Koreans love to drink and here’s one way they do it
on 26/05/11 at 3:07 pmBooze News
Alcohol is consumed with dishes called anju, which may be peanuts, dried squid, fried chicken, salty chips, pig’s feet or other foods.
The fact that we have a word in Korean, anju, specifically for types of food that one eats with alcohol, should give a good indication of how much Koreans love to drink. The drink of choice can be mekju (beer) or makgeolli (a cloudy unrefined rice wine), but it’s usually soju, a clear distilled alcohol, traditionally made from rice and most often compared to vodka.
I’m not sure which came first, the drinking or the snacking, but Koreans never drink without having something as an accompaniment. Be it peanuts, dried squid or flattened dried fish (what my siblings and I affectionately called “fish jerky”), something has to be eaten with one’s alcohol.
Anju isn’t just limited to dried fish and peanuts. It has developed into a wide array of menu options. Modern Korean drinking establishments may feature dishes as varied as fried chicken and nakji bokkeum (slices of tender octopus cooked in a sauce spiced with fiery gochujang and plenty of garlic). Some Korean bars and nightclubs (even those in L.A.’s K-town) require patrons to buy platters of anju with their drinks.
Anju comes in many shapes and flavors. Platters of fresh fruit go well with sweet fruit wines or the more contemporary soju cocktails. Salty chips, beef jerky, dubu kimchi (tofu and kimchi), spicy raw crab (gyejang) or ddeokbokki (spicy rice cake sticks) are good with beer. Some people like any kind of flat cakes (jeon or buchingae) or steamed pig’s feet (jokbal) with their soju.