My American friend asked me “Why there are pickles with every western meal in Korea? Pickles with pizza or with spaghetti is weird”. So I thought about the reason why Korean eat pickles with western food and today I will explain about it.:)
When you visit the western restaurant in Korea, you can easily see the pickles for the side dish. Korean usually eat pizza, spaghetti and other western food with pickles and I also like to eat with pickles. Even in the Mexican food, there is the side dish which is similar with pickles. The below picture is the Quesadilla what I ordered in Mexican restaurant located in Korea. The right side of the small bowls is the mix of chopped pickles, carrot and white radish.
I visited the Costa Rica before, in fact I never saw the pickles in any restaurant. When I was there, I thought the side dishes like pickles are common for the food, because I was grown in Korea where the pickles are always coming with the western food. Accordingly, at the first time when I ordered the food in Costa Rica, it was strange for me that there was no pickle or other side dishes with main dish. I asked to the waiter “Is there any pickles or something like that?” ,and he looked at me strangely. So I noticed it is not common for giving the side dishes such as pickles with main dishes.
In my opinion, the main reason why Korean eat pickles with western food is in the Korean food style; Korean food always has the side dishes.
In typical Korean food, the side dishes should be with rice and soup and Kimchi is always included. 5-6 kinds of side dishes in one meal is normal for Korean, but I assume it will be uncommon for other countries’ people.
Korean doesn’t eat just side dishes by itself . We always eat the side dishes with other food such as rice. Few months ago, I had a chance for eating dinner with Indian person, but I was surprised because first he only ate Kimchi by itself without other dishes. I think eating the foods together was not common for him. Meanwhile, Korean eat the food together such as Kimchi with rice, soup with rice. Accordingly, Korean also like to eat the western food with this habit that we eat the western food with pickles. I assume that for the other countries people the pickles are just an appetizer, but for Korean the pickles are one of the side dishes which should be eaten with the main dish. I even saw the Korean who eat the piece of steak, one spoon of soup and pickles all together in one mouth in the western restaurant.
In Korean dish, it is common to have the specific combination of food. The most common combinations are in below.
1. Chicken with white radish
This is the delivered fried chicken and always the white radish is coming with it. I really like to eat chicken with white radish!!
2. Jajangmyeon with yellow pickled radish
Jajangmyeon is the black-bean-sauce noodles, and it always comes with yellow pickled radish. The yellow pickled is made from the white radish, but yellow food coloring was used during pickling it.
3. Bulgogi with lettuce
Bulgogi is the Korean barbequed beef and we eat the bulgogi wrapped in lettuce. Also many people prefer to put red pepper paste, garlic, onion in the lettuce additionally and eat together.
4. Boiled pork with kimchi
Eating the boiled pork with white kimchi or the normal red kimchi is common. Korean usually wrap the meat with kimchi and eat together as the barbequed beef.
The perfect combination of Korean foods like these examples are more than dozen.
Also the interesting thing is when I asked to the Korean as “What is your favorite Korean food?” then many of them answered as “I like Back-ban(meal with bowl of rice,soup, and side dishes)” or “I like the all kinds of Korean stew”. However, Korean always eat stew with rice and other side dishes that this answer includes they like to eat the combination of stew, rice and side dishes. Thus, many Korean prefer to eat the western food with this Korean food style that we are eating the western food with pickles. 🙂
This is my opinion of the question. If you have different idea or question please leave the comment. Thanks for reading.:)