Korea: The Land of Couple Style

” Have yourself a night of ravenous lovemaking. Then refresh yourselves with a couple of beers and this perfect, couple style, Korean dish. “

-Almost Vegan

If you read my last post, then you know I spent this last summer in Korea. I have nothing but great things to say about the place, except for the absence of bagels, and would definitely recommend that anyone who likes traveling, food, or drinking should visit the country. South Korea is brand new (only established about 70 years ago), but has been one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Most people today know Korea for two things: Samsung and K-pop/K-drama. 

We could talk about Korean Dramas and K-pop all day, but I’m less interested in the actual dramas and music than what the love-obsessed pop culture has done to the country. A few days in Korea and you will start to see the country is built for couples. Restaurants are designed to eat in pairs, making it difficult–almost shameful–to eat alone. Everywhere you turn there are couples dressed in matching clothes; sometimes just the shoes, but often in head to toe identical ensembles. In the department stores, R&B-style love songs are on repeat, and in the bars, there isn’t even a bar. When going to drink, you sit at tables just as you would at a restaurant, so there is almost no chance of you mingling with stranger.

Koreans are also a very diligent society. They study extremely hard in order to graduate and then go on to work (very hard). So, in order to meet new people, it is popular to go to “meetups”, which are where you can meet friends or your potential lover. They even have a word for it: “so get ting” or “소개팅”. And once you find that loved one, they fall hard and they fall fast.

Being alone most of my time while in Korea, I did a lot of people watching. I can’t count how many times I watched high-school couples painfully leave one another at the subway. One stays in the seat as sadness drapes over their face, while the other stands outside the closing doors waving goodbye as if this is the last time they will ever see each other. And, when the couples are together, PDA (Public Display of Affection) is an understatement. Especially around 9 o’clock, when Seoul starts to get a little tipsy, couples everywhere are holding each other so tight they look like they are fused together. Looking around, you see a sea of attached lovers frolicking through the streets, sharing Soju, laughs, and bar food. This isn’t a bad site or occurrence to have in a city; it makes the city very romantic and a great place for couples of all ages to enjoy each other. But I was not apart of a couple, so it did making eating out a tad challenging. 

I am obsessed with food so, of course, I wanted to eat out as much as possible. If you move to a new country, one of the best ways to get to know the culture is through the food. Luckily I had a group of single classmates who I could go out to lunch with almost daily. One of my favorite dishes to eat was 콩국수, pronounced “Kong Gook Su.” This is a cold noodle dish–I thought I would hate, but its actually delicious. The dish consists of thinly cut wheat noodles placed in the center of a soy broth and is topped with thinly sliced cucumber, watermelon, and sometimes egg. It’s naturally vegan, refreshing, light, and filling; the perfect dish for a hot summer day, especially if you’ve been working outside. Basically, if ice-cold beer had a stepbrother it would be 콩국수. And I fuckin’ LOVE beer. Even more, this dish is a perfect example of the importance of couples in Korea.

Wheat and Soy are two of the biggest crops in human history. Wheat fuels our soul through bread, pastries, pizza, and pasta; after all, where would we be without pizza and pasta?! Soy, besides being the main ingredient in every processed food in the grocery store, is a main food source for domestic animals. We can then make the argument that without soy we would have no bacon. BACON!!! Bacon, pizza, pasta: All these foods are made possible by the humble wheat and protein-packed soy.  콩국수 takes these two civilization starters and puts them into their simplest form, making a delicious couples’ dish. 

I want you to feel Korea’s obsession with being in a couple. All of my couples out there: go grab your significant other. Go buy some matching clothes. Be all over each other in public. Have yourself a night of ravenous lovemaking. Then, after all is said and done, refresh yourselves with a couple of beers and this perfect, couple-style Korean dish. You’ve two have been working hard. If you’re single, get on social media. Turn on those love tunes and swipe right to your heart’s content. Either way, everyone needs to remember to treat their self! This dish is not only delicious, but it also has a tiny carbon footprint and a great carbs-to-protein ratio. Healthy, sustainable, romantic: what’s not to like? I promise that after this dish, you’ll feel great and it will give you the power to gear up and kick ass.

All Hail The Glory that is King-Kong Gook Su.

Recipe

Serves: 2 (of course)

Ingredients

  1. All-Purpose Unbleached Wheat Flour… 110 g
  2. Soybeans (dry/uncooked)… 100 g
  3. Ginger (Grated)… 2 Table Spoons
  4. Sesame oil (toasted)… one squirt
  5. Tabasco (of course)… a little shake
  6. Chilies… for garnish
  7. Song… Say yes, by: Loco, Punch

I want to start adding songs to recipes. Music is food for the ears and it helps describe the story the food is trying to tell. Play it while cooking, eating, or on repeat!

