Two servings of 굴김치 (oyster kimchi) in two days got me thinking.
After consulting ZenKimchi, I discovered that oysters are abundant in the winter months, which means they were turning up on tables everywhere as 반찬 (side dishes). I always considered oysters a pricey delicacy, so having them served to me unexpectedly has felt a treat.
A recent snow hike up my local trail ended in the cosy 막걸리 (rice wine) hut below, and the oyster kimchi served is possibly some of the best in the world. Yes, really. My province, Jeollanamdo, is reputed as having the best food in the country, and there has been little to counter the claim in my experience. I didn’t expect to enjoy a cold dish in icy weather, but the oyster kimchi seemed to add to the fresh atmosphere created by the newly fallen snow.
Apart from kimchi and 깍두기 (radish kimchi), oysters are the star of some other Korean winter dishes. 굴전 (oysters in savoury pancakes) and 굴국밥 (oyster and rice soup) are personal favourites.
Anyone care to share their stories of oyster-filled adventures?
The oyster-obsessed can head to the Cheonbuk Oyster Festival held in Boryeong every December.