Even though the technological development demolished the barrier between what you can and cannot eat in a specific season, seasonal food still tastes the best when savored in its season.
Especially in Korea, four seasons are (or, used to be) clearly distinguished from each other. Because of this, people have enjoyed seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as dishes made from them, distinctively throughout the history.
Autumn in Korea is referred as “the season of high sky and stout horses,” which means that skies are clear and grains are fully ripened. As the proverb implies, there is a whole range of eats in Korea you can savor in the season. Here is a short list of things you must enjoy in fall in Korea.
1. Gizzard Shad
A popular proverb in Korea says, “The smell from grilling fall gizzard shads brings an escaped daughter-in-law back.” When the weather grows slightly colder, the fish store up plenty of nutrients for the colder season. Thanks to such nature, its taste grows bolder and richer.
Best way to enjoy the fish is to grill it as a whole. Healthy fish oils are well stored, creating juicy texture and rich flavor. Fresh gizzard shads taste good as a sashimi as well.
2. Blue Crab
If you like the creamy, savory taste of roe of female crabs, autumn is the best season to enjoy it. In the right season, the shell is fully filled with abundant meat and creamy roe.
In Korea, crabs are cooked in various ways. Fall crabs are delectable even when simply steamed, but the rich taste of crab jjigae’s stock is worth a try. If you want to take your Korean culinary experience to another level, try Gejang, which is made by marinating fresh raw crabs either in soy sauce or sweet and spicy chili pepper sauce.
3. Fruits – Apple, Pear, and Persimmon
Fall is the season when many of the fruits grow fully ripened. Among many, apple, pear, and persimmon represent autumn fruits of Korea.
As Koreans enjoy fruits as a dessert, people tend to regard the sweetness as the most important thing when choosing a fruit. Fruits enjoyed in fall are not only sweet but also rich in nutrients.
4. Jumbo Prawns
Jumbo prawn is another seafood that tastes the best in autumn. Filled with sweet flesh from September to December, prawns are enjoyed in various forms, grilled on top of a bed of salts, to name one.
In the port cities like Incheon and Busan, you can find the freshest prawns ready to be enjoyed. Some of the street food vendors prepare them as a whole and serve deep-fried, which is available only when fresh.
By Heewon Kim