Factors that Influenced Korean Cuisine

Shaping Korea’s Food Through the Years

Korea’s cuisine is an integral part of her culture in many ways. Flourishing and evolving from one century to the next, Korean food has come down to what we know it today, a product of many culinary upheavals. Many dishes have retained their authenticity, others have morphed in delicious ways affected by interior and exterior factors.

Environment is one influencer of Korean cuisine. Being a peninsula and surrounded by water, fishing was a main livelihood throughout her history. Seafoods drove Korea’s economy and defined the diet of the people. On the other hand, her terrain grew many crops – rice, vegetables, fruits – well and abundantly, sustaining Koreans through their hot summers, chilly winters and long autumns.

Weather also played a key role for the people. Their harsh winters made Koreans resourceful in making body-warming delicacies, such as fermented foods – kimchi and deonjang (soybean pastes). They have hot stews, spicy noodles, and steaming broths.

Korea’s history also shaped her food. Before the 20th century, Korea’s economy was in shambles and hardships forced her people to turn to the land to get their food. Farming became a way of life for rural Korea, raising also plenty of wild and farm animals. Aso during that century, China was a powerhouse in East Asia and whose government, culture, and foods were passed on to Korea and then to Japan. Rice was one of neighboring China’s main legacy to Korea.

It is Korea’s hardworking and enigmatic people who have conformed themselves to all these internal and external influencers, creating the cuisine they have become internationally known for. They were shaped by these factors and themselves shaped their history – their culture, economy and food.

A Little of History and Culture in UW Seattle

Drop by Korean Tofu House, your UW Korean restaurant in the U-District; we’ve got all your favorite traditional dishes. Know that in every bowl and plate of our Korean selections, you get a peek into a rich source of history that shaped this country’s cuisine.