Category Archives: Blog

New Study: Why South Koreans Live Longer Lives

South Korean Traditions and Longevity

Lancet published a 2017 study revealing that South Korea will likely have the highest worldwide life expectancy by 2030. Additionally, there’s a 57% probability that South Korea’s average life expectancy will be an unprecedented 90 years (or even higher) for women. Below are a few traditions listed as the reasons for this longevity rate.

Fermenting foods has long been a hallmark of Korean cuisine. And it has been proven how food fermentation contributes to gut health, with the prime example of spicy pickled cabbage known as kimchi. Other types of popular salted and fermented vegetables include radishes, celery and sprouts. Nonetheless, the benefits of the lactobacillus bacteria are found in the many varieties of pickled vegetables. Kimchi is considered a superfood, an important part of the Korean diet.

The Korean diet is less punishing to the body than an American one, if only because of its lack of sugar. Dairy and sugar have never been a part of the culture. While an abundance of salt can aggravate pre-existing conditions, sugar often creates entirely new health problems such as obesity.

South Koreans have their own version of sauna, their wellness culture involving hot water. It’s the jjimjilbang, which are public bathhouses with hot tubs, showers, and kiln saunas and large resting area with heated floors, where visitors can ease their muscles. South Koreans enjoy their jjimjilbang, going to regular sauna visits for real health benefits such as reductions in heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

While modern medicine aids in treating disease and increasing life expectancy in many countries, South Koreans spend most of their lives not interacting with the health care system. It’s the decisions made every day – like the food they eat, how far they walk – that are the much larger determinants of their health. For example, Seoul spends its government resources accordingly – like building projects to renew green spaces throughout the city to promote social engagement and increased physical exercise.

South Korea, like other top nations in the Lancet’s study, has a universal health care system guaranteeing all citizens the right to obtain proper care. While American medicine is more focused on specialists, evidence shows that primary care is more closely associated with lower costs and higher outcomes.

Enjoying Longevity Foods at U-District in Seattle

Thinking long life and health traditions? Then sample what we offer here at Korean Tofu House, your neighborhood UW Korean restaurant. Know more about what makes our classics healthy.

The Healing Powers of Korean Food Remedies

Foods That Heal

Mothers around the world love cooking soothing foods for their sick children. It’s just how mothers are. In Korea, however, there are foods widely believed to not just be soothing for the sick, but can treat and prevent diseases, lead to recovery and boost health.

Koreans have been using foods as remedies since the monarchy days of Korea. There’s a widely known written document of these culinary remedies, found in Donguibogam, edited by a royal physician during the Joseon dynasty in the 17th century. It consist of 25 volumes of how ailments affect organs and what can be done to treat and prevent diseases. It is still highly regarded and widely used by Eastern Medicine doctors. There may be little to no scientific data on the powers of these foods but they are nonetheless widely believed to be curative. Here are some of these Korean healing dishes.

Samgyetang is chicken with ginseng soup. It’s made with a whole small chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, garlic, red dates, peeled chestnuts, and ginseng. It is believed to help regulate body temperatures as ginseng warms up the body, especially the stomach. Another warm soup is Kongnamul-guk, soybean sprout soup, served with Korean chili flakes or without. Commonly believed to help cure adult hangovers, they say the saltiness and the natural vitamins found in soybean sprouts, helped “clean” the liver and stomach. Another is Miyeok-guk or seaweed soup. It’s made with a protein broth, usually beef broth and seaweed. In Korea, new moms are given this as part of their recovery diet in the hospital. Seaweeds are rich in minerals – calcium, phosphorus, iron and iodine – considered important during pregnancy and lactation.

Jook or rice porridge is a Korean staple for the sick, especially those with stomach aches. It’s made by slow-boiling rice that’s been left out to soak in water for many hours. The soft, moist texture of the porridge is easily swallowed and digested to calm the stomach. Kimchi. Two types commonly consumed for health benefits are ggakdugi, or spicy radish kimchi for hangover, and mul-kimchi, or water kimchi, said to hydrate and replenish the body with salts that sweat out.

Baesuk or Korean pear punch/tea is a traditional Korean punch/tea made by poaching or steaming Korean pear with black peppercorns, honey, and ginger. If served hot, commonly used as a remedy for the common cold, sore throat, or cough. Ginger to keep the body warm, the honey to soothe the throat, and the Korean pear to help with digestion. Yuja-cha or yuja tea, made with yuja marmalade in hot water. The tea is often enjoyed in the winter, to warm up, or to treat cold, because it is especially high in vitamin C. Yuja has 2.3 times as much vitamin C as the equivalent amount of raw lemon juice.

Trying Korean Healing and Soothing Foods

Want to know more about Korea’s healing foods? Find out more when you dine at UW Seattle Korean Tofu House.

Differences Between Korean and American BBQ

The Battle of the Barbecues

Barbecue is loved the world over. But not all barbecues are the same. Different regions and cultures have their ways of preparation and cooking styles. Americans are crazy about barbecue and it is one of the nation’s iconic dishes. What sets it apart from, say, Asian varieties, like Korean barbecue?

Barbecue is a matter of regional pride in the US, forms of barbecuing, an expert says, are 4 different styles, exemplified by certain states. Carolina-style barbecue is named after North Carolina and South Carolina. Pork is the main meat. A whole hog goes over a pit, then shredded, chopped or pulled. Sauce in N carolina is vinegar-based; it’s mustard-made in the south, sometimes called ‘Carolina gold.’

Texas-style barbecue is all about beef, especially from chest and shoulder muscles. It’s very thick, tough meat that requires very slow cooking. They don’t use sauces, but instead a mix of herbs and spices called a ‘rub.’ Texas is especially known for its smoked brisket.

Memphis-style BBQ is best known for its pork ribs, served dry, without sauce, or wet, with sauce. The sauce is sometimes very sweet, because of molasses. Then finally, the Kansas City-style BBQ. Kansas City is where Carolina and Memphis pork barbecue meet Texas beef barbecue; said to be the best of both worlds. The style boasts of pork ribs and beef brisket. The sauce is thick and tomato-based, sweet and spicy.

While traditional American forms of barbeque are roast pork, ribs, brisket or chicken, Korean traditional barbeque is beef, but also chicken and pork varieties are used. The beef is grilled with skewers, called neobiani, the origin of bulgogi. Bulgogi is barbecued or pan-fried beef that has been marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic, green onion, black pepper, and sesame oil, and so on, including ground pear or honey. Korean barbecue is somewhat sweet.

When it comes to sides, the American barbecue usually comes with plenty of coleslaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, macaroni salad and potato chips. Korean sides include rice, lettuce and mixed banchan, which is assorted vegetables, pickles and kimchi. At an American restaurant, food will be prepared in the kitchen and brought to the table. At most Korean barbeque restaurants, food is prepared at the table with a built-in grill or stove top. A wait staff can do the cooking or the diners themselves. However, for both the American and Korean versions, it’s the eating, the getting together of folks enjoying a meal as one that defines barbecue.

Dining Korean Barbecue in Seattle

If you’ve been around and tried the different American-style BBQs, experience Korean BBQ for a change, here at Korean Tofu House in the University District at UW Seattle.