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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

North Korea - The 2010 FIFA World Cup Bites and Boozes

North Korea

While North Korea may be off of the diplomatic radar of the United States, the communist nation still has people and cultures of its own.  Today they face off against the soccer super power Brazil in their first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is located on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula in far northeast Asia, and shares borders with South Korea, China, and Russia.  While their literature and arts are state-controlled (very democratic!), they still find time to eat and drink just like the rest of humanity! Since they also have a national soccer team playing in the World Cup, they certainly deserve their spot on the Bite and Booze blogroll.  Today we'll look at two items that I had never heard of before doing a little research: Jokbal and Makgeolli!


Jokbal is a Korean dish made from pigs feet that have been cooked with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice wine, and more.  The hair is removed from the feet but the skin remains.  After a thorough washing, the feet are added to an already boiling pot of water, leeks, ginger, garlic, and rice wine.  The pork gets simmered until it is tender before more water is added along with sugar and soy sauce.  The contents remain over heat until the pork is completely cooked.  The bones are then removed and the meat is sliced into thick cuts.  Jokbal is typically served with a fermented shrimp sauce called saeujeot.  Because of the difficulty and time of preparation, jokbal is eaten more from street vendors and jokbal shops.  Above, Grandma's King Jokbal offers up some cooked pigs feet to people on the streets.

Makgeolli, which is a type of takju (a thick, unrefined liquor made with grains), is a traditional alcoholic beverage native to Korea. It is milky, off-white in color, and sweet. It is made by fermenting a mixture of boiled rice and water, and is about 7% alcohol by volume.  Makgeolli is the oldest Korean liquor and comes in sweet and sour varieties.

Koreans typically serve Makgeolli in a large bowl and ladle it out into individual cups.  Since it is an unfiltered beverage, it is best to shake or stir before serving.  Many Koreans think that Makgeolli is good for them.  Despite being an alcoholic beverage, Makgeolli is made from natural ingredients and contains high levels of B vitamins and proteins.  The drink is said to be good for the skin as well as at reducing stress, blood pressure, and heart problems.






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Check out the only brewery in North Korea on the BR Beer Scene... surprise, surprise, it is state owned!

Credits and Thanks:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jokbal-namdaemunmarket.jpg
http://whatsupkorea.net/blog/list.php?code=issue
http://insidekorea.wordpress.com/page/2/
http://serieamania.com/