Procedure

Day Before

  1. Soak 100 g of beans (overnight) and make sure to leave a few inches of water on top of the beans so they stay underwater.
  2. Measure exactly 110 g all-purpose unbleached flour (King Arthur Brand)
  3. Measure exactly 54 g all-purpose tap water
  4. Mix water into bowl, (all at once is fine), and incorporate together with a spoon.

*Starting with a spoon will make your life so much easier. Once all the water is absorbed switch to your hands and keep working dough until you form a ball. Once the ball is dry enough to not stick you can transfer to the table and knead the dough. 

5. Once the dough is as smooth as a baby’s bottom put into an airtight container or wrap in ceran wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

*This is to let all the gluten in the dough calm down so you can roll it out without it bouncing back. You can also put into the refrigerator for use the next day, just make sure you let it sit out for 30 minutes so before trying to roll out. 

YouTube is full of kneading tips and tricks so if you’re having trouble check it out. But what it really comes down to is smacking the crap out of your dough until it’s smoooooth like butter.

The Next Day

  1. Measure exactly 110g all-purpose unbleached flour (King Arthur Brand)
  2. Measure exactly 54 g all-purpose tap water
  3. Mix water into bowl, (all at once is fine), and incorporate together with a spoon. 
  4. Once mostly together knead! knead! knead!
  5. Once the dough is as smooth as a baby’s bottom put into an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Get a pot of water boiling and add some salt. 
  7. Take beans out of the refrigerator, drain, and rinse. Then add to pot of boiling water.
  8. Let boil on high for 30 minutes. They don’t have to be completely cooked because were going to blend the shiz out of them. Really we are just getting rid of the raw flavor and seasoning them.
  9. While that is happening you can roll out your dough. 
  10. Once your dough is rolled to the thickness you desire heavily flour dough with more AP flour, fold hot dog style and roll loosely into a burrito shape and cut. 
  11. Now you have your cut noodles. And your beans are probably done so go ahead and drain those bad boys. 
  12. Heavily flour your noodles and wrap nicely and put back into an airtight container so they won’t dry out.
  13. Now make your “broth!” Add some beans and some water to the blender and let it rip. 
  14. Chill the soy broth in the fridge and get another pot of water boiling for your pasta. 
  15. Cook your pasta for about 4 minutes. If its thicker it made need to go longer. Just taste one and if you think its ready drain the pasta and throw it in the freezer to cool; or use an ice bath if you want to waste water-but that’s not sustainable right? 
  16. Take your grated ginger and place in the center of the bowl. 
  17. Toss the cold noddles in sesame oil and Tabasco and then form into a ball and place on top of ginger.
  18. Finally, gracefully pour your beautiful, silky smooth broth around your noodles until mostly filled. 
  19. Take your picture for Instagram. Tag @almostveganofficial and feast upon the glory that is the Korean summer dish (THE KING) KONG GOOK SUUUUU. 

Procedure Pro Tips

Step 3)  *Starting with a spoon will make your life so much easier. Once all the water is absorbed switch to your hands and keep working dough until you form a ball. Once the ball is dry enough to not stick you can transfer to the table and knead the dough. 

 Step 4) *This is to let all the gluten in the dough calm down so you can roll it out without it bouncing back. You can also put into the refrigerator for use the next day, just make sure you let it sit out for 30 minutes so before trying to roll out. 

Step 5) *Taste the water. It should taste like tears. 

Step 8) *Here I used a wine bottle but you can really use any kind of cylinder to roll out your dough. This step’s all up to you. How do you like your noodles? Long and skinny? Short and thick? The possibilities are endless. Go wild! 

Step 9)*Again it’s up to you how thick you want your noodles. 

Step 10)*Do not rinse! Go ahead put them on a plate or in a bowl and let them chill in the freezer for a few.  

Step 12) *Obviously, if you have a lower grade blender do this in small increments. Think of cream of mushroom consistency then add a bit more water. That’s the consistency you are looking for traditionally. But this is your dish. If you want it thicker or looser go for it.

Step 13) *Salt it just like before. Remember the flavor of TEARS.

Step 15) *Spreading your pasta on a plate will allow it too cool superrr fast.

Final Thoughts

Relationships are great. It’s truly a magical experience getting so close to someone and being able to share all that life has to give. But for those who are single…

Porn’s great too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s