one’s culture and life.

Celebration Noodle_Jeeyoung Kim


Celebration Noodle

Jeeyoung Kim

When my mom made celebration noodle,

She would fry Kimchi in oil.

She would boil broth with anchovy and seaweed.

With an appetizing sound she would chop pumpkins and onions.

She brought thin white dried noodle from the shelf.

Then she would spread it in the water

In thin white threads

Beautiful like Hansam.

In a bowl of noodle,

We would see a rainbow on a white snow

After finishing the noodle

An affection from your mom will be in your heart, the body will soon warmth.

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?
I chose a beautiful poem Noodles in Broth by Hong Junju because I was fascinated by the atmosphere of this poem. I especially loved the last line, “A smile would come to the lips, the body would relax.” This line embodies the affection and care that was carried in the food. As an international student who leaves apart from hometown and family, I this poem reminded me of happy memories I spent with my families sharing food. Also, it was interesting to read the specific instruction how to make noodles in broth, so by imitating this poem, I also wanted to both share my mom’s love in my favorite Korean noodle, which is called Jan-chi noodle also known as celebration noodle, and her recipe of making the noodle.

3. What did you learn about the culture of the original author through imitating his or her style?
While I was reading the poem, I did not notice that the author is introducing a noodle that is simple to make. However, the noodle conveys the significant meaning of love. This contrast between simplicity and complication emphasized in this poem was interesting. The meaning of the food and emotions delivered via food is even highlighted and stressed with this contrast. Therefore, I also wanted to write about the noodle with a simple recipe to emphasize the love of my mom.

4. What did you learn about your own culture while writing?
Similar to the culture of the poet or the speaker of this poem, my culture also emphasizes collectivism and sharing. Especially in our family, the gathering is a significant part of our culture. I have three siblings, and they are all currently studying abroad in the United States, so we can only gather as a whole family during winter break and summer break. Therefore, though there is a lot of Korean food in the United States, our longing for the taste of mom’s food always exist in our heart. During breaks, we always try to eat breakfast together, and my mom will always cook for us.

5. Is There cultural DNA embedded in the piece you read and in your piece? How does this DNA manifest in the texts?
The general tone of this poem is nostalgic. While I was imitating the poem, I felt his love of food and the emotions carried through the bowl of noodle. The speaker in this poem thinks the food is more than a tool to survive but is a memory and culture. Also, the speaker had two bowls of noodles in a row, which can be interpreted as a great compliment to the chef Cui, who made the noodle for the speaker. In China, asking for more meal and wanting to serve more for the guest is a symbol for caring and love, so having two bowls reflects the affection of the chef and the speaker to each other.

Noodles, cultures, and traditions_Jeeyoung Kim

Noodles, cultures, and traditions

Jeeyoung Kim

Noodle is loved in every culture around the world. Including the past and present days, noodle was evolved in different cultures in numerous ways. Especially in China and Italy, noodles serve as a staple food typically served on daily bases. Noodles are cooked in various ways to reflect the society that the noodle initially created.  For example, Dan Dan Noodles are the dish that represent the culture of Chengdu, China. The name Dan Dan Noodles comes from a word ‘dan,’ which means to carry on a shoulder pole. In the past, the street food merchant used to unload kitchen wear, chopsticks and boil from a shoulder pole to serve Dan Dan Noodles. The old citizens of Chengdu still remember the street vendors serving Dan Dan Noodles. Not only the noodle itself, but such street foods were a significant culture of Chengdu and China. Dan Dan Noodles was the central part of the street food culture. It is a nostalgic memory for the elders as well as the tasty traditions for people in Chengdu. Moreover, pasta is symbolic dish to Italians. The shapes and method of cooking was evolved with the history of Italy. The typical configuration of the noodle that first comes into the mind is a long thin stick-like shape. However, Italians developed various forms of pasta such as Anelli, a small ring-shaped pasta, rigatoni, a tube-shaped pasta, and orecchiette, a small ear-shaped pasta.  Such multiple developments of pasta show the affections and considerations of Italians towards pasta. Pasta is not only loved by Italians but also esteemed by the people from every part of the world. Pasta became an ordinary daily meal in the United States. Also, in Korea, traditional Italian is served as well as the Korean fusion pasta.

The noodles represent the traditions and meaning of life.  It is also commonly served in celebratory events. In Chinese culture, noodles are the symbol of longevity because of its typical long thin shape. Therefore, in China, there is a noodle called Long Life Noodles. This noodle is prepared on birthdays and many other celebratory events. There is a myth in China that one will live as long as the length of the noodle that is served. The noodles are strongly associated with the cultures and customs because noodles had a long history and were always around people.

