Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Unending Traditional Korean Meal: Pumpkin Soup


The first dish to arrive was a lukewarm pumpkin soup called hopuckjuk. It had a thick sticky texture with a sweet taste. The black beans in the soup were slightly tough, like extra al dente, so I'm guessing they were there mostly to serve as a nice garnish.

I've recently discovered that pumpkin is really good for you. It has a lot of "carotene, which aids in the absorption of Vitamin A, and also contains a diuretic that is effective for reducing the swelling of pregnant women and for treating people with kidney ailments." There is a Korean saying that "to protect against stroke, pumpkin should be eaten on the winter solstice." Great! Eat pumpkin!

Additionally, the spoon had a nice weight to it, made out of bronze or something (EG noted that they were expensive and joked around with the ajiuma that he'd like to take a few with him when he leaves). When the spoon hit the bowl it chimed like a bell or one of those singing meditation bowls. Overall, it's a nice way to start a meal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A quick comment about the pumkin soup article. Mention was made of the spoons looking like they were made of brass. It is a high honor to be served a meal with brass silerware. Brass was a very rare metal in Korea. Chopsticks and Spoons made of brass became important family heirlooms that were closely guarded. If you were invited into someone's home and they used their brass tableware, you were receiving a very high honor. When the Japanese occupied Korea, they would go around and search for these brass utencils to make bullets out of them. Many Koreans would give their lives first before letting their brass tableware be taken from them for such a purpose.