Si and I were fortunate to start our holiday celebrations a week earlier this year with a five day trip to Seoul, Korea! The first two days were spent at my grandmother’s countryside house getting our tummies filled with home cooked Korean dishes my grandmother made. My grandmother says that because of her age, her taste is not as sharp as it used to be. However, her dishes were some of the best meals we had while we were visiting.
My grandmother lives in a 200 year old house with traditional roofing tiles and paper doors. My childhood memories of Korea are mainly from this house where summers were spent running through green onion fields with my cousins and eating samgyupsal outdoors.
Nothing compares to the tasty handmade (손 맛) dishes of a grandmother. My grandmother’s hands are also very big, which means in Korea that she is very generous especially with her food servings. Si and I came back from Korea a couple pounds heavier because of her! Since it was Si’s first time meeting my grandmother, he could not refuse extra servings of rice and soup to gain the approval of my maternal grandmother.
Hand rolled kimbap with yellow daikon that she sliced herself because she doesn’t like pre-cut and packaged daikon.
Meals were elaborate during our short stay here. Even breakfast was a full meal with steamed egg, fried fish, fish soup, and chungkookjang (fermented soybean) with an assortment of kimchi.
Aside from the meals, my grandmother had the most tasty strawberries, satsuma oranges, and sweet potatoes for us to snack on. We were never left hungry, as she also packed us the fruit when we moved to the next leg of our trip. We made the most of our time, even with the frigid weather outside and multiple layers of clothing. Though our time in Korea was short, our hearts and tummies came back full with the amazing food and reunions we had.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holidays with loved ones, laughter, and warmth!