Moreover, noodles reflect the lifestyle of the society. The current society desires for a healthy lifestyle and nutritious food, and pasta is one of the food that the people aspire. Though people try to avoid carbohydrates, our body still requires healthy carbohydrates.  Pasta contains nutritious carbohydrates.  Also, pasta is usually served with vegetables, meats, or seafood, which makes the meal even more nourishing. With only one plate of pasta, people can obtain balanced protein, carbohydrates, and fat which is crucial nutrition to operate one’s body. Pasta is indeed can be considered as one of the superfoods.

Defining noodles including different aspects of every culture is hard. However, personally, noodles are a staple food cooked with various methods, usually boiled or fired, that represents the culture and traditions of societies. Every noodle is different in shape, texture, and taste. It is typically served with soup or sauce and made with wheat, egg, water, or flour. It also reflects the lifestyle and history of a culture. Especially as a Korean, noodle also has special meaning to me because of the Korean traditional Cold Noodle served in the recent successful inter-Korean summit. After two leaders of North and South Korea sharing Cold Noodle, it became a new symbol of peace to Koreans because the most recent inter-Korean summit resulted in promise for the peace in the Korean peninsula.

Blog 1: What food means to me

My Family used to share the same meal at a diner more often when I was young; however, as I grow up, my family started to have different dietary restrictions due to my mom’s belief in one’s physical constitution, which resulted in two separate meals served on one dining table. Physical constitution that our family considers is one of the Asian medical treatment.  The food and dietary restrictions are the core part of such treatment. There are 8 physical constitutions, and each has different food that is strongly suggested and avoided.  According to the theory, my mom and two sisters should eat seafood and refrain from eating meat.  My father, brother, and I should eat meat and avoid seafood. Since the chief of our family is my mom, who is a firm believer in such theory, it became less often to share the same meal on one dining table. Instead, two meals were always served for two groups in our family, so it is difficult to define the foods that represent our family. However, there are some foods that we still share regardless of such dietary restrictions and some foods that I loved to share with my family.  The first food that I want to introduce is called Tteokbokki, also known as stir-fried rice cakes. There are different types of Tteokbokki such as soy sauce Tteokbokki, black Tteokbokki, and oil Tteokbokki.  Among those, the most commonly found is chili-paste Tteokbokki.  It is known as a representative Korean street-food eatery and is made of rice cake, fish cake, vegetables, and chili paste.  The second to introduce is Tteokguk is rick cake soup.  This is a traditional Korean food that people usually enjoys in New Year because the food symbolizes getting a year old.  Tteokguk is traditionally made of rice cake, beef or oyster, and eggs.  Last to present is Miyeokguk, a seaweed soup, which is made with seaweed, beef or oyster, and anchovy.  This is the traditional food that Koreans eat on birthdays.

Tteokbokki is the food that misses eating the most when I am abroad.  From a young age, I studied abroad in the United States without my parents.  When I visit Korea during breaks, the first thing I would ask for my mom is to cook Tteokbokki. It also reminds me of spending two years together with my sister in high school.  These two years were the most heartwarming moment of my life.  I depended on her for two years. She was a friend, a sister, and a parent to me. After school, we would cook Tteokbokki at dormitory kitchen since we could not buy Tteokbokki near the school as we used to do in Korea. When I went to school in Korea, my friends and I would always eat Tteokbokki no matter we are full or hungry after school. It was just a relaxing and pleasurable time spending with my friends after school.  Tteokbokki is the food that is full of heartwarming school years’ memories. 

Tteokguk, to some Koreans, is a special meal that people eat on New Years, but to our family, it is a typical breakfast meal that we eat at least twice a week.  The ingredients are easy to find, and it is simple to cook.  Also, it is easy to adjust the dietary restrictions.  After preparing the basic Tteokguk without beef and oyster, my mom would serve Tteokguk with meat on top of the soup and boil again with oyster for 2minutes. This is almost the only food that all of our family members would all be able to eat at the same time.

Miyeokguk is my favorite Korean soup and is special to me because my mom used to cook for me on my birthdays. However, for six years, I have not eaten Miyeokguk on my birthday because my birthday is in during the school year. I hope I can go back to Korea soon on my birthday and enjoy my birthday Miyeokguk.

I have only been to Atlanta for one year, but what I find most interesting is developed food culture from different ethnic communities. I have been Chinese and Japanese restaurants only a few times in Atlanta, but I am already in love with a unique spiciness of Chinese cuisine and sophisticated taste of Japanese dish.  Among different ethnic communities in Atlanta, the most I have experienced is Korean community. Since I went to high school with small Korean society, I was surprised how Korean community and restaurants in Atlanta is well developed. The food in Korean restaurants in Atlanta tastes the same as in Korea. Not only the taste but also the diversity of the food is astonishing. The people in the community are also friendly and welcoming. During weekends, I visited Korea town with my friends to distress and shared food and stories. Next year in Atlanta, I want to explore more about other ethnic communities.