South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea is situated in East Asia in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. The Seoul Capital area is the world’s sixth leading global city, with the fourth largest economy. 75% of South Korea is mountainous, making it a popular winter sport destination. They are to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President PARK Geun-hye, daughter of former ROK President PARK Chung-hee, took office in February 2013 and is South Korea’s first female leader. Her father PARK Chung-hee took over leadership of the country in a 1961 coup. During his regime, from 1961 to 1979, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth, with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea.

Some interesting facts about South Korea
South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita in the world.
They have a very unusual approach to age. Every South Korean child is considered to be one year old when it is born and it will turn two on the next Lunar New Year.
The iconic song “Gangnam Style” by the South Korean musician Psy became the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views (The phrase “Gangnam Style” refers to a luxury lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul).
It has the world’s fastest Internet speed and highest smartphone ownership, with half of Koreans paying all their bills using their mobile phones.
Although South Korea has very high living standards, suicide is a serious and widespread problem. It has the second-highest suicide rate in the world according to the World Health Organization.
Since 1997, every July the nine-day Boryeong Mud Festival takes place, attracting 1.5 million attendees. It was started to promote the health benefits of mud.

South Korea has 12 world heritage sites including Changdeokgung Palace Complex in Seoul, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. In 2012, 11.1 million foreign tourists visited South Korea, making it the 20th most visited country in the world. The South Korean government has set a target of attracting 20 million foreign tourists a year by 2017.

Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes that accompany steam-cooked rice. Recipes I came across include Kalbi Jim (stewed korean short ribs), Dak Galbi (spicy stir fried chicken) and Mi Yeok Gu (seaweed soup). I opted to cook Bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) which was absolutely delicious.

Rating: 10/10

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 mins + 2 hours marinating
Cook time: 6 mins

450g thinly sliced beef (sirloin or rib eye)
5 tbsp sugar
½ cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves (bashed)
¼ tsp salt
5 tbsp Mirin (sweet sake, optional)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 cup spring onions, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced carrots

Mix together all ingredients except carrots.
Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Griddle the beef slices on a medium to high heat for a few minutes.
Add the marinating juice and carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice.


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