As a dedicated student of world culinary trends, Amir Landsman has had the opportunity to explore Korean cuisine in many different venues. Originally based on grain products that included millet and barley, Korean cuisine changed dramatically with the introduction of rice to the region. Most traditional and modern Korean dishes combine white rice, seasoned and spiced vegetables and small amounts of fish, meat or poultry. Because the extensive coastline of the Korean peninsula ensures that seafood is plentiful, it is a staple of the nation’s diet.
Side dishes are an important element in the traditional Korean meal. These are typically served in small bowls and accompany a larger bowl of steamed rice and individual servings of soup. Kimchi consists of a mix of vegetables, including cabbage, allowed to ferment to create a characteristic tart and salty taste. Other side dishes may feature noodles, steamed eggs or fish, tofu, pork or beef, marinated vegetables and a wide range of chicken-based recipes designed to complement and accompany rice.
Korean beef is often referred to as kalbi and is generally reserved for special occasions due to its high cost. Pork and chicken are more commonly served during ordinary meals and may be grilled on a small tabletop charcoal fire to enhance the crispness and flavor. Meat and seafood portions, however, are often quite small due to the high cost and high demand for these protein-rich foods.