Now that we are fully into the spring season, the perfect weather in my opion. Not too hot, not too cold, this for many is the best time to get outdoors. We really wanted to do something outdoors this weekend, so spending hours in the kitchen didn’t seem like the right play. We wanted to have a picnic or BBQ or just any sort of outdoor activity including food. To make it interesting we started to look into popular picnic activies of different cultures (I think this could be a recurring theme during the warm weather). Anyways we decided on Korean picnic food, It seemed like relatively light easy fare that would travel well and Korean food is pretty damn good in general so this was hard to go wrong.
What is Korean Picnic Food?
In our search we came accross a number of popular Korean foods a few came up in nearly every list so we tried to go with those. There were many variations on rice balls, dumplings, rolled omletes, sushi roll like Kimbap, fried chicken, kimchi, beer, and soju. As much as it pained me we decided to skip bring the beer since were going for a hike and well drinking and hiking don’t mix. Also they would transport them in a “Dosirak” which is kind of a small lunch box of sort similar to a bento box(We did not have this sadly but improvised with a bento box and some pyrex). Withour further ado, this is the menu we came up with:
- Kimbap – Similar to sushi rolls but made with more cooked ingredients and seasoned with sesame oil instead of rice vinegar and sugar. Recipe – Credit the Spruce Eats
- Gaeran Mari – A rolled omelete with veggies and seaweed. Recipe – Credit Mealgarden
- Korean Potato Salad – Very similar to American potato salad but with apples in it and no vinegar. Recipe – Credit the Spruce Eats
- Kimchi – Fermented cabbage of varying degrees of spice. We used store bought Vegan Kimchi here.
Kimbap – It’s not sushi OK!
Kimbap is kind of like sushi, but not. It’s made with more cooked ingredients and the rice is seasoned with sesame oil and not sugar and vinegar. That being said it’s hard to tell the difference froma quick glance. This is a relatively easy snack to make, as long as you have all your ingredients ready, it can be assembled in less than 15 minutes. The one potential challenge is rolling them, if you have never made a sushi roll, it takes some practice. Make sure you place the filling about 1 inch from the end you start to roll and be very carefull when you start to roll to keep everything in place. Then once you have the roll mostly shaped put some pressure on the rolling mat to make sure everything on the inside sticks together. Once Complete make sure your knife is sharp and you use quick firm slices to cut through evenly without ripping the seaweed.
Rolling an Omlette is not as easy as it sounds
The Gaeran Mari was the biggest failure of this adventure. It just didn’t stay together well. Either the pan was too large, the veggies were cut too thick or there wasnt enough egg. To be honest it was probably a combination of all of 3 of those. In the end this turned into more of a scramble than an omlette. This was a pretty big dissappointment. I think this is going to end up on the do-over list in the near future. The issue we had was the egg didnt spread enough, couldn’t roll it evenly and then after everything was rolled it didnt hold together. When cut into pieces everything fell apart, this one was a mess, not our best work.
Potato Salad Now this one i know
We like many others have made and bought many different potato salads over the years. The cool thing about potato salad is that whoever makes it, it always has it’s own unique taste. It’s amazing how many flavor combinations can be created using only a few basic ingredients. The Korean version is no different. In this case the major difference is the apples. I’ve never had or made potato salad with apples in it, altough thinking about it it does seem like a natural combination. The other difference is no vinegar. It’s basically just ingredients and mayo. It’s fascinating that this is a quintisential picnic food. Whether american picnic food or korean picnic food or any other cultures it seems like Potato Salad is just picnic food.
Kimchi for me
Laura does not like Kimhci, something about the smell and look that she can’t get over. I on the other hand really enjoy it. It has a pretty unique flavor and from everything I’ve read it’s actually good for you. Kimchi is probably the food most people would think of when you think of Korean , so it definitely had to be included with our Korean picnic food. Despite Laura’s protests.
How was it?
There are 2 questions to be answered here. Was the food any food? and Is it good to take on a hike? First the food. The Gimbap is a pretty good picnic food, it’s easy to eat, it’s almost sandwich like in a sense. The flavor is good but i think it could use some extra seasoning or soy suace or something. It tends to be a bit “dry.” The omlette was a fail, we ended up eating less than half of it. While it didn’t taste bad, there were just bettter options on our picnic table and this one lost out. The potato salad was excellent, it was creamy and had a good cominbation of flavors. The only issue with this is that somtimes you think you are eating a potato and you get an apple, which is quite the surprise.
Question 2, is this good hiking food? I’d say mostly yes, we ate before we started the hike (mostly because of timing) and in hindsight next time we might want to do the middle or end for this kind of food. Maybe even snacking as we go. Starting a hike after eating a meal just made us feel a bit sluggish. It wore off relatively quickly as nothing we had was super filling. Overall though I would say this would be better pure picnic food than say hiking food.
Since we didn’t bring any beer with us to complete the experience we went to a brewery near where we hiked and had a couple of pints. Not Korean beer though, but we did the best we could.
What are some of your favorite picnic or hiking foods?
For another International experince check out our Morrocan Food Day