Kalbi is beef short ribs marinated in a sweet soy sauce mixture that has a similar flavor to teriyaki sauce. It's cut against the bone in thin slices, and you'll often see it at Korean barbecue restaurants, where you can cook it yourself over a fiery grill. We usually eat it on special occasions since beef is a prized (and expensive) back in Korea.
Soondae is a Korean form of blood sausage. The kind you often see at the Korean grocery store is pork intestine filled with glass noodles, barley, and blood. It has a dark, rich, mineral-like flavor and is usually served with a seasoned salt for dipping.
Marinating Pork Ribs
Nothing says Korean cookout like a giant tub of marinating meat.
These attendees are wearing Hanbok, which is a traditional formal Korean dress. This type of clothing is always very colorful; we usually wear Hanbok for celebrations and ceremonies.
Odeng (Fish Cake)
Odeng is a spongy fish cake that comes in many forms. You'll often see it in ramen in a pink and white pinwheel, sliced thinly. But in the Korean street food version, it's boiled and served on a skewer. It's a savory and moist snack that's not particularly fishy, though it does have a distinct seafood flavor to it.
Ddukbokki is another staple of Korean street food. It's rice cakes in tube form (though they do come in lots of shapes), covered in a spicy and sweet fermented red pepper sauce called gochujang. You'll sometimes see it served with other items mixed in, but in its simplest form, it's just the rice cakes and red pepper sauce. While it might look like a Chef Boyardee concoction, watch out, it's got a kick!
Here's a closeup of the rice cakes. They're sticky and chewy. The spice level varies depending on the stand; this one was particularly spicy.
There's various fried items here, like vegetable tempura fritters, fried octopus, and shrimp.
Here in the States, most of you know these as potstickers, but at home we call them mandu. They come in various forms and can have all types of fillings. You'll usually see them steamed or boiled, but my favorite version is fried.
Hiding in the back of the tray are slices of Korean sweet potato; it has red skin and white flesh and is very sweet.
Kampungi are battered and fried chicken wings, covered in a sweet, very sticky sauce, which can also be spicy depending on the recipe. They're absolutely delicious but they're a huge mess and you'll be wearing the sauce on your face, along with the bits of napkin that inevitably stick to your face when you try to clean it off.
Here's a fleet of traditional Korean drummers marching along.
Bang the Drum!
One of the happy and proud drummers in the line.
On Saturday, one of the events was a kimchi making demo. Making perfect kimchi is an art form—aunts and grandmothers always make the best versions. Ask any Korean and they'll agree.
Everyone pitches in to prepare for a Korean wrestling demonstration later in the afternoon.
Bindaedduk is a pan or griddle-fried Korean pancake made of ground mung beans with sliced green onion and kimchi. Now and then you'll see versions with bits of pork tossed in. The pureed beans add a slightly grainy texture, and the kimchi adds a vinegary and spicy tang with every bite.
Whenever there's a camera around, people get excited.
Isla Filipino Restaurant brought lumpia as well as a few other items.
No, these aren't Robyn doodles, they're coconut shells for sweet fruit smoothies to wash down all the spicy and salty Korean food.
Bulgogi literally translates to "fire meat" in English. You're looking at two types—the red-colored bulgogi is made of pork marinated in spicy red pepper sauce, and the beef bulgogi on the bottom is marinated in a sweet soy sauce mixture. It can be sautéed, griddled, or grilled on aluminum foil (so it doesn't fall through the grates).
Corn dogs are universal.
Wang mandu is pretty much the same thing as steamed pork and vegetable bao. These big bundles are made of wheat dough and filled with a savory meat and vegetable filling. Wang means king, in Korean.
The non-alcoholic pina colada stand makes the rounds at many of Chicago's street food festivals. Korean food doesn't usually call for pineapple or coconut, but the drink pairs surprisingly well with Korean food!
The Main Stage
The Chicago Korean American Chamber of Commerce thanked everyone for coming to the festival and for making it happen. There was a special guest on stage too...
Want Fries With That?
Apparently Ronald McDonald likes Korean food too. This photo will haunt me for the rest of my days. When I close my eyes, this is all I see, especially right before I go to bed.